Some stakeholders staged a walk out on members of the Lagos State House of Assembly over disagreements during the public hearing on the controversial Lagos land use charge.
The aggrieved stakeholders, which include members of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Joint Action Front (JAF) and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), had asked for more time to study the land use law before making contributions, as they submitted that no meaningful contribution could be made without understanding the content of the law.
The lawmakers, were however, unable to grant their request.
This made them start chanting “No, no, we no go pay land use charges, we no go pay”, before walking out from the Lateef Jakande Hall of the Assembly Complex, the venue of the event.
Mr Adesina Ogunlana, Chairman, NBA, Ikeja Branch informed the House that the stakeholders got the notice of the public hearing late and could not get a copy of the law to be amended, hence, they were calling for a two-week adjournment.
“Yesterday,(Monday), we received a letter inviting us today for this programme as well as a copy of the amendment at our secretariat of the NBA, Ikeja Branch.
“What we did was to write a letter to the Honourable Speaker informing him of the necessity for an adjournment of this public hearing.
“It is gratifying to note that the Speaker and other honourable members of the House are interested in our views and the views of others and that we should not come to a compromise. “What we did was to first go back to the cabinet office to look for the law being sought to be amended, that law is not even with the government.
“Even in this House, I have made enquiries, and we cannot even get a copy of the law. “The truth of the matter is that the amendment sought, and a copy of the law must be given to the stakeholders, if we are going to have meaningful contributions.
“The huge task of evaluating the legality and the general operational dynamics of this law vis-a-vis the amendment is clearly an assignment beyond the space of 24 hours or a similar period of time.
“Our humble request is this, if we may be permitted to counsel, we request the adjournment of this public hearing in no less than two weeks,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Abiodun Aremu, Secretary of the JAF, Lagos State said the law is a bad law and would be resisted by residents of the state.
“We are not pleased with the processes. The will of the people prevails at all times. The JAF has a record of defending the poor in Lagos State.
“We are not satisfied; they should meet us on the streets because the people will not pay this. We are going to mount a campaign that people will not pay.
“Every bad law must be rejected by the people. You can make a law and once they are not acceptable to the people, they won’t obey.
“This money is not payable, it is not acceptable and we must resist it.”
Also speaking, Mr Joseph Onaguwa, the Secretary for the CDHR, Lagos State said: “This House has disrespected the people by declining to add two weeks for us to have a copy of what they want us to discuss. In his response, the speaker said that the stakeholders still had ample time to come and submit their memoranda on the amendment after the public hearings.”
Earlier, the speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa had said the public hearing was targeted at arriving at a workable compromise between all stakeholders.
“We are here to discuss and reach a compromise on what is acceptable. In making your contribution, remember Lagos State and its huge population.
“We have been short changed and there is nothing for us than to look inward and seek more revenue to develop our state.
“What we are getting from the Federal Government is not enough. We have begged, we appealed and moved motion for special status for Lagos State and nothing happened.
“So we have to look inward and think of what we can do to move Lagos forward. We can’t do it alone without you. “Fine, what we have presented might be outrageous and exorbitant. “Let’s come home and think of what will be acceptable but not to the detriment of our children who are the future, we must think about,” he said.
The hearing went ahead after the stakeholders had staged a walk out.
Naija News reports that the Lagos state government and residents of the state have been at logger heads over the introduction of the land use charge in the state.
Residents have remained unappeased, even after the government reduced the charges.