Landlords in Onitsha South Local Government Area of Anambra State, represented by the Fegge Landlords Association, have expressed concern over what they describe as “multiple levies” enforced by illegal revenue collectors.
Speaking during an interactive forum with the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, the association’s spokesman, Chief Ignatius Agabarugo, condemned the activities of touts claiming to work for the state government.
These collectors allegedly invade the community daily, extorting funds for sanitation, property, and development levies.
Agabarugo emphasized the association’s willingness to collaborate with the state government to end these extortions, which they consider a menace.
He highlighted instances where landlords are coerced to pay various amounts when renovating their buildings and face demands for sanitation, development levies, property rates, and various taxes, amounting to millions of naira annually.
The landlords urged the state government to address the issue of multiple taxations, which they perceive as a rip-off. In response, Deputy Governor Ibezim pledged to intervene but observed a related concern – inadequate soakaway pits in many houses.
He noted that those with pits often direct waste into the Sakamori drainage system and Nwangene River, posing health hazards to residents.
Ibezim clarified that the interactive forum aimed to sensitize residents and landlords on the importance of discontinuing the practice of channeling soakaway pits into drainages and rivers.
He emphasized the need to clear blocked drainages, manage refuse dumps, plant trees, and paint buildings to enhance the overall aesthetics of the community.
Felix Odumegwu, the Commissioner for Environment, highlighted existing laws by the state Assembly governing these issues. While acknowledging the need for enforcement, he stated that the state government would engage stakeholders before taking stringent actions against defaulters.
Chief Emeka Orji, Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, asserted the council’s commitment to cleanliness and the removal of illegal structures. He warned that there would be no sacred cows, and those violating laws would face consequences.
Arch Mike Okonkwo, Chairman of the Urban Regeneration Council, emphasized the state government’s goal to transform Onitsha into a city with an enabling environment for business and healthy living, aligning with standards observed in developed countries.