Police summon NBA, Save Lagos group over protest against hike in property tax

The Lagos State police command has summoned the leadership of the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association and Save Lagos Group to its headquarters over their proposed protests against the hike in the fee payable as Land Use Charge by the Lagos State government.

In a statement on Sunday, the spokesman of the police, SP Chike Oti, said the leadership of the two bodies must meet with the police high command in the office of the Commissioner of Police, Edgar Imohimi, before taking any further action. It fixed the meeting with the leadership of the NBA for today, March 12, 2018.

The NBA has scheduled its own protest for Tuesday, while the Save Lagos Group said it would occupy the seat of government in Alausa for two months.

Oti said in the statement: “The need for dialogue between the police and the NBA is not unconnected with the current security situation in the country and fragility of the peace in Lagos State, which can easily be compromised by unguarded actions.

“The dialogue would enable the command do a proper diagnosis of the impending protest and come up with an action plan that would address security concerns. The same advice goes to the Save Lagos Group who plans to occupy the Government House, Alausa. They must see the police on this before further action please.”

The Ikeja branch of the NBA had scheduled tomorrow, Tuesday, to embark on a street protest tagged ‘walk the talk’ to protest against the increment in land use charge. Chairman of the branch, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, called on the Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to revert to the old land use charge, car registration and filing cost of litigation or face massive protest by the people in the state.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State government at the weekend vowed to protect tenants from those it described as ‘Shylock landlords’ who might be planning to use the recent increase in land use charges in the state to arbitrarily increase rent.

The state’s Commissioner for Information, Kehinde Bamigbetan, made this known during a briefing with newsmen on Saturday that Lagosians should dispel the fear that the government’s controversial hike in property taxes will lead to an astronomical increase in rent as government has decided to side with tenants and will vigorously implements its tenancy and consumer protection legislation to curb capricious increases in rent.

“We would side with the tenants in their struggle. We are strengthening our tenancy law. We are going to back the tenants against Shylock landlords,” Bamigbetan said.

The Lagos State Tenancy Law 2011 was hailed for prohibiting landlords from demanding in excess of one year’s rent from prospective tenants and for making it criminal for landlords to demand or receive rent in excess of six months for a monthly tenant, or one year from a yearly tenant.

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