The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, 2020 that was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the Church won’t accept its provisions.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 7 signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and a supervising minister.
The CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, in a statement on Thursday, described the new law as ‘unacceptable and ungodly.’
As part of the reasons for the rejection, CAN listed ‘spiritual responsibilities and obligations’ of the churches, adding that they cannot be controlled by the government.
The body cautioned the implementation of the law, arguing: ‘it is an invitation to the trouble that the government does not have the power to manage.’
CAN advise the government to focus on providing infrastructure and adequate security for the people.
The full statement by CAN is reproduced below:
The umbrella Christian body has alleged that the Federal Government is waging war against the Church through the new law.
Against that backdrop, the CAN President wants President Buhari to stop the implementation of the law until the National Assembly amended it to exempt religious institutions.
The law, to say the least, is unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible, and an ill-wind that blows no one any good. It is a time bomb waiting to explode. We recall that during the President’s First Tenure, the National Assembly conducted a public hearing on the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill. CAN and many NGOs attended.
“At the meeting, we rejected the Bill that sought to bring religious organizations and NGOs under the government’s control and influence.
“We argued that it would snuff life out of the church. In addition, it would rank the church as an institution under secular control. “We thought CAN won the argument until we heard of the CAMA that the President assented to, making the rejected bill a law.
“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.
“We are not against the government fighting corruption.
But we completely reject the idea of bringing the Church, under the government’s control. “The government cannot control the Church 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 National Assembly exempts religious institutions from it.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently return the law to the National Assembly for immediate amendment. Nigeria should not be compared with other nations in the relationship between religious institutions and the government.
In Nigeria, people’s religions are tied to their humanity and of course, their life.
How can the government sack the trustee of a church which it contributed no dime to establish? How can a political minister be the final authority on the affairs and management of an institution which is apolitical?
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 the trouble that the government does not have the power to manage. Let the government face the business of providing infrastructure for the people.
“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 well-meaning Nigerians to ask the Federal Government to suspend the law because we do not need it in this nation.”