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It’s Illegal For LGAs In Nigeria To Collect Business Premises Levies , Says Enugu Court

…Delivers Judgment Against Enugu East Council Area

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – An Enugu State High Court, presided over by Justice Cyprian Ajah  on Tuesday delivered a judgment that it is illegal  for local government areas in the state and country in general to be collecting business premises levies from citizens.

A human Rights group, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), had filed a suit on 27th May 2020, on behalf of one  Dr. Afam Edeh, a renowned Consultant Surgeon and proprietor of “His Grace Medical Center”, Abakpa, Nike, against the Enugu East Local Government, over illegal taxes, particularly the “Business Premises levy” imposed on citizens in the state by local governments in the state.

The suit followed disruption of medical care activities in the hospital on the 26th day of November 2018, by some group of young men led by an official of Enugu East Council area, Hon. Obinna Okafor, the  (2nd defendant in the suit ), who demanded business premises levy which they called permit.

However, when the  hospital officials told them that the medical Director was not around, the council officials surprisingly carted away hospital equipment’s, and other valuable items and properties from the hospital, an action that attracted the lawsuit.

Delivering the judgment in the Suit No: E/257/2020  Dr. Afam Edeh vs Enugu East Local Government & another, the court  declared that it is illegal for local government areas in Nigeria and their officials to collect business premises levies from citizens.

After  hearing the argument of the plaintiff, through his counsel, Olu Omotayo (Esq),  Justice Cyprian Ajah, said “such power has been donated to the state by the “Taxes and Levies (approved list for collection) Act, Cap T2 Laws of the Federation 2011”, made by the National Assembly pursuant to Section 7 and 8, of Part 11, of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended)”.

The court, which said it had gone through the processes filed and considered relevant legal authorities in respect of the matter went further to grant all the reliefs of the Plaintiff except ‘Relief Number D’ where the Honorable Court awarded N1 Million Naira damages to the Plaintiff.

The reliefs granted in favour of the plaintiff are: A Declaration that Part 2, of the Taxes and Levies (approved list for collection) Act, Cap T2 Laws of the Federation2011, empowers only the state government to collect Business Premises registration levies.

 An Order of the Honorable Court directing the defendants to return the entire Plaintiffs’ properties namely:  a) Sphygmomanometer-aneroid, 14 inches LG television set, Electric suction machine.

Other items to be returned includes, Stethoscope, Bathroom weighing scale and Four pairs of rain boot, illegally carted away by them.

The Court also granted  Perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further trespassing or invading the premises of the Plaintiffs and N1 million instead N10 million naira damages was awarded against the Defendants jointly and severally for unlawfully invading the premises of the Plaintiff and removing his properties.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=73854

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