Last Thursday, the Lagos State Government announced the cancellation of the 2018 Land Use Charge and reverted to pre-2018 rates.
Many lawyers immediately attributed the success to protests spearheaded by the then Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja Branch, Adesina Ademola Ogunlana.
A senior lawyer, Adewale Ademola said: “NBA Ikeja generally and the leadership under Adesina Ogunlana in 2018 can take full credit for this Achievement!!!”
“We congratulate the doggedness of the Tiger Branch under the then leadership of Adesina Ogunlana resisting the anti-people and obnoxious Land Use Charge imposed by the Lagos State government. Today the whole Lagos community is the beneficiary of that courageous struggle. I remember our historic Walk from the ikeja High court to Alausa. This was a proof that the Bar is the bastion of and defender for the oppressed. That’s like ikeja”- Bisi Ade-Ademegunwa
“Kudos to a leader, Mr. Ogunlana. A born comrade!”- A.P. Agboola
Yet another lawyer, G. Moshood said “What has made me so hopeful is the fact that we have people like Mr. Ogunlana who can activate, motivate and mobilise protests against oppressive policies with passion to promote social justice and the rule of law.”
In March of 2018, members of the NBA Ikeja Branch and human rights groups took to the streets of Lagos to protest the over 400 per cent hike in land use charge and other taxes by the state government.
The march started from the NBA secretariat, Ikeja and took the protesters to the Lagos State Governor’s Office and House of Assembly both in Alausa.
Before the protest march, the NBA, Ikeja branch had issued a seven-day ultimatum to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led-administration to reverse the increment.
The changes were; the Land Use Charge by 400 per cent, Motor Licensing fees by 1,600 per cent, Court Fees by 2,000 per cent and Bore Hole Taxes by 68,000 per cent.
While addressing his fellow protesters Mr Ogunlana had said [and loudly too]:
“ The Land Use Charge is still a shock to many of us. While many people are still committing suicides daily due to hardship, it is so sad that the state government is contributing to what the people are going through.
“Our purpose is to communicate our grievances. We have a letter for the governor and we have anticipated that the Lagos Assembly will be more accessible than the office of the governor.”
“Even the said law was passed without wide and proper consultations, the legislation actually usurps the power of the local government.”
An enormous struggle such as this — Land Use Charge Protest — must be given the magnificence it commands. We must appreciate good works so that posterity will be kind to the society because so much progress lie therein.