Once again the federal government of Nigeria and the Church may be on war path again if the government insists on implementing its newly signed Company and Allied Matters Acts (CAMA) whereby the government put the regulation of religious organisations under the government.
The bill, recently passed by the National Assembly, replaced the 1990 CAMA and was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari 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.
CAMA 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.
Bishop David Oyedepo, the presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide, has kicked against the application of the Company and Allied Matters Acts (CAMA) in Churches.
While addressing members of his congregation on Sunday, the first Sunday service after the corona pandemic lockdown, the man of God said such laws were borne of out the government’s jealousy about the prosperity recorded by the Church.
Oyedepo questioned the rationality behind subjecting churches to the same laws as companies, describing the church as God’s heritage on earth.
According to him, “In the document, they said the Registrar-General can remove the trustees without recourse to the court. Don’t try it. This must be from somebody who woke up from the wrong side of the bed after dreaming. The person must have drafted that aspect in the bill as their custom is.
“I am 51 years old in this thing (Christianity), don’t try it. I have been with Jesus for some time and I am sent as a prophet to nations. That a minister can remove the trustees and close the accounts of the church is.
He continued, “The church is God’s heritage on earth. The church is the bride of Christ. Molest the wife of somebody and you will see the anger of that person. You know how a strong man is when you tamper with his wife. The church is the body of Christ. The cheapest way for a leader to lose respect is to insult the wife of his worker. He will tell you to take your job and insult you thoroughly.We are under obligation to give warnings to wicked rulers so we could be free from their blood.”
“The church works on the pattern delivered by God not the pattern of man. Government has no power to appoint people over churches. This is a secular nation. The church is the greatest asset of God in this country. Please be warned. Judgment is coming. The Lord says I have been still but now I will arise. Anybody that is in this deal is taking poison. This will never work. I am waiting for a day when anybody will appoint a trustee over this Church… You can’t gag anybody. We own this country together.
“It is only in Africa that people who are over 80 years still run around to become president. I know that it is the prosperity of the church that is making them jealous. But I am going to live to see an army of many winners soar greater. In this Church shall emerge one of the largest concentration of giants on earth.”
Bishop Oyedepo in his response has called on those concerned to expunge that part of the law saying, “Please know that the Church is the bride of Christ. We are returning home someday for the big marriage supper of the lamb. It is wisdom to quickly expunge that part that affects the religious body from that document. It is only safe to do that.
“In fact, they said they would appoint managers. So, they can appoint occultists to be managers of Church affairs when we are alive. Don’t try it when this crude prophet is alive, when all the sons of the prophets are alive, don’t try it, this is a timely advice.”
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