There was commotion at the ever busy Kings Square in Benin, capital of Nigeria’s Edo state Monday afternoon, following a clash between supporters of the newly introduced Property Tax law and those against it.
Witnesses said those against the law under the auspices of Edo Youth Congress and led by one Adebame Eichie had converged at the State House of Assembly-end of the Kings Square to commence a protest against the property tax law signed by Governor Adams Oshiomhole last Friday. But another group in support of the law led by Tony Kabaka emerged and descended on them.
It was learnt that supporters of the Property Tax and the leadership of ‘Edo is in Safe Hands’ group gathered at the premises of the State House of Assembly after chasing away the opposition protesters, brandishing banners with inscriptions such as ‘The rich must pay tax’, ‘It is time for the rich to work for the poor.’ ‘The rich must pay for the poor to enjoy.’ ‘Stop organising people against tax payment.’ ‘We support Property Tax. It is for development.’
Mr. Eichie who described the law as anti-people, said the Edo Youth Congress had issued a red card to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, because the law was passed without getting the feelings of the people through public hearing, adding that they were protesting against the Property Tax law because the state government has not provided basic amenities like what obtains in other developed countries where the tax was operational.
He said they were beaten and harassed by supporters of the Property Law at the Kings Square where they gathered to start the protest.
“Property law is not an ingredient of democracy. We are going to court to challenge the law until it is thrown away. We demanded for a public hearing but the lawmakers did not listen to us. We say no to this tyrannical law,” he said.
The two groups stopped motorists and passers-by educating them on the property tax law.
Tony Kabaka while addressing the crowd, said the infrastructural development in the state was a testimony of what the state government was doing with the tax already collected.
He said his group earlier supported the PDP-led government in the State, but was made to believe that there was no money in the coffers of government.