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Mixed reactions have continued to trail the introduction of annual security levy by the Oyo State Government, which will require religious bodies and business owners to make financial contributions towards sustaining peace in the state.
Some religious leaders and business owners in the state have kicked against the move, saying they were not consulted by the government before it arrived at the decision.
For instance, a religious leader and Public Relations Officer of Ibadan Anglican Diocese, Venerable Wole Ogunseyinde, said, “The idea of asking religious bodies to contribute to security is a good one. However, I would have thought that the state government would have invited those they call stakeholders to a parley first. Security is everybody’s business, not just that of the state government.
“And I know that people will willingly say why not if the right thing had been done. But to just levy churches and impose tax on us would not be allowed because it is like putting the cart before the horse. It cannot work. That is not the way to go about it. They should call all of us together and then let us decide among ourselves. You can’t just say people should pay ‘x’ amount of money; they will frown on it.”
Also the State Chairman, Ansarudeen Society, Alhaji Waheed Ajao, regretted that many religious organisations had turned places of worship to commercial centres, adding that the government probably thought that all religious organisations were making money and therefore should contribute their quota towards the security trust fund.
Ajao said he would confer with the Ansarudeen Missioner to make the position of the body known on the controversial issue.
When contacted by Saturday PUNCH, the state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Benjamin Akanmu, said he was just hearing about the letter demanding financial support from churches and other organisations, even though the letters had been purportedly sent out on Thursday.
Akanmu was also quick to add that the state government had recently invited them to a meeting concerning the issue, where it was agreed that the levy would be minimal.
“The government invited us, telling us about the need for us to support it. At the meeting, they said the levy would be minimal. As I am talking to you, I have not set my eyes on a copy of the categorisation. We will study the categorisation and react accordingly. I am still on the lookout for it. We will surely get back to the state governor with feedbacks from our members across the state on the matter,” he said.
The filling stations in the state, majority of which are to pay N100, 000 each annually as their contribution to the trust fund, said the government was abdicating its responsibility of providing security of lives and properties to all.
Source ;The punch