Who Pays Tenement Rates?


By Barrister Paschal Nwosu

A tenement is any type of property, such as an estate or land, that is owned by one person and leased to another. Although a tenement has many units attached together under one roof, they are divided by walls to give each family or occupant his or her own space and privacy.

Tenement rates are property taxes paid by landlords and or Occupiers of a Building payable to local government Councils as part of their internally generated revenue.

Recently I conducted a study on the subject of tenement rates which has become a vexed issue because of the inherent abuses by arbitrary rate increases, failure of most landlords to pay their rates as at when due with the consequent transferred burden on tenants.

The objective of the study conducted through my organization, Centre for Development Initiatives and Advocacy was to determine the impact of tenement rates on small businesses and infrastructural developments in south eastern states with the collation centre at my law Office at 11 Ihioma road Amaifeke, Orlu.

It was found as a fact that there is no generalized systemic formula or active determinants employed in fixing the rates charged. The rates were quite exploitative and undermining the development of housing, including the development of local economy and small businesses. It was also found that there is a general evasiveness of taxes by landlords and the unfairly transferred burden on tenants as occupiers.

There are also associated fiscal leakages and corrupt practices by revenue officers in collusion with the so called revenue consultants whose roles have been increasingly challenged.

The uses of revenue agents and consultants remain the major cause of the arbitrary tenement rates increments for selfish reasons. It is also a sad development that governments can delegate their functions to organizations without mandate or legislative assent and creating the permissive leakages that has undermined infrastructural development.

Introduction to the controversy

Tenement rates are land use charges imposed on buildings developed by landlords to enable the generation of revenues necessary for the development of infrastructures and social amenities such as pipe borne water, street lights, parks, markets, roads, maintenance of drainages and sustainable sanitation services. In any system where the tenement rates and other associated charges such as the renewable registration of business remises are properly articulated by policy, legislation and honest endeavours, there are always clear infrastructural development, industrial and commercial stimulation which drives the local economy, creates jobs and promotes a spirited poverty alleviation and grass root development.

Who should pay tenement rates?

This is seemly a straight forward question which has been answered before. The landlord is the person that is expected to pay the tenement rate to the local government council or the occupier. The term the occupier may also refer to the landlord where he is also the occupant of the building and has not let or leased same out or sadly, the tenant in occupation.

However as it is usually the case, the landlord often lets out the premises to a tenant or group of tenants and thereafter takes no responsibility for the payment of the property taxes, especially in such cases that he does not reside in the premises.

Naturally, when the landlord is inaccessible or lives outside the jurisdiction of the local government, he cannot be reached and served with the appropriate demand notices and or summons. However, the use of the word occupier enables the revenue officials to hold the tenant responsible for the assessed rates in respect of the property.

The tenants on their part are not very willing to pay the arbitrary fees charged as tenement rates since the amounts are very high, annually increased, exploitative, often unreceipted, or fraudulently receipted, and or based on the evaluations of non existent market values and principles that are static, systemic and provocative for the rural dwellers who have no such intentions to sell their houses.

Who should not pay tenement rates

Tenants, pensioners as occupiers and owners of family houses should not pay tenement rates. But under the Land Use Charge law No 11 of 2001 of Lagos state all land based charges are payable on real properties located in Lagos with each local government council empowered to collect the charges within its jurisdiction as the collecting authority, a function which can be delegated to the state in writing to enable the State make assessments of land use charges and collect same on behalf of the local government councils. Can the local government delegate its constitutional functions to the State? I disagree that this was the intendment of the constitution and may likely lead to a denial of the local governments, their necessary IGR by the state. There is however an important exemption of those not subject to the tenement rates in Lagos which includes pensioners in occupation, and family houses. However tenants are expected to pay tenement rates subject to indemnity from their landlords as occupiers.

Opposition to tenement rates

Opposition to tenement rates are growing and championed by tenants and businesses angry at the excessive taxation, double taxation and corrupt practices of the revenue officials. Elsewhere in Abuja, NEXT LEVEL RESORT dragged the Abuja Municipal Council to court over tenement rates together with the FCDA as 2nd defendants. The plaintiff formulated three issues for determination to it, whether; AMAC is authorized by law to collect tenement rates? The plaintiff also asked the court to determine whether it does not amount to double taxation on NEXT LEVEL RESORT to pay ground rent to FCDA, pay taxes to FIRS, and in addition, pay tenement rates to Abuja municipal council? It also wanted the court to determine whether tenement rates can be paid to AMAC without the inspection to be carried out on the property?

Delivering judgment, DanlamiSenchi J held that by virtue of sections 7, and 303, and 318, and section 1 of the 4th schedule to the constitution, section 55(a):(5)of the local government Act of 1976 and the Abuja Area Council Act of 2001, AMAC is empowered to collect rates for the economic and physical development of the Council and for the provision of basic amenities in the council.

In Port Harcourt, the PHC council has concluded public hearing on a law to check, regulate and control the payment of tenement rates which provides that all owners of houses within Port Harcourt shall pay tenement rates annually as assessed by the Port Harcourt City Government authorized valuer.

However, speaking at the public hearing, the NBA representative OSIMA GINA urged the councilors not to make laws that will infringe on the fundamental rights of the people. In the South- East, protests has only been taken up in organized form by medical practitioners whilst the people groan and revenue collectors grow fat on public grief. The uses of revenue consultants must be discouraged in the backdrop of enabling reforms and fiscal structures of county administrations.


The South Eastern governments need to review the regulations of tenement rates and ensure that vacant houses, pensioner occupied houses and family houses and rural dwellers are exempted from tenement rates There should be a drastic reduction of tenement rates in Areas outside of the capital cities to improve housing development in these areas and arrest rural urban drift. The arbitrariness in the fixing of tenement rates can be checked by regular and physical inspection of the premises to be rated by appropriate valuations.

At the same time, we cannot but affirm the illegality the action of the Lagos state government under the Land Use Charge law No 11 of 2001 of Lagos state, in seeking and accepting the delegation of the function of the Local governments, to collect tenement rates enshrined in the 1999 constitution which empowers the local governments to evaluate and collect tenement rates in the local government Areas as specified in the Schedule of the said constitution.

This is therefore, a violation and ràpe of our constitution

The Lagos state government in usurping and performing this important function undermines the autonomy and development of the Local government Areas in the State, notwithstanding its good intentions, if any.

Corruption: The World Bank lists of Nigerian looters and the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The Nigerian public was shocked by the revelations by the World Bank, the apex international Credit and development bank which shows the massive looting of the Nigerian economy in the past decades evidenced by foreign accounts owned by the political class, public officers, and the military with outstanding performances by the erstwhile past heads of states, and the powers behind the emerging political challenges in the country.

I was devastated by the list not only because of the stupendous amount of loot lying in foreign banks and oiling the British economy and other EU nations that has paid lip service to the fight against corruption in Nigeria but also the sheer brazen thievery and primitive acquisition of wealth with its attendant stultification of our economy. It is estimated that over four hundred billion dollars made up of oil revenues, diverted international loans and internally generated revenues has been stolen and or misappropriated, most of which has found its way offshore and lying in foreign Banks.

Today Nigeria ranks as one of the poorest nations in the world, threatened by starvation, instability, unemployment, AIDS, poor health facilities, armed conflicts, energy crisis, health crisis, bombastic insecurity, and a devastating civil war with Islamist terrorists with a deluded leadership that seeks to develop the strongest economy in Africa in the backdrop of the chasm of odouriferous miasma of stifling corruption, failed infrastructures and debilitating energy crisis.

By Barrister Paschal Nwosu [email protected]

Culled from The Nigerian Lawyer


Related Stories

Coker-Odusote: 100 Days at the Helm of NIMC

By Walter Duru, Ph.D It was Albert Einstein who once said that “setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” That sentiment expressed by Einstein is the primary essence behind the theory of transformational leadership, which requires passion, charisma, and the ability to motivate others. Transformational leaders are usually very authentic, emotionally intelligent, great listeners, results-focused, visionary, and self-aware. In just 100 days at the helm of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Abisoye Coker-Odusote has ushered in a new era of transformational leadership, leaving an indelible mark on the organization. Her eventual confirmation


Why Environmental Injustice Flourishes In Nigeria

By Jerome-Mario Utomi Recently, precisely on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, I participated as a panellist at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands, a panel discussion on The role of multi-stakeholder engagement in achieving environmental justice. The gathering, which was held in Victoria Island, Lagos, formed part of training on Environmental Justice: Reducing Ecological and Social Inequalities through Effective and Participatory Land Governance. Essentially, in my private study/preparation for the programme, the need to domesticate the subject became paramount to me. To achieve this objective; the following questions came flooding; what is environmental justice?


Development: Why Revolutions Fail in Africa

By Nneka Okumazie Revolutions are often based on change, but the success of any revolution is not just the change of power. Africa has been running on the assumption of revolution for new power for decades but no African country has gone far with replacements of people in power across levels of government. Two of the factors that make revolutions succeed are great ideas and cooperation. There might be a cap on how great an idea is or its interval to maturity, but the greater the idea the better the chances for success of the revolution, even with minimal cooperation.


Once Again, Late to the Party. When is Our Time?

By Rahaman Abiola Nigeria’s modern media landscape hardly appears to be modern. It races behind in the realm of technology and its integration into the media ecosystem. This discrepancy is particularly noticeable in the context of the burgeoning era of artificial intelligence. Only 20% of media companies in Africa are using AI in some way. This is compared to 40% of media companies in North America and 30% of media companies in Europe according to the Reuters Institute of Journalism’s Digital Media Report for 2023 According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, a low share of skilled

More Stories

Naira Stable at Official Market, Crashes at Black Market

By Adedapo Adesanya The value of the Naira to the US Dollar maintained stability in the official foreign exchange (FX) window and the peer-to-peer (P2P) segment of the market on Thursday, January 19, but crashed at the black market arm at the close of transactions. Data obtained by Business Post showed that in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment, the exchange rate of the Nigerian currency to its American counterpart remained unchanged at N461.25/$1. Also, at the P2P side of the currency market, the Naira closed flat against the United States Dollar yesterday at N760/$1. Equally, at the interbank market, the


NIS Warns Desperate Seekers on Recruitment Scam

By Adedapo Adesanya The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has warned unsuspecting applicants against patronising fake recruitment sites as no fee is charged for NIS recruitment. This note of warning was given by the Comptroller General of the NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, in a statement signed by the Service Public Relations Officer (SPEO), Mr Sunday James, on Tuesday in Abuja. Mr Babandede issued the warning while reacting to the reported existence of fake NIS websites on social media, which are swindling desperate job seekers. “These are fraudsters with the intention of defrauding innocent and unsuspecting Nigerians of monies. “The Service had


Nigeria to Develop New Cocoa Varieties, Launch Agric Mechanisation

By Dipo Olowookere Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Muhammad Sabo Nanono, has hinted that federal government will develop new cocoa varieties that can yield pods in two and half years. Business Post gathered from Growing Cocoa that on the average, most cocoa trees yield pods by the fourth or fifth year and can continue for another 30 years. A typical pod contains 30 to 40 beans and there are about 30 pods per tree; approximately 400 dried beans are required to make one pound of cocoa. But Mr Nanono said Nigeria will come up with new varieties of


12-Month Treasury Bills Yield Rises to 14.73%

By Dipo Olowookere The average treasury bills yield increased on Monday by 0.44 percent to close at 13.47 percent, Business Post is reporting. The highest rise in yield was recorded by the one-month instrument, which rose by 1.96 percent to settle at 12.06 percent. Yield on the 6-month paper appreciated by 0.07 percent to 13.96 percent, the 9-month note increased by 0.01 percent to 14.48 percent, while the 12-month bill jumped by 0.23 percent to 14.73 percent. However, the 3-month instrument was the lone loser yesterday, shedding 0.06 percent to end at 12.10 percent. It was observed that the secondary


Chidimma Says Goodbye to Gulder Ultimate Search

By Modupe Gbadeyanka The last woman standing on the 2021 edition of the Gulder Ultimate Search (GUS), Chidimma, has been evicted from the show. She said her goodbye to the show last weekend after she failed to complete her task, though she made it to the top four and set an impressive track record of task wins. Her story is a bitter-sweet experience as she was someone who was not sure she would make it to Gulder Ultimate Search. Last weekend’s task was unique because it determined who scaled through to the final three and the contestants also had their


DBN Plans Training Programme for Entrepreneurs

By Dipo Olowookere Small business owners looking to improve earnings and stay up to date with the latest ways of doing business will have the opportunity to do so. This is because the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) is planning to organise a training programme for those in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector in Nigeria. The bank has concluded plans to hold the 2020 edition of its Entrepreneurship Training Programme in a demonstration of its commitment to provide capacity building for business owners in the country. According to a statement from the lender, participants will be equipped


Police to Arraign Nigerian Rapper Ice Prince for Assault

By Modupe Gbadeyanka A Nigerian rapper, Mr Panshak Henry Zamani, otherwise known as Ice Prince, has been arrested by officials of the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos Command. The music act was apprehended by the security operatives over an alleged assault of a policeman, according to a statement issued by the spokesman of the command, Mr Benjamin Hundeyin. Mr Hundeyin alleged that Ice Prince was driving without a number place and after he was approached, he abducted the policeman and threatened to throw him in a river. “At 3 am today, Ice Prince was stopped for driving without license plates. He


Food, Agro Processors Appeal for Easy Access to Forex

By Adedapo Adesanya The Association of Food and Agro Processors (AFAP) has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to easily access foreign exchange for procurement of machinery. The call was made by the National President of the association, Mr Duro Kuteyi, on the sidelines of the award and end-of-year ceremony of Spectra Industries Limited in Lagos on Thursday. Mr Kuteyi, who is also Chief Executive Officer of Spectra Industries Limited, noted that some members of the association had secured funding under CBN’s financial intervention. He said that the challenge was converting

Recent Stories

Meristem Launches Dollar Fund for Capital Preservation Investors

By Aduragbemi Omiyale One of the leading brokerage companies in Nigeria, Meristem Securities Limited, has introduced a new fixed-income investment package known as Meristem Dollar Fund. Business Post gathered that this open-ended mutual fund was designed to help investors hedge against the local currency, especially at a period when the Naira is witnessing high volatility amid rising inflation in the country. Meristem disclosed that funds taken from investors would be invested in investment-grade sovereign and corporate Eurobonds, and other qualifying USD instruments issued by Nigerian entities as may be determined by the investment committee. The company put the offer size


GOtv: Bridge Between Entertainment and Culture Preservation

In the age of globalisation, there is an inherent risk of cultural dilution, misrepresentation, and possibly extinction. But in this era, the Nigerian entertainment and culture projection is on an upward trajectory. Afrobeats is now a global phenomenon. Nollywood and the Nigerian fashion industry are attracting global attention and investment like never before, and our talents gaining global recognition. This new evolution is not from the blue. It is a result of years of deliberate focus on promoting indigenous content: movies, shows, and programmes that project traditions and narratives that might otherwise be overshadowed by the global mainstream. The broadcast


AI, Bandwidth Capping, Others Influencing Africa’s Creative Space—Opeoluwa Filani

In a captivating dialogue at the annual conference tagged Art of Technology Lagos 5.0, held at Landmark Event Centre Lagos, on Thursday, 7 December 2023, Opeoluwa Filani, General Manager, Showmax Nigeria, took the stage to offer insights into the rapidly evolving landscape of Africa’s creative economy. The annual tech conference, curated by the Eko Innovation Centre and sponsored by the Lagos State Government, explored the symbiotic relationship between creativity and technology. As the lead discussant of the first plenary session themed Monetization of the Creative Economy Leveraging Technology, Filani noted that the combination of creativity and technology presents a vision


Airtel Nigeria Gets Recognition for Empowering Women in Technology

By Modupe Gbadeyanka An award has been presented to Airtel Nigeria by the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) for its significant contribution towards fostering opportunities for women and girls in the tech sector. WTEC, a notable beneficiary of Airtel’s corporate social responsibility initiative, Touching Lives Season 6, honoured the leading telecommunications firm in Nigeria at its 15th anniversary dinner on Sunday, December 3, 2023, at La Chaumiere Restaurant in Lagos. The organisation said it was impressed with Airtel Nigeria’s dedication towards the advancement of technology in the country. Highlighting the positive influence of Airtel Nigeria’s intervention, the chief executive of


LASTMA Fires Five Officials for Unethical Practices

By Bliss Okperan No fewer than five officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) have been dismissed for unethical practices. The affected traffic controllers were fired after they were found guilty of the allegations of corrupt practices levied against them. A panel was established to look into the allegations against seven members of the agency, but the five were recommended to the Lagos State Civil Service Commission for dismissal, while the two others were reprimanded. Confirming the development, the Director for Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, Mr Adebayo Taofiq, said in a statement that, “While five


CBN Suspends Processing Fees on Cash Deposits

By Bliss Okperan The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all deposit money banks (DMBs), other financial institutions and non-bank financial institutions to suspend taking the processing fees from customers for large cash deposits. The central bank gave this directive via a circular dated Monday, December 11, 2023, signed by its Acting Director of Banking Supervision, Adetona Adedeji. The CBN, under its former chief, Mr Godwin Emefiele, introduced charges on large cash deposits in a bid to discourage the use of cash and embrace cashless through digital money transfers. But the current Governor of the central bank, Mr Yemi


UN Wants $46.7bn to Assist 180 million People in 2024

By Bliss Okperan The United Nations (UN) has said it needs about $46.4 billion next year to bring life-saving help to around 180 million people in desperate circumstances around the world. The UN on Monday said the wider Middle East, Sudan and Afghanistan were among the hotspots that also needed major international aid operations. The global humanitarian outlook for 2024 was “bleak”, with conflicts, climate emergencies and collapsing economies “wreaking havoc” on the most vulnerable, adding that the size of the annual appeal and the number of people it aims to reach were scaled back compared to 2023, recorded a


5 Ways to Win Big In Access Bank 12 Days of December Promo

It’s that time of year again! The season of giving is here and Access Bank is dialing up the festive cheer with the much-anticipated AccessMore 12 Days of December campaign. Brace yourself for an extraordinary opportunity as 100 fortunate customers stand a chance to pocket N10,000 shopping vouchers daily, from December 1 to December 12, 2023. Prepare to unwrap joy as Access Bank transforms the spirit of giving into a twelve-day celebration unlike any other! Now, picture yourself as one of the lucky individuals to benefit from the 12 Days of December campaign. Here are five ways you can join


Tinubu Leaves Abuja for Maiduguri

By Bliss Okperan President Bola Tinubu on Monday morning departed Abuja for Maiduguri, the Borno State capital the Nigerian Army Annual Conference as a special guest of honour. Mr Tinubu left the seat of power from the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. It is his first visit to the North-Eastern region of the country since assuming office on May 29, 2023, from former president Muhammadu Buhari. The event will include an address to the troops of Joint Task Force North East Operation HADIN KAI, an inspection of the ongoing Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Maiduguri, and


CBN Says Nigerian Banks Remain Resilient Amid Rumours of Failing CAR

By Adedapo Adesanya The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured stakeholders in the country that Nigerian banks remain resilient following widespread media reports that commercial banks in the country had failed the bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) for international authorisation. CAR compares the risk-weighted assets of a bank with the available capital that Nigerian banks possess. For instance, when faced with challenging financial conditions, the ratio offers a quick and easy way to determine whether or not a bank has sufficient money to cover losses and continue to keep its solvent status. In a statement on Monday, the apex