By David-Chyddy Eleke
Private schools in Anambra State on Monday commenced a three-day warning strike to protest multiple levies slammed on them by government agents in the state.
The warning strike THISDAY learnt was to attract the attention of Governor Willie Obiano over what they described as “extortionist agenda’’ of the agents of the state government against private school owners in the state.
In a joint press conference held by two major private school association in the state: Owners of Private Schools Association of Nigeria (OPSAN) and National Association of Proprietors of Private schools (NAPPS), the leader of the joint group, Uzochukwu Nwanonyuo said the warning strike became necessary as the state government had not shown enough concern to address the issue of multiple taxation slammed on private schools across the state.
Nwanonyuo said: “We pay various levies, some of them which could not be receipted had been introduced into the private schools with the aim of extorting the schools.
“Private schools which render social services to children have been unfortunately classified as ‘business enterprises’ and as such government demand huge sums of money from them without the schools getting anything in return.”
He paintede a graphic picture of how thugs hired by the agents of the state government invaded a private school at Nkpor, near Onitsha in company of some policemen to enforce their multiple revenue generation and in the process the proprietor of the school was shot dead by the police.
While appealing to Obiano to intervene in the multiple taxation against private school owners in the state, the President of NAPPS, Mrs. Amaka Ezedebego, and Mrs. F.C Orikeze, an educationist warned against the dangers of using thugs to invade schools where children are taught, in the name of generating revenue for the state.
They complained that these government agents had in the past impounded a branded school bus conveying school children to their homes and forced the children to leave the vehicle, while they diverted the bus to an unknown destination.