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Reps orders FCT minister to revert to old land charges

THE House of Repre sentatives on Tuesday ordered the FCT Minister, Malam Adamu Aliero, to revert to the old land charges in the territory.

The Minister in August announced a 900 per cent increase in land charges in the FCT, citing the need for infrastructure development in the territory as reason for the increase.

It noted that the minister took the decision to increase the charges without approval by the National Assembly.It stressed that any decision taken by the minister or any of his officers to impose financial burden on Nigerians required the prior scrutiny and approval of the National Assembly.

The Assembly resolved that pending the outcome of the proposed public hearing on the matter, the minister should desist from implementing the reviewed land charges.It described the action as a breach of the 1999 constitution and due process, a cardinal policy of the present administration.

The decision of the legislature was based on a motion by Rep. Mayor Eze (PDP-Imo), who said the unilateral increase in land charges by the minister without recourse to the National Assembly was out of place in a democratic setting.

Rep. Abdul Ningi (PDP-Bauchi) said that there was a need for the House to find out from the minister how much was appropriated to the FCT for infrastructure development.

Rep.Bala Ibn N’Allah (PDP-Kebbi), who supported the motion, advised that the House should follow the right process by ordering the President instead of the minister. Rep. Chinyere Igwe (PDP-Rivers), while opposing the motion, said the minister had the power to fix taxes for the FCT as long as it was for the development of the territory.

Meanwhile, a bill for an Act to provide for the control of public exhibition or exposure of children to pornographic materials passed through second reading.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Darlington  Okereke (PDP-Anambra) seeks to regulate the circulation of pornographic materials and punish offenders.

A bill for an Act to make it mandatory for construction companies to construct, build and maintain roads and erosion projects for five years before handing over to government also passed through second reading and was referred to the Committee on Public Procurement.

Others are bills for an Act to make provisions that will enable the National Assembly to be more effective in screening ministers and that for the establishment of the City Technical University in Kaduna.


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