The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, especially as it applies to churches.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 7 signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organisations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and a supervising minister.
In a statement, on Thursday, signed by the special assistant on media to the association’s president, Adebayo Oladeji, CAN rejected the law, tagging it 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 trouble that the government does not have the power to manage.’
CAN advised the government to focus on providing infrastructure and adequate security for the people.
The full statement by CAN is reproduced below:
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) rejects CAMA Completely
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (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By implications, he has repealed the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 (1).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. It is a time bomb waiting to explode.
We recall that during the First Term of the President, there was a Public Hearing conducted by the National Assembly on the Non- Governmental Organisations Bill tagged ‘Bill for an Act To Provide For The Establishment Of
The Non-Governmental Organizations Regulatory Commission For The Supervision, Co-ordination And Monitoring Of Non-Governmental Organizations’ which was attended by CAN and many NGOs.
At the Public Hearing, the Bill that sought to bring the religious organizations and NGOs under the control and influence of the government was totally rejected because it would snuff life out of the church and rank the church as a secular institution under secular control. We thought it was all over until we heard of the CAMA that was assented to by the President, 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.
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 Muhammadu 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.
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 well-meaning Nigerians to ask the Federal Government to suspend the law because we do not need it in this nation.
Thank You for making this position of CAN known through your credible and popular media.