Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
Despite the unending controversy trailing the collection of tenement rates in FCT, property owners within the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) have been advised against reneging on paying promptly their tenement rates to the Council’s authority.
The advice was issued yesterday by the AMAC Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu Candido, while reacting to a recent judgement of a High Court of the FCT, which held that AMAC and other five Areas lack power to make Bye-Laws for the collection of tenement rates in the FCT.
Candido recalled that prior to the said court judgement, the National Assembly in August 2017 lifted the suspension on tenement rate collection from property owners, and conveyed a formal approval to the FCT Administration for such rates collection within the Territory.
He noted that there have been plethora of judicial pronouncements, giving interpretation on the legality of tenement rates collection by AMAC, and they have all been in favour of the Council.
According to him, the most profound judgement was that of the Court of Appeal in Advin Ventures Ltd &2 Others Vs Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council, delivered on May 12, 2014.
“Any other judgement delivered by any High Court in FCT on tenement rates collection contrary to the position of the Court of Appeal in the above case cannot and will not operate.
“We hereby state categorically that we are a Council that is law abiding and would at all respect constituted and judicial authority in their order.
“The Court of Appeal is higher in hierarchy to the High Court and other lower courts in Nigeria, and until the Supreme Court of Nigeria sets aside or varies the judgment of the Court of Appeal remains the authority as far as collection of tenement rates within FCT.
“We therefore appeal to the general public especially property owners within the Council to continue in the exercise of their civic responsibility of paying their tenement rates to the Council’s authority, and also disregard any misleading Court ruling,” Candido stressed.
While disclosing that the Council has already filed an appeal against the latest High Court judgement, the AMAC Chairman reiterated his administration’s commitment to developing the Council with revenue being collected.
“We are legally exercising our statutory function of collection of tenement rates within our jurisdiction in order to provide basic infrastructure to the people,” Candido affirms.