President Muhammadu Buahri’s assent to the Company And Allied Matters, CAMA 2020 bill was quickly followed by varied and heated responses on social media platforms.
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.
Notable among the reactions was the rejection of the act by Christian led groups and clerics.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) insisted that because of the ‘spiritual responsibilities and obligations’ of the churches, they cannot be controlled by the government.
In a statement, by the association’s president, Adebayo Oladeji, CAN rejected the law, tagging it as ‘unacceptable and ungodly.’
Similarly, the Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, Dr David Oyedepo, advised the Federal Government to expunge the part of the newly-signed amended Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 that gives the supervising minister the power to remove the board of trustees of churches without recourse to the court.
He described it as illegal and an attempt to persecute Christians
Oyedepo, while speaking in his church on a Sunday, said, “Who was Paul persecuting? The church! Who said, “I’m the one you are persecuting?” Jesus! This country is going too far and it’s a risk. I saw something on CAMA (Company Allied Matters Act) and they put religious bodies there that Registrar-General can remove trustees without a recourse to the court. Don’t try it!”
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Meanwhile, foremost lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana agreed that it was a badly drafted law.
“I have read the law. It was badly drafted. A government that set out to facilitate the ease of doing business could not have come up with a 604-page business law (CAMA 2020)…It’s illegal.”
Notable Nigerian columnist, Festus Adedayo, however, on Monday to described the law as a welcome development to curtail the massive looting, money laundering and manipulation by Nigerian pastors.
He wrote; “Yes, the church is the bride of Christ but when Jesus was on earth, He asked that what belonged to Caesar be given to Caesar and even paid tax. Yes, the church works on the pattern delivered by God but is obligated to factor in the pattern of man as anything short of this would be against the teaching of Christ Himself.
“The Oyedepo spit of fire, coated in the scary lacerating venom of God’s wrath, has its
applicability for sure but certainly not on a law targeted at purging the church of pastors who are profiting egregiously and callously too from the naivety of church members and their thirst for eternity.
“Nigerian pastors are private jet-junketing billionaires and multi-millionaires who care less about their people. Many of them have no blood flowing in their veins. Some who do merely give tokenism from their pool of wealth. These were men who, a few years back, barely scrounged a living. No thanks to the complicity of the Nigerian ruling class who bow down before them in churches, they have transmuted into stunningly rich billionaires and jet-owning barons all because there are no strict laws guarding the operations of the church.
“Even though it has not been tested, it is obvious that the particular provision of CAMA 2020’s intendment is to curtail the massive looting, money laundering and manipulation by Nigerian pastors. They explore and exploit the hopelessness in the land brought about by equally wicked and selfish successive governments and use the twine of prosperity and blissful eternal life to empty the wallets of their congregants at Bible-point.”
Although, the debate continues unabated on social media, there are no indications the presidency will consider a review of the law.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, berated Oyedepo, for kicking against the Company and Allied Matters Acts.
Reacting to the issue, Onochie said, “I hope this is not true. If it is, Oyedepo will have to manufacture his own country and live by his own laws.
“As long as he lives and operates within the entity called Nigeria, he will live by Nigerian rules and laws. He will do as he’s told by the law. Enough of lawlessness.”