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Should church and mosque pay tax?

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Sir: Northern governors who try to limit taxation to preachers are insincere. Every organisation earning money should pay a percentage (probably 10 per cent) of its earnings as tax to the state that is providing security and infrastructure, including roads. But, political incompetence, greed, and disorientation of Nigeria’s rulers are responsible for where Nigeria finds herself today. The so-called leaders create disorder, using ethnic and religious affiliations to do it. Otherwise, capitalistic religious organisations, such as church and mosque, should not Taxbe earning money without paying tax.

Nigeria’s rulers sit on oil money, and so, rather than tax church and mosque, they bribe the clerics with festival gifts and sponsoring of pilgrimages. In the southwest, people’s houses are demolished to expand roads, and most of the states owe their workers several months of unpaid salaries and allowances. Sadly, most ordinary Nigerians are credulous and gullible. As Christians and Muslims, they are brainwashed that solutions to all life’s problems are in holy books. The current President, Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), like previous rulers promised Eldorado, but more than 11 months into his presidency, fuel is scarce, resulting in terrible economic disorder. PMB doubles himself as petroleum minister to protect the cabal that is wreaking havoc in the industry. He sees no shame in saying that Nigeria’s fuel is smuggled to neighbouring countries. Is he not expected to protect Nigeria’s borders?

Is PMB fighting corruption? Not really. He is pursuing some of those who looted Nigeria’s wealth, but it is yet to be clear whether he will not spare some of his political associates. He gave bail-out loans to some governors to pay workers and they allegedly diverted the money to God knows what. Rather than asking the governors to account for the money, PMB said he would look for ways of putting more money in their hands.

As pretentious as ever, PMB said he was shocked that many state governors could not pay their workers even after the bail-out loans. Are Nigerians not shocked about fuel scarcity approximately one year into his own presidency? What’s the total amount retrieved from looted funds, and where indeed is the money?

PMB should tell Nigerians how herdsmen can be roaming agrarian areas with their animals without harming crops. PMB should explain how petrol and fire can stay together peacefully, as a model for farmers and herdsmen. In civilised societies, a person must have what it takes: land, feeds, water, veterinary services, etc. before embarking on animal husbandry.
Pius Abioje,
University of Ilorin.


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