By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
Human Rights Group, Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) has decried series of taxes and levies imposed on traders of the popular Ebute-Ero market, Lagos Island, Lagos State by the state government.
To this end, HURMA’s leaderships, has called on both the Lagos State government and the council authority to address the issue raised by the traders in the market.
The appeal was made on Thursday, at a stakeholder’s meeting held to flag off the inauguration of Ebute-Ero Unit of the group.
The guest speaker at the event, Barrister Lekan Matti, a member of HURMA’s legal team while presenting his paper on the topic “Fundamental Rights and The Challenges of Multiple Taxation in a Post-Covid Era”, made this appeal on behalf of the market men and women who had earlier complained on how government officials both at the state and Local levels, are making life unbearable for them.
Barrister Matti, who also spoke on the Constitutional rational behind Fundamental Human Rights of every Nigerian citizen and how it goes along with obligation to the growth of the nation, asked the Lagos State government to reduce taxes and levies been paid by the traders in the various markets in the state which he said, will be seeing as a COVID-19 palliatives.
In his speech, HURMA’s Executive Director, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak before presentation of certificate of inauguration to the unit executives, also decried the exploitative methodologies of the government and the need to work closely with the local government and ensure transparency and accountability to the people whose resources they are managing.
The Unit’s Coordinator, Alhaja Dada Toyin Aisha Abiose, appeal for reduction in taxes and levies by both the state and local government.
“We Marketers are facing many challenges in Ebute-Ero. Some of us bought a shop for 25 years, but a developer came with the knowledge of same local government after 10 years and request to renovate. Moreso, everyone must also pay N1m urgently at once otherwise you loose the ownership of same shop which you are supposed to own for 25 years.
“More so, we pay tenement rates; Land-used Charge among others and this must even be paid full in COVID-19 situation that we operate a one-day-on one-day-off. We are appealing to the government to please be sensitive to our plight”.
Representative of the Ebute-Ero Police Divisional, Mr. Bello Taofik, the division’s Crimes Officer (DCO) encouraged both traders and shoppers to see police as their friends and assist them in preventing and fighting all forms of crime.