THE Catholic diocese of Ekiti has threatened to sue Governor Ayodele Fayose over the education development levy imposed on primary and secondary pupils in both state-owned and private schools in the state.
Under the new tax regime, pupils in primary and secondary schools are to pay N500 and N1,000 education development levy, respectively.
But the catholic church has said it will not pay the money, advising the government to exempt its schools from payment.
Citing Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board Law, 2005, the church said the state government had the mandatory obligation to provide free and compulsory education for every child of primary to junior secondary school classes.
The bishop of the diocese, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, stated this in a press statement made available to journalists in Ado Ekiti on Thursday.
He threatened to file a legal action against the government “in the circumstance that any of the schools under my custody is disturbed.”
“No law empowers the state government of Ekiti to impose Education Development Levy on pupils/students of mission schools in Ekiti state.”
Ajakaye said that the church viewed the new tax as another burden on parents whom he said were already overwhelmed with taxes in different forms by the state government.
He recalled with pain how the state, under the military regime in 1975, “forcibly” took over 106 Catholic primary schools with seven secondary schools and one technical school without compensation.
He added that the new tax was unnecessary because schools established by the Church had been paying various levies and taxes demanded by both local and state governments.
“The Catholic Church in Ekiti land implores the state government to see the Church as great contributor to quality education and a formidable partner in the development of education in the state. Therefore, the status of the Catholic schools must be recognised as defined by their purposes and they should be treated accordingly,” Ajakaye added.