By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
The Osun State coordinator and spokesman, World Bishops (WBC), Africa, Bishop Seun Adeoye has kicked against the purported plan by the Osun State Government to impose taxes on religious centres in the state.
Addressing journalists in Osogbo on Wednesday, Bishop Adeoye, who is the founder of Sufficient Grace and Truth Ministry (SGTM), Rehoboth Arena, Okinni, Osun State said that the state government through the Department of Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) announced its intention to place taxes on religious centres and from all the priests in the state saying it is immoral.
He described the imposition of tax as anti-christ, uncalled for, satanic and an attack that can make the churches not exist any longer.
His words: “In its bid to ensure the success in the collection of these taxes, the state government had by last week subtly compiled names of all religious centres in the state, especially churches.
“This move is satanic and I see this as one of the projects of antichrist to stifle the church of God to extinction.
“It must be emphasized that churches are not business centres. Those who assembled in the church are same people who had performed their civic responsibilities to the society. Members of our churches had already paid their taxes because we taught them to do so,” the cleric stated.
Bishop Adeoye noted that churches are now the one carrying the burden of the society which could have caused crisis for long.
“Why planning to take taxes from churches which today had virtually taken over government’s duties? Those abandoned by the people in the position of authority have become the church’s burden. Our churches today are like IDP centres where food items and clothing are being distributed for people neglected and abandoned by the government.”
The cleric said anyone advising governor Gboyega Oyetola to ask churches to pay taxes does not want him to succeed.
“After overstretching all sectors in its aggression to rake money for its failures, the state government now resorts to taxing religious centres.
“Let Governor Gboyega Oyetola understands that this move is a call for war and some of us are ready to fight with every legal means. Already, I have started mobilizing people towards this direction. Whoever advises the governor to agree to taxing religious centres is his number one enemy,” Bishop Adeoye stated.
He however said he was not against the state government asking for taxes from any religious centres that are running business outfits but maintained that government should not use religious centres to pay for its failure.