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(REJOINDER) Court Forbids FCT Minister/AEPB From Waste Disposal, Collection Of Waste Disposal Charges In AMAC FCT

On Monday, April 18th, 2022, the Director of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, Mr. Osilama Briamah, disclosed the FCTA’s intentions to seal up hotels, government offices, plazas, and other business locations that have not paid outstanding utility bills for waste collection. 

He stated that the action was taken in response to an order from Olusade Adesola, the permanent secretary of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). Mr. Osilama Braimah acknowledged that the AEPB has formed a task force to retrieve the money from the debtors using all legal measures.

The question that comes to mind is how legal is the directives of the permanent Secretary of FCTA and of AEPB the proposed actions is to enforce, recover debt or generate revenue in aspect of waste disposal.

The issue of which tier of government is empowered to render the service of waste collection, collect levies / revenue being generated from waste disposal has been an issue of concern to the residents of FCTA especially Abuja Municipal. This is a result of the constant harassment frustration and double taxation imposed and enforce on the residents, the issues has been reported to stifle businesses.

Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), an intervention body created by the FCTA, established by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board Act 1997, to assist Area Councils achieve the necessary objective of keeping FCT clean and, the Area Councils being the body with the Constitutional obligation and powers to ensure proper disposal of refuse and collection of waste disposal levies as Revenue pursuant to Section 7 and the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides the functions, powers and duties of the Local Government which is the Area Council; Part 3, Item 14 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List of Collection) Act 2004; The Taxes and Levies Act is an act that provides which revenue should be collected by each Tier of Government.

Section 55 of the Local Government Act of 1976 The local government act of 1976 is the Niger state Local Government Edit adopted into Federal Capital Territory Act and made applicable within FCT, section 55 of the Local Government Act provides for the exclusive power of the Area Council to make laws regulating, among others, waste disposal and the Abuja Municipal Area council Bye Law (No 4) 2012.

It has been opinion that the conflict that has been existing on the issue of waste disposal and levies collection is a subject of interpretation of law and only the court can validate the position of any parties.

There have been several judgments starting from the Magistrate Court to the High Court of FCT that had determined these issues; to mention few.

1. A considered ruling delivered on the 4th of August, 2017 by his worship Chukwuemeka Ubani between the Abuja Municipal Area Council and the registered trustee Mountain on fire Ministry and ABUJA Environmental protection Board.

2. A sound ruling delivered on the 26th of April 2018 by his Lordship Chizoba N. Oji, Suit No FCT/HC/CV/2026/17 between MUBARAK TIJANI ESQ VS ABUJA MUNICIPAL AREA COUNCIL.

The most recent one is the Federal Court judgement Delivered on the 11th February 2022 by his Lordship Bello Kawu, suit No ; FCT/HC/CV/593/2019.

The court had held that by virtue of section 7(1) & 5 and paragraph 1 (h) of the fourth schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) the disposal of refuse and the receipt of payment for same is vested upon the Abuja Municipal Area Council.

That the defendant lacks the vires to engage in Municipal refuse disposal award of contract for refuse disposal and payment for same to any company, individual or organization or entity by whatsoever name within the said federal capital territory, Abuja.

That an issuance of order of perpetual injunction is hereby ordered restraining the defendant, its agent and other howsoever from awarding contracts for refuse disposal and making payment for same to any company, individual or organization by whatever name in view of the provision of section 7(1)& (5)and paragraph H of the fourth schedule to the 1999 constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

That the Defendant is hereby ordered to allow for compliance with the law for Abuja Municipal Area Council to commence discharge of its duties under section 7(1) & (5) and paragraph 1 (h) of the fourth schedule to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) by awarding and paying for refuse disposal within the said Abuja Municipal Area Council.

FCT
AIHS 2022

The Abuja Municipal Area Council wishes to notify the public that pursuant to Section 7 and the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides the functions, powers and duties of the Local Government which is the Area Council; Part 3, Item 14 of the Taxes and Levies (Approved List of Collection) Act 2004; The taxes and levies Act is a regulation that provides which revenue should be collected by each tier of Government.

Section 55 of the Local Government Act of 1976 The local government act of 1976 is the Niger state Local Government Edit adopted into Federal Capital Territory Act and made applicable and enforceable within FCT, section 55 of the Local Government Act provides for the exclusive power of the Area council to make laws regulating, among others, waste disposal and the Abuja Municipal Area council Bye Law (No 4) 2012 and several judgments starting from the Magistrate Court to the High Court of FCT; to mention few.

1. A considered ruling delivered in favour of Abuja Municipal Area Council, on the 4th of August, 2017 by his worship Chukwuemeka Ubani between the Abuja Municipal Area Council and the registered trustee Mountain on fire Ministry and ABUJA Environmental protection Board.

2. A sound ruling delivered in favour of Abuja Municipal Area Council, on the 26th of April 2018 by his Lordship Chizoba N. Oji, Suit No FCT/HC/CV/2026/17 between MUBARAK TIJANI ESQ VS ABUJA MUNICIPAL AREA COUNCIL

The most recent judgment is the Federal High Court judgement Delivered on the 11th February 2022 by his Lordship Bello Kawu, suit No ; FCT/HC/CV/593/2019 between the registered trustees of center for reform and public advocacy Vs Minister of Federal Capital Territory

The court held:
1. That by virtue of section 7(1) & 5 and Paragraph 1 (h) of the Fourth schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) the disposal of refuse and the receipt of payment for same is vested upon the Abuja Municipal Area Council.

2. That the defendant lacks the vires to engage in Municipal refuse disposal award of contract for refuse disposal and payment for same to any company, individual or organization or entity by whatsoever name within the said Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

3. That an issuance of order of perpetual injunction is hereby ordered restraining the defendant, its agent and other howsoever from awarding contracts for refuse disposal and making payment for same to any company, individual or organization by whatever name in view of the provision of section 7(1) & (5) and paragraph H of the fourth schedule to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)

4. That the Defendant is hereby ordered to allow for compliance with the law for Abuja Municipal Area Council to commence discharge of its duties under section 7(1) & (5) and paragraph 1 (h) of the fourth schedule to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) by awarding and paying for refuse disposal within the said Abuja Municipal Area Council.

5. That Abuja Municipal Area Council remain the sole body with the constitutional powers to discharge the constitutional obligation of refuse disposal and collection of refuse disposal levies. Both solid and liquid waste.

The Area Council hereby notify its residence that any payment that is not made through designated methods is invalid and unacceptable.

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