By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN — GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, has vowed to send bulldozers to destroy the property of any landlord who increases rent as a result of property tax, which was signed into law recently by the state government.
The governor gave the warning yesterday at a town hall meeting with stakeholders in the tax sector, with a view to sensitising the people on the recently passed law on the Land Use Charge 2012. He said it would not be a burden for tenants but a levy on owners of large expanse of land especially in the Government Reservation Areas.
He said: “If a landlord passes this burden to the tenants, he is taking unmitigated risk. The government will take the land of the landlord who increases their rent and bulldozers will go into action and we will turn the land to a school.
“Nobody who is economically disabled will be made to pay the land use charge. It will not put additional burden on the poor and it will not be used in any way to oppress the poor and a good section of the middle class.”
Noting that the law was not for tenants, Oshiomhole maintained the government would not devise policies against the poor because the poor need support.
“But those who are rich must be made to pay for the land because the most important resource in Edo State is the land which nobody brought from heaven. You will see how families are squeezed in old traditional homes, face-me, I face-you.
In that same street, you have another man who occupies 10 thousand square metres, from the beginning of the street to the end. The truth must be told that before God, we are all equal. If one man could take so much land, and the rest of the people live in a small 50 by 50 land, as he acquired the land, he will pay for it,” he said.
The governor noted that those targeted by the Land Use Charge Law were instigating some people to protest against same, saying, “those who are benefiting from a system that impoverishes the poor will do everything possible to maintain the status.”