Monday, September 17, 2018 4:44 pm
A human right group, Human Right Monitoring Agenda (HURMA), has called on Apapa-Iganmu Local Council Development Area, (LCDA), Lagos State, desist from collecting arbitrary taxes and levies from Whitesand Trailer Park owners, in the area.
HURMA in a petition captioned “alleged exploitation and oppression from double taxation by Apapa-Iganmu LCDA on Ifesowapo whitesand and trailer park owners’, addressed to the chairperson of the council, Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo Akande Mohammed, said such double taxation is arbitrary and against the law of the federation.
The group said the need to petition the council chairperson over the alleged act was informed by a recent attack on the members of the association by some hoodlums who claimed to be attached to the LCDA, which the group said was confirmed by the Council’s Head of Revenue Department, popularly called Coach. He spoke at a recent meeting with the park operators, on behalf of the executive chairperson.
Consequently, HURMA, through its Executive Director, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, called on the LCDA to return all monies so far exploited from poor Nigerians, in the process of carrying out their legitimate business.
The petition reads in part: “We hereby write to intimate you of allegation of exploitation from double taxation on members of the above named park most of whom are members of HURMA, Apapa Iganmu unit. Also reported at our central office is alleged regular harassment from hoodlums working for the LCDA, for the purpose of illegal money collection. These among other corrupt practices, we want you to address with your esteemed office, as a matter of urgency.
“Among other facts, some of which are historical, that you may need to guide your investigation are: that Ifesowapo White Sand Trailer Park is a place owned by some trailer owners who operate legally under Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), who came together on agreement to use their individually acquired land as a parking space and as well repair their faulty vehicles so as to avoid constituting nuisance by the road side. And that the group pay yearly revenue with receipt up-to-date for the above parking purpose, to LCDA.
“And that they all pay loading and offloading fee whenever they are out on operation to load at Apapa port. And that they are often confronted with the problem of double taxation from Apapa Iganmu LCDA who at times request that they must also pay for loading and offloading for the park in use, an issue that should not arise in any form”.
The group also stated that the former chairman of the ciuncil, Honourable Samuel Adesola Adedayo (JIMSAM), had once admitted that the issue of loading and offloading at the park should be nullified, and considered null and void. Adding that the same issue was discussed, agreed and put to an end by the current chairperson when she was council’s Executive Secretary.
The group therefore urged the council boss to use your her esteemed office to promptly investigate and stop further harassment of our people who are peaceful and law abiding.
“It is our believe that you are aware that double taxation is a financial crime and could be investigated by EFCC and ICPC. We equally reiterate that ignorance is not and should never be an excuse before the law and the Supremacy of Law is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We humbly encourage you to allow justice to prevail and HURMA is fully ready to prosecute the struggle against injustice and oppression meted on our people to its logical conclusion.
“Finally, we would appreciate if all monies so far exploited from the poor Nigerians, in the process of their legitimate business, are all returned to them for such might be passed by our office as a proceed of corruption which we have always fought alongside the present federal government”, HURMA stated.
When contacted, the council chairperson, Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo Akande Mohammed on phone, she said the council has not received any such petition, noted that if there is any complain at all, the person or the group should write or come in person to the office.
“If there is any petition, they should direct it to the council chairperson.
“If they know their rights, if they have anything against the local government, they should put it through letter, directing it to the Executive Chairman of the Local Government or come to office in person to complain.
“It is when the Chairman cannot do anything then. Nobody is an island in local government, we have revenue officers and chairman, if there is anything, they should write to chairman, the person in charge will be called. So nobody reported any issue as such to me. I am the Chairman of the Apapa Iganmu council.” She responded