The President of the Omega Fire Ministries worldwide (OFM), Apostle Johnson Suleman, has again, kicked against federal government of Nigeria for signing into law, the Companies and Allied Matters Act Bill 2020, which affected religious bodies. The new Bill replaces the 1990 CAMA.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed CAMA into law on August 7, 2020.
Under the law, religious bodies, and charity organisations will be strictly regulated by the registrar-general of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and a supervising minister.
Section 839 (1) and (2) of the CAMA law provides that the commission may by order, suspend the trustees of an association or a religious body and appoint an interim manager or managers to coordinate its affairs where it reasonably believes that there has been any misconduct or mismanagement, or where the affairs of the association are being run fraudulently or where it is necessary or desirable for the purpose of public interest.
But speaking during a programme on Wednesday at his church’s headquarters in Auchi, Edo State, the clergy said the law will not stand as it is ‘diabolic and evil intended against the church.
According to him: ‘‘The CAMA law is diabolic and evil intended against the church. They say they can change a board of trustees and no court can upturn it. Why will I respect an Act that does not respect the law?
“It is a useless Act, a cattle mentality.
“Yes, in America, London, government regulates charity organizations. We have about eight branches in London and 30 in America. But in these countries, charity organizations can apply and collect grants from government. In this last pandemic, I know churches that got $80, 000 USD, $100, 000 USD as support from government. When you support charity organizations, you have the right to regulate them. But is it in this country (Nigeria) that we will apply for N100 million and government will release it?
“If you give us, then you can regulate us.
“We are not anti-government. Some weeks ago, I paid N4.5 as personal income tax to the state government. My wife also pays. This is aside the taxes my companies pay.
“Pastors are wealthy today because those they invested on years back are those taking care of them today.
“CAMA Act is evil intended, maliciously planned, it is not right and it will not stand.
“A government that borrows money and they don’t tell us how they spend it and they now want the church to tell them how they spend thiers.
“In my church, anybody you put at the board of trustee, just tell him to write his will, because he is gone,” he concluded.
Recall, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), under the leadership of Rev Dr. Samson Ayokunle, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, President of Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo and former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode had also kicked against the CAMA Act.
CAN described decision as “unacceptable, ungodly and a declaration of war on the church.
The Association, while enjoining President Buhari to “urgently return the law to the National Assembly for immediate amendment,” noted that Nigeria should not be compared with any other nation, when it comes to relationship between religious institutions and government. Its argument is that, “in Nigeria, people’s religions are tied to their humanity and of course, their life.”
Similarly, Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) National Publicity Secretary, Hakeem Yusuf, said he did not believe government’s intention was to regulate churches and mosques. He, however, disagreed with the section of the law that allows Registrar-General to appoint trustees for religious organisations. He argued that people would only suspect foul play, if government’s desire “is to get their own cut from the house of God.”
On his part, Bishop Oyedepo rejected the law and urged the Federal Government to remove the aspect that concerns church matters. Fani-Kayode also described the new law as the greatest threat to Christianity. He said nothing could bring the Church of God down.