Monday, July 13, 2009

CAPDAN resists illegal levies

The Secretary General of Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), Mr. John Oboro, has said that the group will not allow its members to be exploited by any group within and outside the popular Computer Village in Ikeja, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Oboro who was reacting to a circular from the Ogunbiyi Community Development Association (OCDA) demanding for annual community dues ranging from 1,000 to N3,000 per month, questioned the rationale behind the levy when the association had just paid the sum of N1.3 million to the Lagos State Waste Management Association (LAWMA).

He said that membership of any association, as enshrined in the constitution, is not compulsory but optional.

“We take solace in the position of the Honourable Commissioner for
Rural Development, Prince Lanre Balogun while inaugurating the Lagos State Community Development Advisory Council (LASCDAC) where he posited that the new Lagos State Community Development Association Law did not make membership compulsory for all residents. He went further to say that the decision is to ensure that people’s rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution are not infringed on.” He said.

Oboro also questioned the decision by the OCDA to request for such levies for security when there was no proper budget drawn to enable stakeholders make input on what would be the appropriate levy.

“We will not conform but will remain calm in this struggle to liberate our members and avoid any extortion. We pay for levies for waste generated by us (commercial wastes) and those generated by the few residents and yet we are still not being appreciated by them,” he lamented.

Reacting, the General Secretary, OCDA, Mr. Timi David, said the law setting up the community development associations empowers each of them to set up their own set of bye-laws to operate in that community.

He said the fee is to take care of sanitation of the environment, security guards, provision of streets lights and installation of close circuit television (CCTV) among others.

Mr. David equally said that repeated efforts by the association in its meeting with CAPDAN had not provided any meaningful result owing to what he called selfish interest of some few members of the exco.

“We have had several meetings with CAPDAN and to the entire market we have carried our vision but the bottom line is that the executive believe that they should be in the position of collecting the revenues and now remitting it to the community, and which we feel is not comfortable because of the way they manage their own finance,” Mr. David said

He also explained that LAWMA only collects refuse and that there is need to engage people who will permanently be sweeping the place as well as security men to work both night and day with the aid of patrol vehicle to avoid the situation where the market was raided by armed robbers recently.

David further said the association’s point of departure with CAPDAN was not on the amount of the levy or the propriety of it but that they would want a situation where a committee would be set up to supervise the collection and the proceeds paid into an account directly rather than allow the CAPDAN officials collect the money before finally paying to them, in order not to give room for lapses.

He insisted that OCDA was ready to work with CAPDAN and other interested parties on how to move the market forward and improve on the not too palatable impression people have about the market.

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