Chief Segun Oni, Former Ekiti State governor and the state government have engaged in a war of words over a reported attempt to shift the blame of enforcement of the tax burden on the people of the state.
The Segun Oni Movements, in a press release yesterday, said it had revealed a surreptitious move by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government to join its principal in transferring the reasons for imposing an additional tax on the people in the name of Ekiti State Land Use Charge, which is being objected by the masses.
The press release, which was made available to journalists in Ado-Ekiti by the Director of Media and Publicity of Segun Oni Movements, Jackson Adebayo, blamed the state government of deliberately enforcing the draconian tax on the people to mop up money for the forthcoming governorship election, but was resisted by house owners who have been over-taxed already.
He said that in an attempt to wriggle out of the protest, the government decided to deceive the then Segun Oni government of starting the policy before it was removed.
Adebayo maintained that the APC government was becoming nervy as it was meeting brick walls in selling its candidate to the people, hence the desperation to blackmail Oni who seems to be the major problem in the race.
“We want to state categorically that at no time did Oni ever contemplate imposing any additional tax during his tenure, talk less of such an unbearable tax like this.
HOWEVER, dismissing the claim that the tax was meant to blackmail the people, Chairman, Ekiti State Board of Internal Revenue Service, Muyiwa Ogunmilade, stated that the Land Use Charge was signed into law in 2013 to increase the state’s revenue profile.
Ogunmilade noted that tax payment had become a way of generating revenue to provide infrastructure and social services to the people, noting that Ekiti has one of the best and most affordable land use charges in the country.
“The tax used to be called tenement rate, neighborhood improvement levy and grant rent in the past. But now, the government has abolished the three taxes and introduced a Land Use Charge that is being shared between the state and local councils,” he said.
“All the states of the federation had enacted the law for over a decade, which Ekiti has just started now.
“The present government of Governor Kayode Fayemi is not interested in extorting Ekiti people, but to serve them, by providing infrastructure with the money from legitimate taxation.”