History was made in Anambra state, as Coalition of Private Schools’ Union in the state down tools to register their displeasure over the incessant imposition of tax, extortion and invasion of schools by government agencies in the state.
The Coalition is made up of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) and Owners of Private Schools Association of Nigeria (OPSAN).
Tribune Online gathered that the aggrieved proprietors embarked on the 3-days warning strike on allegations of imposition of sanitation levy, emblem, stamp duty, registration of business premises, sports levy, beautification levy, signage level, fire service levy, withholding tax, and many more.
According to them, Private schools in Anambra State have been complying with the levies such as Pay as you earn, personal tax, and developmental levy without complaint until the emergence of vehicle branding.
In a press release signed by NAPPS President, Mrs Amaka Ezedebego and Evang Uzochukwu Nwanonyuo APSAN President, the groups decried the outrageous taxation and levies by Mr David Nzekwu, the chairman, Anambra State Board of Internal Revenue boss.
The statement read in part, “We wish to draw the attention of the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano to the outrageous and multiple taxations, levies, by the board of internal revenue; invasion of schools by thugs, destabilization of schools by government agencies; impounding of school buses and forceful disembarkation of school children from their school buses by the Ministry of Transport and Environment.
“We condemn in totality, the use of the police force and Magistrate Courts to extort money from private schools and so on.
“We, therefore, solicit the governor’s intervention before private schools in Anambra State are submerged in limbo.
“Furthermore, it is against the National Education Minimum Standards Law of Nigeria for persons other than Inspector of Education to enter duly accredited and registered education facilities to demand government revenue”.
Calling on the state government to put Mr Nzekwu to order, they recalled that on May 2005, the government-approved that private schools only pay an Application fee, registration fee and renewal fee.
They maintained that fees such as business premises, sanitation fees, billboard levies should not be collected from private schools because are paid directly to the Ministry of Education through government-designated bank accounts.
The union further disclosed that all previous complaints made to the Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha, and other relevant stakeholders demanding that right things be done fell on deaf ears, stressing that any addition should be on white paper for authenticity.
“We have equally protested in writing to all the ministries involved in this marginalisation and victimisation of private schools but all to no avail.
“This prompted our decision to ‘Sit at home’s for three (3) days as a protest to express how badly we have been treated.
“Consequent upon the foregoing development, we the Coalition of Private Schools Union in Anambra State call on our beloved and amiable governor to come to our rescue by permitting us to pay what we have been paying before as contained in the letter dated September 25, 2012”, the union appealed.
They said the government should see them as partners providing social services with the state government, rather than treating them as business ventures.
The union thanked parents for supporting the move, assuring that the union would not relent until the right thing was done.