Tony Okafor, Awka
The Anambra State Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Okelo Madukaife, has asked the state governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, to be considerate in his bid to increase the Internally Generated Revenue
(IGR)of the State.
Madukaife, who stated this in a statement on Friday, implored the governor not to chase revenue on the blood of citizens.
As a consequence, he enjoined Soludo to forward to the Anambra State House of Assembly (ANHA) what he called the obnoxious Anambra State burial law for repeal.
Madukaife’s admonition followed a recent public outcry over N100,000 levy reportedly slammed on mourners in the state by the state government for publishing obituary posters, which the state Commissioner for Information, Paul Nwosu, in a reaction described as an inherited law.
But the APC in the statement condemning the levy said, “Only laws with a human face can take the state through the line of development, adding
“Any other way would be transient, draconian and would breed avoidable conflicts.”
The statement read in part, “The reprehensible way APGA Governments have operated since 2006 has been to make one secret law, without public input, make surprise announcement, quarantine same in the drawers when objections come and begin implementation after cooling off period when people would have relocated attention.
” It happened when unceremoniously, the tenure of Local Government Councillors and Chairmen were abridged from three years to two under Gov. Peter Obi.Yet no election held.
“It also happened when the same government suddenly legalised Transition Committees in a cold attempt to overrule the 1999 constitution, which states inter alia : “A system of democratically elected governments is hereby guaranteed .
“Another obnoxious law of demolishing properties of persons suspected of kidnapping or buildings housing such is also in place overrulling the constitutional right of fair hearing.
“Obiano Government proceeded without any basis in law to appropriate funds directly to town unions without regulation in the wasteful N20m projects.
“The same Obiano Government muscled in a law that insults Anambra peoples culture called ‘Anambra State Burial Law’ , which surprisingly, Gov. Soludo is gearing up to implement by once again bypassing LGs to deal with towns in extorting funds from a bleeding people in rural areas for burials.
“We urge the government to halt the drift and return to constitutionalism.
This statement is made without prejudice to other lawful steps necessary to free Ndi Anambra from the new package of APGA slavery,should this bid to extort N100,000 per burial, bypassing LGs fall through .
However, Mr Paul Nwosu, in a statement described the news report on the N100,000 obituary poster levy as a “Mischievous Story.”
He said, “The Anambra State Government refutes in its entirety the spurious news report purporting that Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo has introduced a levy of N100,000 for the display of burial banners and posters across the state.Nothing could be further from the truth.
“The frivolous news report must have emanated from a jaundiced misreading of a message sent to the National President, Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU) by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA) Mr. Tony Ujubuonu, on the regulation of ceremonial adverts in the state.
“It needs to be brought to the notice of the general public that the Anambra State House of Assembly had back in 2019, long before the coming to power of Governor Soludo, enacted a law, vide Anambra State Burial/Funeral Ceremonial Control Law, 2019, that came into force on the 9th of April, 2019.
“In line with the Signage Structure of the extant law, Ujubuonu had only written to the National President of ASATU to ensure that that the town unions work in concord with the government as per burial and funeral ceremonies and dues.
Nwosu added, “The dues, according to Ujubuonu, are graded thusly: “4 X 6FT N5,000 for two weeks; 8 X 10FT N20,000 for two weeks; above 10FT square are N100,000 monthly; and N5000 for posters for two weeks.”
“It is therefore not true that Governor Soludo slammed a N100,000 levy on anybody in Anambra State.
“It’s an obvious mischief for any self-respecting reporter to pick up the N100,000 monthly payment which is almost like building a billboard to slander the government.
“Truth is that anybody who wants to erect a billboard for the burial of a loved one ought to do that through an accredited member of Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) and pay the requisite rates.
” It needs reiteration that the burial regulations are in tandem with the extant laws enacted by the Anambra State House of Assembly.
“Governor Soludo’s drive to make Anambra State a liveable and prosperous megacity is anchored on the rule of law and order.
“Even so, true to Mr. Governor’s insistence on always engaging all stakeholders in discussions are still ongoing with the town unions to ensure the application of the policy in a decent and humane manner before enforcement begins from November 1, 2022.
“Any journalist determined to publish accurate reports can always consult the Anambra State Ministry of Information to be properly informed.”