Lagos: Mega city without mega people – Part 2
You build mega city by building mega people, people who have empathy, well behaved people and people who do not only obey the law but see themselves as part of government.
Lagos is a place where people do not care, the “it does not concern me’’ type of people. ‘‘Mind your business’’ type of people.
If you mind your business, how will you be your brother’s keeper? Mega city without mega people.
Lagos has congested roads. Utmost of the drivers are either reckless or do not obey traffic laws and regulations. They drive against traffic with impunity.
What is the motivation? The traffic law enforcement agents have itching palms.
People contravene traffic law every day, but how many of them are prosecuted in regular courts for traffic offences? Mega city without mega people.
Lagos will not be made a mega city by imposing heavy fines and stiff penalties on minor civil offences which impoverish people rather than reform them.
Indeed you inadvertently fuel corruption among law enforcement agents when you set very high fines for minor civil offences just to boost internal revenue from the recalcitrant few that break the law.
Truth is, you cannot legislate good behaviour. Lagos State government must set the tone by behaving well towards its citizens.
Raising Land Use Charge by 400% and setting punitive penalty clauses ranging up to 250% of charged amount for delayed payment by landlords does not speak well of government as a good citizen.
Making Lagos citizens to pay a percentage of the commercial value of property (forced sales value) is wrong in principle because you do not pay tax or rates on unrealised profit.
When I am not selling my property, how will I fund the land use charge which is based on value of the property which is not cash in my pocket? It would have been better and acceptable if land use charge is based on the rental value of the property since landlords collect rent on commercial property.
When government is asking citizens to behave well by paying taxes as and when due, government should also behave well by levying responsible and reasonable levies and taxes.
Those in position in Lagos State government who think that Lagos is overpopulated and there are many people who have no business living in Lagos should have a rethink. All over the mega cities in the world the rich and the poor, the employed and unemployed live side by side.
Why do we have ghettos in London, New York, Houston, Amsterdam, Johannesburg, among others. Nigeria is not Saudi Arabia, Libya or the Western world where there is state sponsored welfare scheme for citizens.
Lagos State government should note that poverty has no home, indeed poverty is a function of unemployment in the country which is in double digit as at the last count.
Yes, Lagos State has introduced poverty alleviation schemes but who are the beneficiaries?
The action of Lagos State government of deporting some Nigerians from other states in the past during the regime of Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, was the height of intolerance for the poor and the less privileged.
There were Lagos State indigenes on foot bridges with twins or triplets begging for alms but nobody arrested them nor did government take steps to rehabilitate them.
If Nigeria is indeed our country and any Nigerian citizen free to settle and do lawful business anywhere in Nigeria, then the present attitude of Lagos State government to citizens from other states, or even transporters from outside the state coming into Lagos to say the least is unacceptable in a federation.
If Lagos State is generous enough to make Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola a commissioner in Lagos State and now he is the governor of Osun State, then it behoves of them to grant same privilege to other citizens who live in Lagos but are not Lagos aborigines.
In its bid to make Lagos a mega city, the government should be inclusive so that it could raise mega people who will be eager to key into its desire to make Lagos, our Lagos a mega city.
Enyinnaya is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.
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