AWKA – The Anambra State House of Assembly has been urged to pass the bill seeking the establishment of a special court for land and property rate defaulters.
The Group Head of the Anambra Property and Land Use Charge (APLUC), Mr Valentine Okafor, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Thursday.
Okafor said that the establishment of such a court would boost the state’s revenue and encourage people to pay taxes.
According to him, in spite of extensive sensitisation campaigns and the organisation’s willingness to give room for staggered payments, the people were recalcitrant in paying their rates.
“Those who willingly pay property and land rates in the state are between two and five per cent while a few others pay because of the importance attached to the certificates,” Okafor noted.
The group head said that when passed, the special revenue court bill would also help to facilitate speedy trial of revenue cases.
“The courts that sit on revenue cases are just quasi courts and do not sit on regular basis because of the case load by judges and magistrates.
“If we can get the revenue court law passed, it will provide dedicated revenue courts and that will translate to improved revenue for the state,” Okafor stressed.
While appealing to the state assembly to hasten the passage of the bill, Okafor urged the public to support Gov. Willie Obiano’s administration by voluntarily paying their land and property rates.
Also contributing, the Head of Legal, Collection and Enforcement Unit of the organisation, Mrs Chinyelu Nwoye, said it had so far obtained 50 judgments from 2013 till date from various courts.
Nwoye said that 500 revenue cases were still pending in various courts in the state, adding that the special revenue court would ensure the quick dispensation of such cases.
She explained that the agency had changed from prosecuting defaulters as criminal cases to employing civil manner in order not to deter them from cooperating with it.
“The defaulters are now made to pay N50,000 cost of litigation instead of the jail term penalty usually given to them,” she said. (NAN)
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