By Okeoghene Oghenekaro
Abuja – The Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) says the suspension placed on collection of tenement rates in the council has been lifted, and collection will resume soon.
Mr Abdullahi Candido, the Chairman of the Council made this known when he briefed newsmen on the outcome of the NationalAssembly ‘s decision on the collection of tenement rate within the council in Abuja on Monday.
Candido, who was represented by Mrs Salimat Jubril, the Supervisory Councilor, Finance and Accounts, AMAC said the council was pleased with the decision of the National Assembly.
The Chairman recalled that about 10 months ago, the National Assembly through the House of Representatives Committee on FCT directed the FCT Administration to suspend the collection of tenement rates by the area councils.
Candido said the suspension was as a result of the growing controversies the collection had generated.
He said consequently, the area councils were asked to make necessary submissions to the National Assembly with a view to studying and harmonising grey areas as well as proffering lasting solutions to the impasse.
Candido said “the suspension did not go down well with us at AMAC, as our constitutional mandate was brought to dispute, we, however, succumbed to the authority and allowed due process to take its course’’.
“It is our delight to announce to you through this medium, that after meticulous deliberations on the matter at the lower chamber, the suspension placed on the collection of tenement rates in the council has been lifted.
“In a letter dated Aug. 1, 2017, addressed to the council conveying approval for the collection of tenement rates within the FCT by Area councils, the issue had already been addressed by the House under Provision of Section 13 of the FCT Act. CAP 128 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.’’
He quoted the letter as saying “the tenement rate of four per cent or four kobo per Naira presently being assessed and collected by the area council is within the contemplation of this established legal framework and accordingly
“The Honourable Speaker House of Representatives has directed that this should continue to operate without let or hindrance.’’
Candido said it was a victory for AMAC and the people of the council whom the present administration had pledged to improve their living standard through the provision of basic infrastructure with Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“It is also regarded as a plus to the Nation’s Legislative system and a growth of our democracy.’’
The chairman commended the National Assembly, particularly the House Committee on Area Councils and Auxiliary Matters.
Candido also appreciated the FCT Minister, Malam Mohammed Bello for supporting the councils and ensuring governance worked in the FCT as he reiterated the council’s commitment to his administration.
He called for cooperation from all stakeholders and property owners within the council to discharge their civic responsibility by paying promptly their accrued tenancy rates to the council authority.
“We would like to assure the public that the management of AMAC is very mindful of the present recession in the country and has adopted measures to collect revenues within the ambit of the law without the use of force .
“We will deploy judiciously every kobo collected as tenement rates to the service of the people and development of the grassroots.’’
Mr Aminu Muazu, the Head, Legal Unit, AMAC said the council had put in place machinery approved by the FCT authority in collecting tenement rates.
Muazu said it was not the duty of the council to deal with defaulters, saying the FCT authority had made available a mobile court.
“The mobile court is for defaulters and all the powers are vested in the court.
“After we have served a notice for payment of rates to a person, after the given period to make payment lapses, we will issue two reminders.
“If the person fails to pay after the two reminders, we will issue a summon signed by the magistrate, then the law takes its course.’’
Mrs Anna Ibrahim, the Divisional Head, Tenement Rate AMAC, said the council had put measures in place to prosecute any staff found defrauding the council.
Ibrahim appealed to members of the public to make all payments to the appropriate quarters and visit the council for any clarification. (NAN)