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Catholic Church Drags Ekiti Government To Court

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The Catholic Diocese of Ekiti has filed a suit against the imposition of levies on pupils in its primary and secondary schools by the Ekiti State government.
The church urged an Ekiti State High Court to declare that the defendants could not impose education development levy or tax on pupils and schools.
The court is to restrain the defendants from further demand of the levy.

According to the originating summons, the Incorporated Trustees of Catholic Diocese of Ekiti are the claimants. The defendants are the Attorney General, Commissioner for Education and the government.
The Church wants the court to determine “if every child of primary school and junior secondary school age in Ekiti State is not entitled to free and compulsory basic education.

It also wants the court to determine if “the imposition of education development levy or any tax or levy on pupils and schools in Ekiti State, including the claimants’ schools, by the defendants, does not violate Section 2 of Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act 2004 and Section 19 of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Law”.
The Catholic Church also wants the court to determine if the defendants could impose education development levy or tax on pupils and schools “without a law validly passed by the House of Assembly”.

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The Church is seeking an order of mandatory injunction directing the defendants to endorse and approve the applications of pupils of its schools for the National Examinations Council (NECO) examination, pending the determination of the substantive case.

Diocesan Bishop Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye said he was “concerned about the propriety of imposing any development levy on pupils in Catholic mission schools in Ekiti State, moreover when our schools are paying various levies and taxes demanded by both the local and state governments”.

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Addressing a briefing at the weekend, Ajakaye expressed dismay at the closure of seven Catholic schools even as some of them are preparing for their NECO examinations.
The closure, according to him, followed the breakdown of negotiations between the Diocese and government representatives.

The cleric said as a law abiding body, the Church was taking steps to seek judicial resolution of the matter.
“The affected pupils are writing exams and government is closing down their schools. That is insensitivity.”

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