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HURIWA flays Sanwo-Olu over suffocating taxation

By Ernest Nzor, Abuja
26 September 2022   |   4:01 am
A civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, berated the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu over obnoxious regulations and suffocating multiple taxations, which are further plunging the over 20 million residents of the state into depressing poverty.
Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu. Photo/FACEBOOK/ jidesanwooluofficial

Says gov pushing Lagos residents into poverty
A civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, berated the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu over obnoxious regulations and suffocating multiple taxations, which are further plunging the over 20 million residents of the state into depressing poverty.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, also flayed the failure of Sanwo-Olu’s administration to curb perennial building collapses and flooding in the state since he assumed office, the worst being in the month of September, which has recorded over six building collapses on a roll.

The group said that instead of addressing the flooding ravaging the state and others, the governor had since 2019 introduced one draconian law and taxes or the other, insensitive to the plight of the masses.

HURIWA recalled that six buildings collapsed in September 2022 alone with scores killed and many injured, a disaster that is avoidable if the state government focuses on its constitutional job and enforce building control standards.

The statement reads in part: “Building collapse has been at its highest in Lagos since last November when a high-rise building crumbled in the Ikoyi area of the state, killing at least 44 people and injuring many others. The figure is aside from those who have been swept away by flooding in Lagos since the incumbent governor assumed office in May 2019.

“Away from building collapses and disasters resulting from flooding, the state government in September confiscated over 130 vehicles for alleged traffic offences and auctioned off the vehicles even as the owners shed tears and begged the government for leniency. However, the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu didn’t budge but took away their means of livelihood when the government can prescribe a fine or a less draconian penalty based on the prerogative of mercy. If this is not an anti-people government, then what is it?” Onwubiko queried.

“As if not enough, the administration of Governor Sanwo-Olu also created the Lagos State Parking Authority to collect parking levy in respect of parking spaces in state. In fact, business owners and residents are compelled to pay hundreds of thousands yearly for parking spaces in front of their premises. What could be more exploitative than this?

“Could it be that the desperation to source fund for the campaign of All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor, is driving the incumbent governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to over-tax the people of the state through official non-democratic exploitation?

“HURIWA is alarmed that under Governor Sanwo-Olu, Lagos is becoming the North Korea of Nigeria with many obnoxious regulations like primitive penalties for traffic offences, the plot to tax for watching television and listening to radio, car parking fees for residents even when city planning and sanitation is poor causing perennial floods, collapse of houses and even empowering motor park touts to undermine properly constituted transport unions just for political agenda.

“According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Lagos State has the highest internally-generated revenue with N267.23 billion in H1 2021. However, rather than use the excessive cash flow to benefit the people who should enjoy their own taxes, the Sanwo-Olu government keeps introducing suffocating taxes and thereby pushing Lagosians into poverty whilst few families controlling the political power structures are doing all the contracts and consultancy services, milking Lagos dry.

“The state government should retrace its diabolical and anti-people’s steps earnestly and stop its wicked policy of impoverishment of commoners from all angles. Democracy is about developmental governance and not milking the people dry,” he further stated.