There is palpable tension in the 27 Local Councils of Imo State over the state governor, Rochas Okorocha’s directive that every adult must pay a N3, 000 Autonomous Community Development levy.
According to a letter to monarchs of 644 autonomous communities, signed by the commissioner for Government Council, Louis O. Duru, the monarchs were directed to raise about N6 million from estimated 2,000 adults from each community for development purposes in the communities.
The letter reminded the monarchs that the governor had severally in the past, dating from 2016, directed them to compel their subjects to pay the said levy, compulsorily writing the details of the payment in the Adult Register in each community, to develop their communities. “Any recognized autonomous community that fails to pay the development levy will be merged with a sister autonomous community that has paid and the salaries/allowances of the traditional ruler of the erring community will be suspended,” it said. The directive stressed that sensitization meeting and monitoring would be embarked upon, to ensure compliance.
But in anger, respondents and callers on the various phone-in programmes on the radio yesterday objected to it, saying the directive dissatisfied them. They also opined that they couldn’t afford what they called “double taxation at the moment,” stressing that the hardship was much in the state to warrant such.