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Nigeria Ranks Fourth in Unpaid London Congestion Charges with £8.4 Million Debt Since 2003

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Nigeria Ranks Fourth in Unpaid London Congestion Charges with £8.4 Million Debt Since 2003

A Transport for London report revealed the Nigerian High Commission failed to pay £8.4 million in congestion charges since 2003

A recent document has shown how the Nigerian High Commission in London, UK,  has accumulated £8.4 million as unpaid congestion charges, spanning a period of 21 years.

According to the material published by the Transport for London (TfL), the amount relates to unpaid fees and fines accruing to diplomats between the launch of the congestion charge in 2003 and the end of last year.

But Nigeria was not listed as the only debtor as even richer nations owed over £143.53 million accumulated debts in congestion charge payments.

They include the embassies of the US and Japan,  which topped the list of offenders, with debts of £14.6 million and £10.1 million, respectively, while India was in third place with £8.5 million.  Nigeria was fourth on the list.

Other countries on the list include Russia, China, Poland, Ghana, Kenya, and France, Kazakhstan, Germany, Cuba, Tanzania, and Spain, among others , while Togo was the country with the least charges at £40.

The TfL organisation oversees various modes of transportation in London, including the tube, buses, trams, cars, bikes, and river services.

On its website, it describes itself as an integrated transport authority responsible for meeting Mayor Sadiq Khan’s strategy and commitments on transport in London. “We run the day-to-day operation of the capital’s public transport network and manage London’s main roads,” it said.

The scheme involves a £15 daily fee for driving within an area of central London between 7 am and 6 pm on weekdays and between noon and 6 pm on weekends and bank holidays.

However, there are discounts and exemptions for various groups of people and vehicles, such as residents, taxis, and fully electric cars.

The diplomats have argued that the congestion charge is a tax, exempting them from paying it under the Vienna Convention, but the TfL insists that the payment is a service charge and not a tax.

“This means that diplomats are not exempt from paying it,” the body said in the material it made public.

It stressed that while the majority of embassies in London pay the charge, there remains a “stubborn minority” that refuse to do so, despite representations through diplomatic channels.

The TfL said it will continue to pursue all unpaid congestion charge fees and related penalty charge notices, noting that it is pushing for the matter to be taken up at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“We and the UK Government are clear that the Congestion Charge is a charge for a service and not a tax. This means that diplomats are not exempt from paying it.

“The majority of embassies in London do pay the charge, but there remains a stubborn minority who refuse to do so, despite our representations through diplomatic channels.

“We will continue to pursue all unpaid Congestion Charge fees and related penalty charge notices and are pushing for the matter to be taken up at the International Court of Justice,” it added.

Emmanuel Addeh

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