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Should Abuja Residents Pay Tenement Rates?

Should Abuja Residents Pay Tenement Rates

Should Abuja Residents Pay Tenement Rates? Daily Law Tips (Tip 85)
By Onyekachi Umah, Esq.,LL.M, MCIArb (UK) 

Tenement rate is a tax chargeable on land developed and occupied. It is payable by occupant of such property to concerned local government authorities across states in Nigeria and area councils in Abuja.

Technically, residents of property in Abuja were exempted from tenement rates because it was argued that there is no ACT of National Assembly empowering Area Councils on how, what and when to collect tenement rates. This position seems to be supported by the cases of:

  1. Bamak Pharmacy Ltd & Ors V. Abuja Municipal Area Council (2010) LPELR 3850-CA.
  2. Judgment of Justice Valentine Ashi of the FCT High Court on 12 April 2018 in the case of Planned Shelter Limited V. Abuja Municipal Area Council & 5 Ors. (Unreported)

However, this position seems to have changed with the recent judgments in the below cases. It is the argument that the Tenement Rate Collection Bye-Law (No.22) 2012 was made pursuant to sections 52, 55 and 56(s) of the Local Government Act of 1976, applicable to the FCT by section 7 and the 4th Schedule to the Constitution. Also, that the Niger State Local Government Edict is applicable in the FCT, having been adopted and contained in Vol.3L-35 III Laws of the Federal Capital Territory. The following judgments support this position and there is no contrary decision from the Supreme Court:

  1. Judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (On the exclusive powers of the Local Governments & Area Councils to assess and collect tenement rates) in the case of Knight Frank & Rutley (Nig) Limited & Anor V. AG, Kano (1998) LPELR 1964-SC. ().
  2. Judgment of the Court of Appeal on 12 May 2014, (on the powers of AMMAC to assess and collect tenement rates) in the case of AFDIN VENTURES LTD & ORS V. CHAIRMAN, ABUJA MUNICIPAL AREA COUNCIL (2014) LPELR 23509(CA).Copy of the Judgment: AFDIN VENTURES LTD & ORS V. CHAIRMAN, 
  3. Judgment of the High Court of the FCT in the case of Next Levels Resort V. AMMAC (Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/1072/2011).



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