The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and some human rights groups today protested on the streets of Lagos against the 400 percent hike in land use charge and other taxes by the Lagos State Government, led by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The protest, which started from the NBA secretariat, Ikeja, saw the protesters go to the Lagos State Governor’s Office and House of Assembly in Alausa.
It was gathered that the NBA, Ikeja branch, had on March 7 issued a seven-day ultimatum to Ambode to rescind his decision on the increment. The government however, did not buldge.
The Ambode-led Lagos government had increased the Land Use Charge by 400 per cent, Motor Licensing fees by 1,600 per cent, Court Fees by 2000 per cent and Bore Hole Taxes by 68,000 per cent.
While addressing protesters at the take off of the protest, the NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Adeshina Ogunlana, said the protest was a clear opposition to oppressive tax regime in Lagos State.
The Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Joint Action Front (JAF) and the Human and Environmental Agenda (HEDA), all partook in the protest in solidarity with the lawyers.
The protesters, which came in red T-shirts, banners, placards and handbills had inscriptions such as “NBA rejects opressive taxes in Lagos State,” “No to Killing Taxes.”
Others read, “Ambode Stop This Oppressive Land Use Charge,” “We Say No to Double Taxation,” “We Say No to Insensitive Government Policies,” and “Don’t Kill Lagosians With Tax.”
Some of the protesters who spoke with reporters said that the hike in taxes would cause hyper inflation.
Ayo Lamuye, a human rights lawyer said, “The increment in taxes will lead to job loses and increase in unemployment. This will increase crime rate and insecurity in the state.”
Furthermore, at the Lagos State House Secretariat, Alausa, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan, received the protesters’ petition on behalf of Gov. Ambode while the Majority Leader, Sanai Agubiade, also received on behalf of the Assembly.
NBA’s letter to Ambode was dated March 12 and titled “Call For A Re-think and Review of The Land Use Charge Tax, All Other Excessive Taxes, Levies and Charges in Lagos State.”