The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA), saying appointing a supervising minister to suspend church trustees and appoint new one is satanic.
CAN said the new act would snuff life out of the church and rank the church as a secular institution under secular control.
Presiding Bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo had condemned the CAMA law and rejected it in totality.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 7 signed into law, the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020. The bill which has been passed by the National Assembly replaced the 1990 CAMA.
According to CAN, the law is Satanic as section 839 (1) and (2) of the law which empowers the supervising minister “to suspend trustees of an association (in this case, the church) and appoint the interim managers to manage the affairs of the association for some given reasons.”
A statement issued by Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant on Media and Communications to CAN President, Rev Samson Ayokunle, stated that the Federal Government had declared war on the church if it moved on to implement the law.
According to the statement, The leadership of CAN rejected outrightly the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 that was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari recently, saying that the law, to say the least, was unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible, and an ill-wind that blew no one any good and a time bomb waiting to explode.
It said while CAN was not against the government fighting corruption wherever it might be found, yet it completely rejected the idea of bringing the church, which is technically grouped among the NGOs, under control of the government.
“The Church cannot be controlled by the government because of its spiritual responsibilities and obligations. How can the government sack the trustee of a church which it contributed no dime to establish? How can a secular and political minister be the final authority on the affairs and management of another institution which is not political? How can a non-Christian head of government ministry be the one to determine the running of the church? It is an invitation to trouble that the government does not have power to manage.
“Government should face the business of providing infrastructure for the people. Let them focus on better health provision, food, education, adequate security employment, etc. The government should not be a busy body in a matter that does not belong to it. The government does not have the technical expertise to run the church of God because of its spiritual nature,” it said.
CAN said if the government was bent on imposing a law, which the entire Church in Nigeria is against, then, they have declared war on Christianity and the agenda to destroy the Church which “we have spoken against before now is coming to the open more clearly. If you cannot give us good amenities of life, we would not allow you to take away our liberty to worship our Maker.”
According to the body, Buhari must stop the implementation of the obnoxious and ungodly law until the religious institutions were exempted from it and return the law to the National Assembly for immediate amendment.
Also, human rights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has broken his silence on the disputed Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA), saying the law was badly drafted.
According to Falana, he had read the law and that it was badly drafted.
He said a government that set out to facilitate the ease of doing business could not have come up with a 604-page business law.
Falana stated that the law was not completely new, as registered NGOs were regulated in the past in line with the practice in all democratic societies.
He said the only addition which was objectionable was the power conferred on the commission to take over and manage NGOs on allegations of misconduct.
Falana stated that the law was illegal because it was a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of association guaranteed by section 40 of the Constitution.
In his words: “I have read the law. It was badly drafted. A government that set out to facilitate the ease of doing business could not have come up with a 604-page business law (CAMA 2020).”
“But it is not a completely new law. Registered NGOs were regulated in the past in line with the practice in all democratic societies.
“The only addition which is objectionable is the power conferred on the commission to take over and manage NGOs on allegations of misconduct.
“It is illegal because it is a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of association guaranteed by section 40 of the Constitution.”