Residents of District Centre Layout Extension Phase IV, in Kubwa, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, are groaning over “humongous tenement rates” imposed by the local government.
Their lawyer, Olufunsho Isaac, has sent a letter to the Chairman of Bwari Area Council, John Gabaya, expressing the residents’ pains and disappointment.
“How does one justify an average bill of N140,000 on mere two-bedroom flats and other higher billings?” the lawyer wrote.
Some residents who spoke with our reporter said the charges were arbitrarily levied without valuation of property as provided for in the tenement law of the council area.
Some of them also complained about among other issues, imposition of retrospective charges for 2019 to 2020, with demand notices backdated to 2019, even on those who were not living in the area at the time.
As a follow-up to the demand notices, officials of the area council have also served residents with civil defaulter’s civil summonses issued by the FCT magistrate’s revenue court at the instance of the area council.
Served on residents as far back as August, the summonses seek an order of the court to seal off the premises of defaulters pending the payment of their debts to the area council.
They wondered why they should be burdened with such “exorbitant” fees despite their efforts at improving dilapidated infrastructure in their locality through community efforts without support from the area council.
They lamented that they were just recovering from the hardships occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, only to be slammed with “arbitrary, humongous and outrageous amounts.”
“The residents of the estate are perturbed, disappointed and saddened about the development despite your area council’s refusal to attend to the needs, yearnings and longings of the people.
“You chose or decided to impose an exorbitant, and unbearable burden of tenement charges on all occupants without considering the harsh economic realities of our times.
“It is important to reiterate the work singlehandedly handled by the estate which includes but are not limited to: Road mapping, landscaping, drainage system, sand filling of roads, purchase of electricity poles, purchase of recline wires/other cables, and contribution for transformer purchase, the above were done without the input of the area council,” the letter read in part.