“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,” CAN leaders note in the August 20 statement.
“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?” the church leaders probe.
According to the association’s leadership, the law is a repeal of Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 (1), which was introduced in the country’s Parliament in Buhari’s first term, attempting to bring the religious organizations and NGOs “under the control and influence of the government.”
They recall, in their August 20 statement, that back then the bill was “totally rejected” by CAN and other NGOs during the public hearing “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,” CAN members who include the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CNS) bemoan in their collective statement.
“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?” CAN members lament.
They consider the attempt to control churches “an invitation to trouble that the government does not have power to manage” and advise the leadership of the country to “face the business of providing infrastructure for the people.”
The government, CAN members say, “should not be a busybody 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.”
“The Church cannot be controlled by the government because of its spiritual responsibilities and obligations,” they say and add, “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.”
They call on President Buhari to “urgently return the law to the National Assembly for immediate amendment” and remind him that the country should not be compared with any other nation when it comes to the relationship between the religious institutions and the government because “in Nigeria, people’s religions are tied to their humanity and of course, their life.”