The Catholic Diocese of Ekiti state has dragged the Ekiti state government to court for shutting down seven schools operated by the church over non payment of Education Development levy.
As promised, the Incorporated Trustees of the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti, have filed a suit at the state high court following the development against the defendants who are the state Attorney-General, Commissioner for Justice and the Commissioner for Education.
Under a new tax regime in the state, pupils in primary and secondary schools are to pay N500 and N1,000, respectively. The diocese which operates 15 primary and seven secondary schools in the state had sought an exclusion from the payment, a request the state government rejected.
The Church asked the court to declare the imposition of such levies by the Ekiti state government as illegal and unconstitutional, stating that the action violated Section 2 of Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act 2004 and Section 19 of the state Universal Basic Education Board Law, under which every child of primary school and junior secondary school age in the state is entitled to free and compulsory basic education.
Confirming the closure, the state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Jide Egunjobi said there is no going back on the levy, and also stated thus;
“It is true, we shut the schools that failed to pay. Schools that paid are in operation. We only shut those that refused to pay. We all agreed to the development levy at the education summit, so, there is no going back.”
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, in Ado Ekiti, accused the state government of being insensitive, especially shutting the schools when pupils were preparing for their National Examination Council examinations.