Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Senior Pastor, Awaiting the Second Coming of Jesus Christ Ministry, Adewale Giwa has described as unrealisable the dream of President Muhammadu Buhari to control the church through the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
The cleric specifically urged President Buhari not to flex his muscles at the church, because nobody owns it.
President 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.
But Giwa wondered why President Buhari would not use his energy in fighting the challenges of insecurity, corruption and bad economy ravaging the country, rather than the church.
According to the pastor, president Buhari is trying to do everything possible to silence the church of God.
The outspoken clergy, who alleged that President Buhari was doing everything possible to silence the church of God, however, advised him to control the killings and terrorists groups in the country instead.
“President Buhari wants to use CAMA bill to silence us from speaking against injustice, maladministration and killings under his administration. It’s not possible because the Lord has declared the bill dead. Who controls his finances? How dare president Buhari and his agents to fight the church? I think he should flex his muscles at fixing Nigeria instead of flexing his muscles at the church.
“Nobody owns the church, I believe the vice president (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo) who is a Christian should educate him. If you are fighting the church, you are fighting God, and no one can fight God,” he said.
However, Bishop of Nsukka Catholic Diocese, Rev. Godfrey Onah has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS) for the controversial Act.
In a remark during the Sunday Mass, yesterday, he said if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill it would not have been passed into law.
“The question many Christians have been asking is, where are Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?
“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house it will not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.
“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.
The cleric, however, wondered what Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church.
“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings. Had it been that government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question government,” he said.
Onah urged government as a matter of urgency to withdraw the law and amend it, since the 2020 CAMA posed a threat to churches in the country.
“It is unfair that the church is grouped among Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), in the country that should be monitored and controlled by Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC),” the cleric noted.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting him to “urgently rescind your assent to the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, (CAMA 2020) and to send the legislation back to the National Assembly to address its fundamental flaws, including by deleting the repressive provisions of the Act, particularly sections 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 contained in Part F of the Act, and any other similar provisions.”
In the letter dated August 22, and signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP said it has instructed its legal counsel, Femi Falana (SAN) to take all appropriate legal actions on our behalf should government fail and/or neglect to act as requested.