The Primate of Anglican Church, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has called on Nigerians to be patient with the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, insisting that it is very difficult to fix the country within four years.
The Anglican cleric also said that churches that operate income-generating businesses should pay tax.
The cleric, who spoke with journalists in Abuja on Thursday, also stated that the Federal Government had mandated the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, in Nigeria to map out measures for the regulation and ownership of churches and mosques in the country.
“The church is a registered charity organisation, not minding one person owning a church. What is bringing the issue of taxation is the one-man ownership of some churches. Since the church is a charity organisation, there is no need to pay tax. But if the church has an establishment that generates income, such a church should pay tax to government.
“There should be a way of regulating ownership of churches. The Jonathan administration has given the mandate to CAN and NSCIA. If any of these organisations have hotels, schools and other outfits like bakery, we have to pay tax,” he stated.
While advising Nigerians to be patient with the incoming administration, Okoh said Buhari should be given a year to study the situation and set the agenda properly.
He said, “Nigerians should be patient with Buhari, otherwise he will worsen things if Nigerians push him to the wall and rush him into action. Let us give him a year to study the situation and set the agenda properly. It is difficult to fix Nigeria within six months.
“You can’t even fix a country within four years. Buhari has to take pain in making decisions, otherwise Nigerians will cause trouble for him. So, Nigerians should pray for him and be patient with him.”
He also challenged Buhari to “do something about corruption” and ignore the numerous songs about it by Nigerians.
“Corruption is not something you wipe out within six weeks. Giving Buhari the mandate to wipe out corruption is over-syllabus,” Okoh said.
Okoh also denied the allegation by the controversial Executive Director of the Voice of Northern Christian Movement, Musa Dikwa, that Christian leaders were offered N7bn by the Presidency to campaign for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in the last general elections.
According to him, since the allegation came at a time when the two major political parties were so desperate to win elections at all costs, the allegation “should be taken with a pinch of salt.”