By Eben Enasco Kingsley BENIN CITY

Edo State Government has obtained a High Court order to seize the properties of sixty defaulters of the Land Use Charge Law , until the charges on the properties are paid .

Also the Government has resolved to clamp down on any landlord who hides under banner of the Land Use Charge to increase rents arbitrarily .

Addressing the press after the State Executive Council meeting in Benin City, yesterday, on compliance with the Land Use Charge Law which came into effect in 2012 ,the Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Francis Evbuomwan said , “ the Edo State Government through its agency , the Board of Internal Revenue has successfully got a court order enforcing the Land Use Charge against 60 properties

“ This is just the first tranche of court orders and more are still in the pipeline . In the coming days , we will be publishing the full list of 60 defaulters of the Land Use Charge with the addresses of the properties that the court has given Edo State Government the power and the rights to distrait those properties.until they recover the Land Use Charge dues.

According to him,“ Edo State Government will now take full advantage of the court order to place these properties under distrainment until all the outstanding land use charge fees are redeemed .

“ Let me continue to encourage our people not to wait for this before they step forward and redeem their land use charges. It is obvious that it is a lawful tax backed by both state and federal government laws and now , the court has been able to give us judgment against properties that are in default .

Earlier , the Commissioner for Information, Mr Louis Odion told reporters that the level of compliance with the Land Use Charge Law has been very encouraging , in spite of “ the barrage of misinformation being mounted by some mischief makers with a view to inciting the public against the government of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole .

“ We are quite impressed with the level of compliance by many of our people , property owners, not only within Benin City but across the state.

He added that,there are also some defaulters who have refused to settle their liabilities with the state government.

As law abiding government , we have gone to court and I am pleased to inform you that we have secured a court order against 60 of such property owners. The government is resolved to enforce the Land Use Charge and there is no looking back.

No amount of misinformation will make the government look back.

“ The Land Use Charge is not a new law in the country and I think it is also necessary to clarify that the burden will not be borne by tenants . As a matter of fact , the government has resolved to also clamp down on any landlord who wishes to hide under the guise of paying Land Use Charge to increase rents arbitrarily.

“ Low income neighbourhoods are not affected . By that I mean , those who occupy 50 by 100 residential properties are exempted from paying land use charge. So it is incorrect to say the government is targeting low income area, poor people and all that. This is false . The Land Use Charge burden will be borne by those who are mostly in the GRA.

“ We are talking of those who occupy large plots of land .People who occupy perhaps something in the neighbourhood of 3, 000 , 5, 000 square meters of land and commercial properties, those are the people who might have to pay a.little more in term of Land Use Charge.

“People living in low income area, in densely populated areas , worship centres are exempted from paying Land Use Charge”, he stressed