Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has warned that any landlord who increases rent of their property as part of the land use charge will have the building confiscated by government and turned into a public school. The governor, who gave the warning yesterday, while speaking at a town hall meeting with stakeholders in the tax sector to sensitise the people on the recently passed law on the Land Use Charge 2012, said it would not be a burden for the tenants but a levy on owners of large expanse of land especially in the Government Reservation Areas (GRAs).
“If a landlord passes this burden to the tenants, they are taking unmitigated risk. The government will take the land of the landlord who increases their rent and bulldozers will go into action and turn the land to a school,” he noted. According to him, “nobody who is economically disabled will be made to pay the land use charge; it will not put additional burden on the poor and it will not be used in any way to oppress the poor and a good section of the middle class.
” While noting that the law was not for tenants, Oshiomhole maintained that the government would not devise policies against the poor because the poor needed support. “But those who are rich must be made to pay for the land because the most important resource in Edo State is the land which nobody brought from heaven.
You will see how families are squeezed in old traditional homes, face-me-I-face-you, in that same street, you have another man who occupies 10,000 square metres, from the beginning of the street to another. The truth must be told that before God we are all equal. If one man could take so much land and the rest of the people live in a small 50 by 50 land, as he acquired the land, he will pay for it.”
The governor noted that those targeted by the Land Use Charge Law were instigating some people to protest against the law, saying, “those who are benefitting from a system that impoverishes the poor will do everything possible to maintain their status,” noting that “those who do not wish the state well are doing everything possible to turn the truth on its head. “From the governor down, everybody must be under the law.
I have the support of the only person who has what others do not have, that is the paramount traditional ruler who can say he owns the land, by reasons of our traditional law. That is the Oba of Benin, Omon’Oba Uku Akpolokpolo. Happily he has been very supportive and those who are resisting this tax are collecting royalties on land from farmers who they have rendered tenants.
Government-owned land that was reserved for them to use they have sublet it to Yoruba farmers to use to make as much as N40 million a year, collecting rent from the actual farmers while they are doing their practice in the city,” Oshiomhole added.