BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN—SOME protesting Bini youths and the Majority Leader of Edo State House of Assembly, Mr. Philip Shuaibu, Monday, engaged themselves in a war of words over the signing into law of the Property Tax bill by Governor Adams Oshiomhole, last Friday.
The youths, who described the law as anti-people and obnoxious, asked the Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly to tender apology to the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, over his comment that people like the Esama, who own big houses and property in the state were expected to pay the property tax.
But reacting, Shuaibu, who described the protest as unnecessary and sponsored by persons who failed to “even remit their PAYE,” said: “I have no apology because I have not insulted Chief Igbinedion. I only made an example that people like him will pay the tenement rate. It is even sad that those protesting don’t even know much about the bill.
“So they should stop calling my name and insulting my person. The bill was an executive one and it was my duty as the Majority Leader to push it on the floor of the House. My fellow lawmakers welcomed it because they have seen that it will help the state government improve its internally generated revenue due to the dwindling allocation from the Federation Account. So, this protest is sponsored by selfish individuals but we must do what is best for our people.”
However, the youths who stormed both the Government House and the House of Assembly complex, in a statement by Mr. Felix Omodamwen, said “Edo South people cannot be at the receiving end of different types of taxes from the state government.
“As prelude to the diabolical passage of the tenement bill, patriotic members of the state House of Assembly from Oredo and Ikpoba Okhai were stripped of their privileges as Chairmen of Committees, because of their discontentment to the obnoxious bill. We will resist this law and we ask Shuaibu to tender apology to Esama of Benin over his unguarded comments on television.”