The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, on Saturday dismissed calls in some quarters for Churches in the country to be mandated to pay tax to government.
Okoh said this in Abuja at the 2012 Carnival for Christ, organised by the Abuja Diocese of the Anglican Communion. The Carnival for Christ is an annual gathering of the various archdeaconries in the diocese to praise and worship God.
The Primate said Churches in the country were contributing immensely to the growth of the economy through their programmes and activities by engaging many unemployed youths. He added that “it is ridiculous for anyone to suggest that Churches should be mandated to pay taxes to government.
“It is unfortunate to hear that someone will suggest that Churches should start paying taxes to government. Considering what Churches are doing for the country, I want to say that government should instead, fund some of our activities and give some kind of funds to Churches.’’ Earlier in his message at the event, the primate had urged Christians not to relent in their service to God.
He also urged them to believe in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, noting that it was the foundation of the Christian faith. He said that God at the appointed time would intervene in the challenges confronting the nation and expressed the hope that Christendom would emerge stronger and better in the days ahead.
“Christians in the country should pray for the leadership of the nation to overcome the challenge of insecurity,’’ he stressed. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that five archdeaconries in the Abuja diocese participated in the 2012 edition of the carnival.
In a related development, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, had urged Christians not to be discouraged by the recent attacks in parts of the country. Onaiyekan said this on Saturday at the official dedication of the newly completed Catholic Pro-Cathedral, Abuja.
Speaking in his first public appearance after his consecration as a cardinal in Rome, he said that the leadership of the Church in Nigeria would not relent in erecting new structures to facilitate the worship of the Lord in spite of the insecurity in parts of the country. Onaiyekan said that the Church would only grow stronger and united in the worship of God.
The dedication of the new catholic Pro-Cathedral Church hall was performed by the new cardinal and assisted by the auxiliary Bishop of the diocese, Most Rev. Anslem Umoren and other senior priests in the archdiocese. The event was also attended by some members of the catholic community in Abuja and its environ.