(By Oluseye Ojo – IBADAN)
The Christian community in Nigeria has called for the expungement of the suspended codes of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) that controversially fixed the tenure of general overseers of churches.
The Presiding Bishop of the Swords of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, who addressed journalists on behalf of the Christians at the headquarters of the Christ Life Church, Ibadan, on Tuesday, January 10, said that the suspension of the code was not enough.
The Christian community, according to Oke, comprises the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and all Christian denominations in the country.
Oke was supported during the press conference by Christian leaders from many denominations, including President, Maranatha Lord Cometh Ministries, Bishop Olumakinde Alawode; Presiding Prophet, Gospel Promotion Outreach of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Ori-Oke Baba Abiye, Ede, Osun State, Prohet Funsho Akande; the Overseer, Calvary Bible Church, Pastor Olumide Emmanuel; Presiding Pastor, Word Ablaze Missions International(WAMI), Triumphant Assembly Churches, Rev (Dr.) Albert Oduwole; and President, Aggressive Faith International, Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Pastor Michael Amieye.
Oke commended President Buhari for his swift intervention, which culminated in the suspension of the law that allegedly forced Pastor Enoch Adeboye to step down as the Nigeria General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), the sack of Executive Secretary of FRC, Jim Osayande Obazee, and dissolution of FRC board, insisting that the entire law must be repealed as it should not have been passed in the first place.
He noted that the law was anti-Christian and was made to weaken the church. The religious leader also cautioned the government against interference into the internal governance of churches.
“It is an anti-Christ move. It is an unfolding Islamic agenda. It is an attempt to weaken the church. The church is a creation of God, not the government. So, government should not venture into it. There is nowhere in the world where it is done. Each church should be governed by its constitution,” he said.
Bishop Oke said in the West, specifically in the United Kingdom, where the government donates what is called ‘Aid Grant’ to the church, governments do not generally intervene in the tenure of Church leadership.
He noted that if the government would insist that such a law should stay, then it must be applicable to the office of the spiritual head of Islam in Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto, and heads of the various Islamic denominations in the country.
“If you do it with the Church, then the Muslims too should be affected. We see this as an error. A lot of things are wrong in the economy, infrastructures are in bad shape, hospitals are living mortuaries, yet politicians fly abroad for medical attention, youths are jobless, corruption is everywhere. These should be what the government will focus on, not religious matters. Government should face their own job,” Oke advised.