By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Proffering a way out of the present recession, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on governments at all levels to introduce a social intervention mechanism capable of injecting heavy doses of discipline in the life styles of Nigerian citizens, suggesting the introduction of ‘cow tax’ and ‘party levies’.
MURIC expressed this in a statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“‘Cow tax’ should be charged on every cow slaughtered by citizens. While cows slaughtered by butchers and meant for sale to consumers will be free from this tax, a percentage capable of acting as deterrent against extravagance should be charged on every cow slaughtered to entertaining guests. This percentage must rise as the number of cows slaughtered for the occasion increases,” it said.
It explained that party levies should be collected from citizens who organize parties in public places or in event centers and halls.
“Those who hold parties in the privacy of their homes may be exempted. This may succeed in re-engineering our merry-making mentality and discourage flamboyance. Nigerians may thereafter redirect their focus to productive lives.
“As the current economic recession continues to bite hard, inflation rate is above 18% while the exchange rate of the dollar stands at N450 to one dollar. This has drastically reduced the purchasing power of the average Nigerian. Yet a large section of the Nigerian population appears unwilling to check their extravagant life style.
“In an apparent suicidal commitment to Nigeria’s well known culture of waste, society parties are still being organized, wands of naira and foreign currencies are being sprayed, events places are hired at mouth-watering prices while cows are slaughtered in their scores to entertain guests,” it stressed.
MURIC said that it was deeply perturbed by this development, which proves that Nigerians are yet to learn any lesson at all from the present economic quagmire.
“We strongly condemn this culture of waste. We denounce the false life, the flamboyance and the extravagance that have characterised the Nigerian public life.
“A nation whose citizens have unofficially registered themselves as ‘consumers without borders’ and whose main dogma in life is ‘item number 7’ will remain a dumping ground for used goods. A nation whose citizens waste so much on funeral, wedding, naming and house-warming ceremonies cannot be regarded as a serious nation by any standard.
“We posit that although the fall in the price of crude oil at the international market and economic sabotage are mainly responsible for the current misfortune, it must also be understood that the present suffering is boldly and clearly reflected in an apocalyptic verse in the Qur’an.
“Allah gave the example of a city or nation which was peaceful, secure and prosperous (e.g. Nigeria?). But when the citizens failed to appreciate their Creator, when they waste resources and cheat their fellow men, “…Allah made them taste hunger (economic downturn) and fear (insecurity: e.g. Boko Haram, Niger Delta militancy, herdsmen saga, kidnapping, armed robbery) as a result of their handiworks” (Qur’an 16:112),” it pointed out.
The group suggested that the operation should be monitored by local governments as they have the capacity to reach the grassroots.
“Proceeds from ‘cow tax’ and ‘party levy’ should be used to fund public primary schools in the local government. Part of the fund may also be used to give free one meal per day to certified indigent citizens and elderly Nigerians who are above 60 years of age,” it concluded.