…says law satanic, seeks worship centres’ exemption
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the amended Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), recently assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, describing the legislation as a declaration of war on the Christian community in Nigeria. The controversial amendments to the legislation was first presented during the first term of President Buhari and was rejected following an uproar against it by several individuals at a public hearing conducted by the National Assembly.
However, in spite of stiff opposition to its passage, the same bill sailed through the parliament and was recently signed into law. Angered by this development, the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria has described the legislation as satanic and ungodly, warning that it was a time bomb waiting to explode.
President of CAN, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, who made the position of the church known yesterday, said that the Federal Government had no business running or regulating the activities of the church. Ayokunle, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, called for immediate removal of the church from the law. He urged the President to concentrate on providing good governance instead of dabbling into the activities of the church. Ayokunle said: “The leadership of CAN rejects outright the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 that was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari recently. By implications, he has repealed the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 (1).
The law, to say the least, is unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible and an ill-wind that blows no one any good. “The satanic section of the controversial and ungodly law is Section 839 (1) & (2) which empowers the Commission 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.
“While we are not against the government fighting corruption wherever it may be found, yet we completely reject 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. This is why we are calling on the Federal Government to stop the implementation of the obnoxious and ungodly law until the religious institutions are exempted from it.
“We call on President Buhari to urgently return the law to the National Assembly for immediate amendment. Nigeria should not be compared with any other nation when it comes to the relationship between the religious institutions and the government. In Nigeria, people’s religions are tied to their humanity and of course, their life.” The CAN President raised concerns on the move by the government to control the church and sack its trustees for whatever reasons, describing it as unacceptable.
“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? “For example, 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. Let the government 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.
“If the government is bent on imposing a law on us, 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.
“What good thing again will you not take away from the people in the name of being in power? Are we not running a democracy which is a government of the people by the people and for the people? Is this not gradually becoming a dictatorship or what was the essence of the public hearing you called us to when you had made up your mind not to consider the position of Christians at all which we presented during the public hearing?
“We call on all wellmeaning Nigerians to ask the Federal Government to suspend the law because we do not need it in this nation,” CAN said. It would be recalled that CAN and other interest groups had vehemently opposed the legislation during the public hearing on the ‘Bill for an Act To Provide For The Establishment Of The Non-Governmental Organizations Regulatory Commission For The Supervision, Coordination And Monitoring Of Non-Governmental Organizations’ held at the National Assembly.