By Adesina Wahab
An Abuja High Court, presided over by Hon. Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris, has declared the creation of the Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage, DOAS, by the Federal Captial Territory administration as illegal and unknown to law.
He said the establishment of DOAS did not have basis in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having been created contrary to the dictates of Section 1 (3) and Paragraph 1 (K) of the fourth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 (as amended).
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Justice Idris made the pronouncement while delivering judgement in a suit filed by Metro Auto Workshop Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Muhammed Sani Yussuf (for and on behalf of all residents and business owners within the Abuja Municipal Area Council of the FCT) against the Abuja Municipal Area Council, Abuja Environmental Protection Board and others.
A copy of the judgment was given our correspodent.
According to Justice Idris, by the provisions of Section 7 and the fourth Schedule 11c (i) of the CFRN 1999 as amended, “It is the function of the local council to control and regulate outdoor advertising and boarding.
“The third defendant (Hon. Minister of FCT) which by virtue of Section 299 of the Constitution is considered to be a state, has no business regulating outdoor advertisement therefore any department created by the third defendant to regulate outdoor advertisement is a multiplicity of agencies and a multiple taxation”.
On whether the fourth defendant (the National Assembly of Nigeria) has performed its duties under the constitution, the judgement stated that the bill for an act to make provision for assessment, laying and collection of tax on real property within FCT and other matters connected therewith has been pending before the National Assembly (fourth defendant).
“It is for the claimants to propose the passage of the bill if they feel there is undue delay on the part of the fourth defendant or to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the fourth defendant to do its duties.”
The claimants had among others asked the court to determine whether there existed any law or statue passed or deemed passed by the National Assembly for the Federal Capital Territory enabling Abuja Municipal Area Council to charge the first claimant tenement rate on its premises.