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EDUCATION TAX: Ekiti govt, Catholic Bishop bicker

…As Ajimobi gives condition for return of mission schools

By Rotimi Ojomoyela

FOLLOWING a threat by the Catholic Church of Ekiti Diocese to seek legal redress over education levy, the Ekiti State government says there is no going back on the N1, 000 and N500 levy being paid by private and public primary and secondary schools respectively in the state.

This was as Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi has promised to hand over mission schools to owners who have genuine proposal for the development of such schools and proven commitment to education.

The Ekiti State government maintained that mission schools in the state will not be given preferential treatment over other schools and that “no other body apart from the Federal and state government has power to make policies concerning both private and public schools in the country.”

The Catholic Diocese of Ekiti had last week threatened to drag the state government to court over the development levy, saying “no law empowers the state government to impose educational development levy on pupils of mission schools.”

The government argued that “it is wrong for any organisation to claim that it has its own education policy that is different from that of the state.”

Reacting to the development, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, said “when I heard of it, I asked the schools concerned to refund the money collected to their parents” adding “We shall meet in court.”

Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Jide Egunjobi, in a statement, disclosed that seven schools owned by the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti State had already  paid the development levy, dismissing the threat to sue the government by the Catholic Diocese.

 Ajimobi gives condition

Relatedly,Governor Ajimobi stressed that any religious body or organization without a questionable intention would be allowed to run such schools inasmuch as they met government’s requirements.

The governor made the promise in his address at the archdiocesan reception for the 34th council of Bishops at the Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu House, Molete, Ibadan, on Saturday, which was attended by bishops and archbishops of the Methodist Church across the country.

 


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