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Property tax law: Edo NBA threatens legal action against Oshiomhole.

By Marxist Kola
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As controversy continues to trail the signing of the Edo State Property Tax Law by Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the Benin branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has constituted a -five man team to institute legal action against the governor.

The legal team, according to report is made up of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), who are mainly residents in the state.

A communiqué issued after one of their meetings in Benin City recently and signed by Oriane Akere, Collins Ogiegbaen, chairman and secretary respectively, the association said it would immediately file an action in court to challenge the constitutionality of the new land law.

NBA also condemned what it described as the use of force against citizens of the state, who were exercising their right to peaceful protest against the law.

The communiqué stated further that the meeting where the decision was taken was attended by members of the executive council, leaders of the Bar and Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN).

According to the communiqué, NBA, Benin branch shall immediately file an action in court to challenge the constitutionality of the new land law of Edo State recently passed by the state House of Assembly and assented to by the governor of the state.

“The Bar observed that it is settled law that to attain validity a law must be of general application and must not be targeted at any individual or group”, the lawyers said.

The association while calling on Edo citizens to remain calm as it commence the process of judicial review of the new law, noted that the role of the Bar remained that of the bastion of justice, the path of democracy, the last hope of the common man and the protector of the rights of all and sundry including the government itself.

The communiqué added that for the rule of law to endure, governments, however powerful must render itself amenable to the due process of law.

Meanwhile, a Benin based legal practitioner, Benjamin Akhabue Iluobe has already instituted a suit at the state high court in Benin City against the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, Edo State House of Assembly, the Attorney- General of the State and the State Board of Internal Revenue over the property law.

The lawyer is praying the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, by themselves or through agents and or privies from harassing, molesting, attacking, and /or intimidating the plaintiff or any persons affected by the law or doing anything other than as provided for by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

He also want the court to restrain the Edo State Government from enforcing/implementing the land use law, 2012 of Edo State which was recently passed into law by the State House of Assembly.

He further wants to court to declare the land use law, 2012 of the state as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

Other reliefs sought includes, a declaration that it is only the National Assembly that is vested with the powers to make laws with respect to matters in the exclusive legislative list in part 1 of the 2nd schedule to the constitution to the exclusion of the house of assembly of a state including the 2nd defendant.

The legal practitioner further sought for a declaration that item D9 and D10, in the concurrent legislative list of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, only gave powers to house of assembly of a state, including the Edo State House of Assembly to collect and administer taxes and not to impose taxes.