CAN says CAMA an agenda to snuff life out of Nigerians

August 21, 2020
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The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 that was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari recently on the ground that religion is life in Nigeria, and no new law should take such life.

The body said Buhari’s action, on the whole, repealed the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 (1).

“The [new] 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,” CAN said in a statement by its President Samson Ayokunle.

CAN recalled that that during the first term of Buhari, there was a public hearing by the National Assembly on a 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,” he said.

The bill however went through all the stages in the NASS in spite of public reaction. And no Nigerian law says public rejection nullifies a bill.

Ayokunle said the Christian body was surprised the bill reappeared as CAMA, and was assented to by the president.

“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.

Properly stated, Section 839, in subsection (1) : empowers the Commission to suspend trustees of an association and appoint interim managers to manage the affairs of the association where it reasonably believes that- 

(a) There is or has been misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the association;

(b) it is necessary or desirable for the purpose of;

  1. Protecting the property of the association
  2. Securing a proper application for the property of the association towards achieving the objects of the association, the purpose of the association of that property or of the property coming to the association,

iii. Public interest; or

(c) the affairs of the association are being run fraudulently.

CAN kicked against this.

“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,’ Ayokunle said.

But subsection 2 of the law clearly states:

The trustees shall be suspended by an order of Court upon the petition of the Commission or Members consisting of one-fifth of the association, and the petitioners shall present all reasonable evidence or such evidence as requested by the Court in respect of the petition.

However, CAN said the Church is spiritual, and 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,” Ayokunle said.

He said Nigeria should not be compared with any other nation when it comes to the relationship between the religious institutions and the government.”

The church leader was responding to government’s position that churches in other climes subject themselves to government regulations like CAMA.

“In Nigeria, people’s religions are tied to their humanity and of course, their life,” he said.

‘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.”

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