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It’s not compulsory you register your church with CAC- Barr Vincent @ PFN forum
January 31, 2018
By GBENGA OSINAIKE
A lawyer and legal adviser to the Lagos State chapter of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Barrister Tomi Vincent has said it is not compulsory for churches to register with Corporate Affairs Commission, pointing out however that if a church surrenders itself to the commission it must be ready to abide by all the dictates of the commission.
He made this remark on Tuesday January 30 at a programme organized by the Lagos Chapter of the PFN which held at the Jesus Evangelical Ministry off Allen Avenue, Lagos.
A tax consultant. Pastor Mrs. Yomi Adewale was also on hand to educate the pastors and founders of churches on their tax obligations.
Vincent who is known as the pastors’ lawyer said under the laws of Nigeria, people are free to gather and worship God the way they want. “there is no law that says you can’t gather and worship God. You are free to gather and serve God the way you want. But the moment you register your church with the CAC you cease to become independent in the sense that you become subject to the laws of the land.”
He said pastors should understand that they are no longer the owner of the church as it were, the moment they are registered with the CAC. “The moment you are registered you are no longer the owner of the ministry. The church is subject to the laws governing charity organisations. It is wrong for pastors to even think that government is victimizing the church because there are no separate laws for the church. It is the same law that governs non-governmental organizations that governs the church. So, if the church is a registered entity it must comply with all the laws of a registered entity.’
He said for instances, every registered entity with the CAC are expected to submit reports of their annual activity to the CAC. “If you have not been submitting reports of your annual activity to the CAC and you are a registered church organization you are running against the law of the land. You must submit annual reports and you are expected to comply with other directives like the payment of tax if your church is doing extra-church activities like school business etc.”
Bishop Sola Ore, PFN Chairman, Lagos Chapter
Vincent who took time to educate the pastors on the need to keep abreast of what the law says noted that many pastors over the years have been jailed due to their ignorance of the law. He brought newspaper clippings of reports on pastors who were jailed due to their ignorance pointing out that pastors should not be in a hurry to stand as surety for anybody especially for people they cannot vouch for. “the challenge is that the reputation of the pastor is always on the line so pastors need to be careful in making recommendations and signing as sureties for people. They should not be eager to give approval for business deals using their churches as platforms because when such deals fail they will be liable.”
One of the striking elements of Vincent’s presentation is the way churches handle the issue of trustees. He said, “When you are a trustee of a church you are not suppose to be paid from the church money. Trustees are expected to be people who hold an organization in trust. They are not entitled to anything from the organization. So, if you are a trustee of your church and you earn income from that church you are doing the wrong thing. One day the arms of the law will catch up with you.”
While urging the church leaders to put their house in order, he said, “Times have changed. That nothing is happening now does not mean something will not happen. It will come to a time that government will start investigating and ensuring that the laws of the land are complied with”
He stated that churches can run away from these trappings if they are just a gathering of people who come together to fellowship. “sometimes the urge to register is born out of the need to be able to open an account in the bank. I am aware that some banks now offer services for organisations that are not registered to open account. We can check with the banks. But the fact that we are registered makes us liable to government regulations.”
Pastor Adewale in her presentation took the pastors through the nitty gritty of tax stating emphatically that there is no law that says churches should pay tax. “Churches are not to pay tax but the pastors of the church who draw income from the church is expected to pay tax, his workers, I mean church workers who are paid salaries are expected to pay tax, the business arm of the church are also subject to tax. But the business of just gathering to worship God is not subject to tax. The government expects that the money that you raise in your church would be used to ensure the proper running of the church. But the moment the money is used for other purposes the law will come to play.”
She pleaded with the pastors to go for self-assessment before the March 31 expiration date in order to avoid problem with government. “Before now, tax enforcers have been sleeping. But now they are awake and they are determined to bring to book any person that is defaulting in tax payment. We are expected to be law abiding and follow what the law says” she stated.
Adewale who is a marriage counsellor and Barrister Vincent took time to answer many questions bothering on tax payment, the modalities and laws governing non-governmental organisations. The Secretary of the PFN, Rev Toyin Kehinde promised at the event that the PFN would organize more of such forum to enlighten the pastors on the need to comply with government laws.
Earlier the chairman of the body, Bishop Sola Ore stated that the PFN is a law-abiding organization. “We are a law-abiding body. And we want every member of this body to be law abiding. It is wrong to claim you are being victimized when you fail to obey the law of the land. We are ready to fight for you if we know that you are unjustly being treated. But when it is clear that you are not obeying the laws of the land it will be difficult for us to fight for you. That is why we have to bring in experts to educate us on government regulations and the need to comply with them.”
AFTER 30 YEARS, PRESIDENT BUHARI SIGNS AMENDED COMPANIES AND ALLIED MATTERS BILL
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja assented to the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020 recently passed by the National Assembly.
The President’s action on this important piece of legislation, therefore, repealed and replaced the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, introducing after 30 years, several corporate legal innovations geared toward enhancing ease of doing business in the country.
Such innovations include:
a. Filing fee reductions and other reforms to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium-sized enterprises to register and reform their businesses in Nigeria;
b. Allowing corporate promoters of companies to establish private companies with a single member or shareholder, and creating limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships to give investors and business people alternative forms of carrying out their business in an efficient and flexible way;
c. Innovating processes and procedures to ease the operations of companies, such as introducing Statements of Compliance; replacing “authorised share capital” with minimum share capital to reduce costs of incorporating companies; and providing for electronic filing, electronic share transfers, e-meetings as well as remote general meetings for private companies in response to the disruptions to close contact physical meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
d. Requiring the disclosure of persons with significant control of companies in a register of beneficial owners to enhance corporate accountability and transparency; and
e. Enhancing the minority shareholder protection and engagement; introducing enhanced business rescue reforms for insolvent companies; and permitting the merger of Incorporated Trustees for associations that share similar aims and objectives.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
August 7, 2020
When it was announced that the presidency had passed CAMA into law, a particular PDF document was being shared on social media about how this law would aid the ease of doing business in Nigeria. To my greatest surprise, after reading through the Law, it is clear that religious bodies and charity organisations that have been giving succour to the oppressed people of Nigeria (who are denied basic amenities by the huge corruption in public service) will now be strictly regulated by the whims and caprices of the Registrar General of Corporate Affairs Commission and the Supervising Minister.
1. By virtue of section 839 of CAMA 2020 it provides that the commission may by order, suspend the trustees of an association and appoint an interim manager or managers to manage the affairs of an association where it reasonably believes that there has been any misconduct or mismanagement of the association, or where the affairs of the association are being run fraudulently or where it is necessary or desirable for the purpose of public interest. See section 839(1). Subsection 2 of section 839 provides for another procedure for the suspension of trustees.The trustees can also be suspended by an order of court upon a petition by the commission or one-fifth of the members of the association. However, the petitioners must present reasonable evidence or such as requested by the court. A comparative perusal of subsections 1 & 2 suggests that, while the court requires evidence, following a petition to suspend trustees, the commission simply needs to believe, to desire for some other interests disguised as public interest, to suspend trustees.
It also suggests that the powers of the commission override that of our courts. The belief and desires of the Registrar General and the Minister becomes superior to the judicial powers of the court under subsection 2. Therefore, the conclusion is that petitioners do not need the court to suspend trustees. All they need to do is appeal to the belief and desires of the Registrar General or the supervising Minister.
2. Section 823 (1) recognises the appointment trustees by a community of persons bound by custom, religion, kinship or nationality. How then could the commission appoint a manager, who may not have anything in common with the community to manage the affairs of the association?
3. Section 839(7) provides that after an enquiry into the affairs of the association, if the commission is satisfied as to the matters in subsection (1) (where you have the ambiguous and dictatorial clauses like “reasonably believes”, “deem it necessary or desirable”, “public interest.”) it may suspend and remove any trustee.
4. Section 842 (2) gives the commission the power to direct transfer of credits in dormant accounts of NGOs. The banks are to inform the commission of dormant accounts of NGOs in its custody and if after 15 days there is no ‘satisfactory’ response from the association of evidence of its activities, the commission may (without any judicial proceedings) dissolve an association and direct a bank to transfer monies from the association’s dormant account to another account (without a court order). Even EFCC requires a court order to forfeit accounts This is the height of dictatorship in a country where the biggest crimes are committed by public officials.
Prof. Chidi Odinkalu had raised a red flag on similar provisions two years ago. It is now clear that this is a tactical manoeuvre to entrench the NGO Regulation Bill through the backdoor.
These provisions are pushing the nation into a dangerous terrain in a country with palpable religious tension regarding the licensing of religious organisation’s. . This is a country where the tax collected are not accounted for and inquiries via the Freedom of Information Bill are usually frustrated. There are various empirical evidence to show that lives have been touched by NGOs, but there is no evidence of the utilisation of collected revenues in the lives of average Nigerians.
The freedom of association as guaranteed by the constitution is sacred and should not be tampered with in a nation like Nigeria. NGOs and religious organisations are major sources of hope for an oppressed people. The UK Charity Commission represents a responsible government that has demonstrated integrity in the implementation of its budget and provision of basic amenities to its people. The idea of copying the jurisprudence behind the regulation of NGOs from other climes and pasting same on the CAMA 2020 is counter-productive- and our legislators need to rise above copying and be creative and bespoke in the formulation of policies. We need to focus on the utilisation of revenue collected by government to better the lives of the people.
Adeniji is senior partner at Lawracles Legal Practitioners
CAMA 2020: On the contentious Section 839
By Florence Ozor
On the 7th of August 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA 2020), which in effect repeals the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990(the “Repealed Act”). By popular opinion, the passage into law is a welcome development and both the 9th Assembly and the President are duly commended.
Following the passage of the Bill into Law much has been written, highlighting the changes the new CAMA brings, much is also now being talked about of the traps and loopholes that also exist. The Act as we now have it is imperfect but a good law; it will evolve by usage like every other law.
The aim of this article is not to rehash the gains but to address the provision of section 839 (1) and (2) and its relation to Trustees of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that has now been spotted by others as not being in the best interest of NGOs. This section seems to gain the most notoriety – for now. It is spoken of as a gag by the Federal Government on NGOs and a sneaky way of introducing the unpopular NGO Bill into CAMA. While it is true that the Buhari-led administration is light years away from observing democratic norms especially as it relates to fundamental human rights, the perception of this provision as a decoy to gag critics is untrue.
Suspension of Trustees and Appointment of Interim Manager(s)
Section 839 (1) empowers the Commission to suspend trustees of an association and appoint interim managers to manage the affairs of the association where it reasonably believes that-
(a) There is or has been misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the association;
(b) it is necessary or desirable for the purpose of;
i. Protecting the property of the association
ii. Securing a proper application for the property of the association towards achieving the objects of the association, the purpose of the associationof that property or of the property coming to the association,
iii. Public interest; or
(c) the affairs of the association are being run fraudulently.
By the foregoing provision, the Commission can lawfully suspend the trustees of an association on the grounds stated above. If the subsection were to end there, the concerns of unbridled power raised would have been justified, but it does not end there.
Subsection 2 provides as follows:
1. The trustees shall be suspended by an order of Court upon the petition of the Commission or Members consisting of one-fifth of the association, and the petitioners shall present all reasonable evidence or such evidence as requested by the Court in respect of the petition.
Subsection 2 therefore expressly provides for –
A. Who has the locus to suspend the Trustees?
Answer: The Commission and the Members of the association in question.
B. What are the Conditions Precedent before the action for suspension can be heard?
Answer: A petition detailing grounds of a breach as stated above, reasonable evidence, and with Members – a quorum of one-fifth.
C. How can the Trustees be suspended?
Answer: By an Order of Court.
This provision is not ambiguous.
Thus, the discretion of the Commission in its “reasonable belief” is still subject to the approval of the Court, the likelihood of arbitrariness by the Commission in subsection 1 is curtailed by subsection 2; if the Commission (or members) acts outside Sub 2, it is null and void.The Registrar General cannot just wake up on the wrong side of the bed as being touted and suspend the Trustees. The law is not subjective to sleep positions. It is the Law. There are grounds for which evidence must be adduced by people recognized by law to obtain an Order of Court before the power conferred can be exercised.
Subsection 3 provides for the hearing of the petition and the appointment of the Interim Managers by the Court with the assistance of the Commission. The Interim managers are designated by the Court or the appointment of any person who cannot do as otherwise instructed without the approval of the Court.
The Court has the final say, not the Commission and not the Members. If the argument against this provision is that of lack of trust in the Judiciary to play its role by law, that is a different conversation altogether and not the object of this article. The grey area of this section for me is sub (E) solely because the Commission is not a financial institution.
There are also the agitators who do not want NGOs to be regulated at all. The NGOs are registered under CAMA, CAMA is the regulatory body for all the entities registered under it. There must be regulation however minimal, infallibility is not a characteristic of man’s nature, human or juristic. We also cannot guilelessly assume that NGOs are not error-prone (including churches), many before our eyes have gone astray and government the world over – where necessary – will fall on the principle of paternalism chiefly for the public interest. There is no foul here.
Given the clarity of Section 839, the defined roles of all stakeholder- the Commission, Members, and the Court, I cannot see how this misinformation could have flourished to be the number 1 trending topic on Nigeria twitter; the religious coloration is also unfounded–both churches and mosques are under Part C of CAMA; the same law applies to all and sundry. Unfortunately, Pastor Oyedepo of Living Faith Church has also been misinformed and his “timely warning” and prophecies on this matter are premised on error. It will not work. I am more inclined to redirecting these warnings and prophesies to Boko Haram and the perpetrators of insecurity in our land, for that it must work in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Rudimentary rules of interpretation frown at reading a section of law in isolation of its other subsection (s), for non-lawyers, this may be excused but for lawyers who know better, it is pure mischief.One is tempted to ask. To what end?
It is easier to align issues and interpret them along the lines of our biases, inadvertently sliding down a dangerous path; for our own survival, we owe ourselves the vigilance of objectivity not to be swayed by transient clickbait.
If we don’t regulate ourselves, outsiders would regulate us’
Rev. Yomi Kasali, founder and senior pastor of the Foundation of Truth Assembly, and Chairman, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) addresses issues arising from the CAMA controversy.
Rev. Yomi Kasali
What’s your take on the recently amended CAMA?
I have not studied it, and I don’t usually like to make comments on things I have not studied. It’s very dangerous. I have read a couple of commentaries on the amended act and those commentaries can inflame the polity. However, if it has to do with the Registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission having the power to deregister organizations and remove trustees, I do not see that as wrong because it’s either of two choices, if I have the power to register you, I should have the power to deregister you. It’s like you saying I have the power to hire, but I don’t have the power to fire. So, people need to understand that there is no church on earth that has the power to hire their pastor and does not have the power to remove their pastors.
But what the churches are saying is that government does not have the power to remove their trustees. Let them go to court. INEC is a regulatory body that regulates political parties, CBN is a regulatory body over banks. Can CBN remove bank directors? Yes. Can they deregister banks? Yes; because they are a regulatory body. Regulatory body is a powerful phrase. So, I think the churches refuting this are not thinking through, they are being emotional and illogical. They should have the power to deregister or remove trustees. However, what we should now be discussing are the provisions that should make us get to that point, but to say the government does not have the power to deregister is, in my opinion, the height of illiteracy, whoever says that is not as educated as you probably think the person is.
We should be discussing the offenses that will make a church to be deregistered. This should be the engagement now. And unfortunately for us, I belong to the denomination that is the most reckless, the loudest, most vocal, most flamboyant, but the least regulated. You will discover that the Catholics and Anglicans are not making noise, because they are self-regulated. And the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 9 that if we don’t regulate ourselves, some outside forces will regulate us. The Pentecostals are not self-regulated.
The law is not only for the church, it also applies to mosques and NGOs, so I think we should look at it from different perspectives before we start throwing tantrums and jumping up and down. They are not even deregistering churches, they are only saying they will remove trustees that are culpable to fraud. The heavier penalty would have been to deregister, but that isn’t even the case.
I run a church, for instance, and they find out that, I as a trustee of that church, have gross misconduct, financially; they find some terrorists’ money in my account or discover that I am laundering drug money, they have the right to remove me. Then, I would now go to court to challenge the government. But to say the government does not have the right does not make sense; that’s why they are government. They can remove me from the trustee and I would then go to court to defend myself.
The pastors kicking against this law argue that the church is under God’s authority…
That’s nonsense! Whoever said that absolutely does not know any bible. The church cannot exist outside a society. If they say the church is under God’s authority, why did they go to register at CAC? Why did they buy land from government and collect Certificate of Occupancy? Is it God that sold the land of that church to them? Why do they go to banks to open account, why can’t they keep the money inside their churches?
When people just want to misbehave, they go to the pulpit and begin to make noise as if they are above the law. They are not above the law. They just want to be reckless and lawless. Nigerians like being lawless. What they are saying here, they can’t try it abroad. Meanwhile, the government is not controlling your church, so you’re God’s authority on your pulpit. In your internal church running, use the blueprint that God gave to you. The same God that gave Moses the blueprint to build the tabernacle, gave him the laws for the people. Moses was first a priest then a president.
In their churches, they may have bishops, deacons, prophets, all that one is what the government cannot come and tell you how to do. You decide how to run your church, do your leaders meeting, preach your sermon, how many branches you can have; no government can say you cannot have your branches. That is where you use God’s authority to run your church. The same God that gave you authority over your church and also gave government authority to run a country, is that God confused?
Most of these pastors cannot do what they’re doing in Nigeria in London. A few years ago, the pastor of one of the biggest churches in England was removed as a trustee of his church and the charity commission appointed people to run that church for 3-5 years. This is a Nigerian church. Now, they will come to Nigeria and be behaving how they like. It’s not good. They shouldn’t turn Nigeria to a Banana Republic. We want to get better as a country. We want to be like better governed countries all over the world, not a banana republic.
The biggest church in the world is in South-Korea, owned by Yon gi Cho. People found that he spent $12m on his family. They jailed him. His son is in jail now. And we are saying that we are above the law. The whole committee of nations will be laughing at us. If we had radical leaders in politics, they would have shut down some churches and nothing will happen. Could we do this under military government?
What is the role of the CAN and PFN in all of this?
The problem is that the CAN is a very powerful body. I respect the chairman. He is very bold, sound and intelligent. Now, for PFN, where I belong, when you see pastors that are bigger than PFN, there is a crisis. Some pastors shout down the president as if they are bigger than the place. That’s the problem we have. The PFN cannot make a statement because the pastors are bigger than the president. They are reckless and lawless people. They don’t want to be under anybody’s authority. In your own church, you are not under anybody, but outside your church, you are under authority. Because they worship them in their church, they want those outside their church to also worship them. They are used to being vilified, so they don’t understand how somebody can talk to them without vilifying them. In your house you can be worshipped, but outside your house, you are a common citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are all under the law.
Johnson Suleman, General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministry, has said any trustee drafted to his church by the Federal Government should prepare his will because he will die.
According to Church Times, Suleman also revealed that he had paid N4.6 million to the Edo State government in income tax, adding that his wife also pays tax. He described the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari as a “cattle mentality act”.
“I am saying it now publicly. I paid N4.6 million as personal income tax. My wife also pays tax. After they have taxed all my companies they come and I still pay tax because I don’t want their trouble.
“I want to see the trustee that will come and take over the church. If they appoint anybody, the person should just go and write his will because that person is gone,” he said.
He said the government had no right to regulate charities because it does not support them. He added that other countries like the United States and United Kingdom give churches grants.
Suleman claimed some churched in the US got as high as $100 million in grants during the pandemic. He said such governments are allowed to regulate charities since they support them financially.
Also Read: Nigerian Pastor Arrested in Zimbabwe for offering bribe
The preacher also dismissed claims that pastors live on tithes and offerings, saying many of them rely on investments in lives. He explained that some people who have been helped by men of God usually send them money.
“In this church, the tithe and offering are used to buy diesel. If there is money in tithe and offering why are churches opening universities and businesses?
“Let me tell you how pastors make their money. They make their money as a result of their investment in the lives of people. Papa Adeboye for instance has invested a lot in people years ago when he was a lecturer at the University.
“It is those people who have become big, working in oil and gas companies who now come around to bless him. There are people God has used me to bless in the last 16 years who come around to bless me too. So if these people give me money I should not collect? He queried.
Eco City Reporters
by Moses Oludele Idowu
In the last few weeks certain things have been unveiled in public domain with serious implications and consequences to the nation and the Church.
Here is just a brief comment about some of these things.
* First I want to thank all those of you who joined me in the prayer battle going on over this nation last Sunday. I thank you for coming to the battle of the Lord against the mighty.
Something happened a day later. A young boy was brought to me who told me a revelation he saw. It is amazing. It is the most accurate, detailed revelation I have heard since this crisis began by a little boy who does not read newspaper and does not know current affairs. Very precise and concrete, not beating about the bush.
One of the signs of the Last Days is that your little ones shall see visions. We shall work on that revelation this Sunday by 6.00pm. Join me. We are already winning.
I believe God allowed me to see this as an encouragement.
That prayer continues this Sunday by 6.00pm, you may join us on Zoom.
CAMA AND OTHER ISSUES
In the meantime an important information came into public domain this week which is currently generating traction on the Internet: the CAMA Law which tends to regulate NGO’s, companies and churches and mosques.
More than any group, churches and leaders of churches have been crying out over this Law which has some obnoxious provisions and even objectionable demands. It claims to be mimicking the foreign law especially Britain but it fails to take into cognizance the environment and culture and practice of Britain which do not apply here.
At any rate it has become a law and a law must be obeyed or defied and then suffer the consequences.
The Marriage Law too came surreptitiously and caught the Church unawares. It was after it had become law that churches were shouting and making empty barrel noise in newspapers. That law was manifestly discriminatory against the Church.
Then the issue of registration and taxation, albeit in disguise which requires all companies and organizations to register and obtain TIN, also affects the Church.
Then there was the issue of curriculum in schools that require total emasculation of the Christian Religion in the name of Religious Studies in secondary school.
The list goes on.
Now what does all these show? What does it sum up to? One thing which I have consistently hammered on these Platforms: the Church is totally unprepared for the battles of the modern day.
THE NATURE OF THE BATTLE
How prepared is the Church for the battles of today? The New World Order is taking shape gradually with Cultural Marxism as its foundation and epistemology and Political Correctness as its anchor. In this game Christianity is to be sacrificed and destroyed or made so much weak and effete that what is left will be a charade of the original – a religion of so watery a quality that it won’t kill anyone if it were poison and would not cure any if it were medicine. Because a Bible religion is the greatest obstacle to the emergence of the Man of sin and that is why CHRISTIANITY must be taken down, by all means.[ The whole thing is to prepare the way for the Lawless One who is already in our midst. Do you wonder why Nigerian officials are stealing like crazy in billions? It is to make way for that Man and to buy up position of honour with the World Ruler.]There is nothing you can do about these game plans, strategies and tactics. They have been agreed and finalized and in the final stages of implementation – steadily, boldly and tactically. You won’t see any guns, violence or war yet but all your rights will be taken away one after the other. Until it becomes difficult to practice Christianity or survive with the Faith. You won’t see anyone it would just be the Law against you and you against the Law.
Soon another law will come that will criminalize public preaching or speaking about Faith in open spaces or sharing of your Faith with a colleague in the office or reading the Bible in the public to the hearing of those of other Faiths and they will also refer to Britain and America.
Certainly no one will mention CHRISTIANITY but you know it is only Christians mostly who organize open air services.
It will go on till it will become virtually impossible to practice religion publicly. Unless you recover yourself by an act of moral courage and begin to resist.
It didn’t begin today, it had been planned for years, built into the curriculum, social ideology, just now it has entered the crucial and decisive implementation stages.
How many of our bishops, pastors and churches know of this? How many of them even know the nature of the battle of today?
The battle of today is not only spiritual alone, ( there is that too) it is also, and even much more, intellectual, political, cultural, ideological, philosophical, legal, historical etc.
It is not only about Bibles and prayers. How many of you know that I pray? Is there anyone here who believes in the Bible more than I do?
So I am not disparaging the Bible or prayers. God forbid. But today the battle is multidimensional and knowing the Bible alone is not enough for the future that we are entering into.
For years I have been warning the Church to sit up and prepare for this battle but no one seems to take notice. Soon you will see the full consequences of what I have been saying.
SLEEPING ON OUR WATCH
Certain questions arise: It takes longtime to turn a bill into a legal instrument that will become law, where was the Church at this time? When the bill was being read and passed at the National Assembly, where was the Church?
Another legislation is currently being read on Sharia, how many are aware of this? But after it becomes law then we begin to shout and make empty noise that change nothing. It is a shame. It doesn’t even show that there is a wiseman in CHRISTIANITY today in Nigeria. It is a shame.
It is foolishness to be reactive instead of proactive. This is where the enemies of the Church are far ahead of the Church.
And foolishness is not the way of the Man of Galilee; He has not taught us that way.
The CAMA legislation began in 2014, when Goodluck Jonathan, a “Christian” president was in office, the same Jonathan in whom you trust. Why was there no protest then? Did churches bother to read through the different sections and ask for expert advise? Yes, some clauses might have been smuggled into the original legislation but it shows too the Church has been sleeping on her watch.
Where was CAN, in all these? Isn’t it a shame that a legal instrument of such monstrous dimensions with far reaching implications for charity organisations which includes churches and even CAN itself was getting passed into Law without CAN itself knowing about it and making any effort to stop it?
It was the same during Covid-19. No single leader of CAN said anything about opening of churches except to encourage pastors to cooperate with government and even its officials going around shutting churches and handing over violators to government to be punished. Until I wrote the authorities giving them both valid and historical reasons why churches must open, no CAN official or leader said anything for churches.
Look at all the guidelines that have been slammed on churches, where, then, was CAN? What is its usefulness?
Do you see why I recommended that CAN should be disbanded and a new association of Christians be formed. As it is what we now have is Clergy Association of Nigeria, not Christian Association of Nigeria and the Church in this nation is suffering and will suffer more in the days to come because of this. Many of the officials of the present CAN as constituted are clergymen. They could be well- meaning but I am afraid, they don’t understand the nature of the struggle going on at this moment.
There should be a new CAN that is not led by clergymen but Christian professionals – academics, scholars, writers, historians, lawyers, engineers, researchers, philosophers etc; but not clergymen or women. They can be there as patrons, fathers and advisers but not as decision makers. They should face their ministerial assignments and leave politics and social issues to their professional members who are in far better position to handle them. The earlier this decision is taken the better. The Church is already losing out and suffering too many collateral damages under this current CAN Executive.
As it is an outsider would wonder what really is the power of the Church in this nation when all these are happening Just making noise, being reactive which means nothing because it is medicine after death.
From all I can see now the modern Church in Nigeria does not even understand anything about what is going on, the nature of this battle and the great struggles of the future. And one after the other you will be losing your basic rights and freedoms until it is too late to even resist. I am not a church founder or operator, so this really doesn’t affect me. But I am troubled that the Church as a whole does not understand what awaits them soon.
There is still time to recover ourselves if we do the right thing. I close with Winston Churchill quote:
“If you don’t change your course or direction, you will end up where you are headed.”
It is a bad thing for a servant to be accused of unfaithfulness. But the worst form of unfaithfulness is to sleep on your watch.
David cried to Saul and Abner and was greatly displeased that an enemy could come to Saul and remove the sword at his side without Abner or any of his guards knowing about it. In the opinion of David Abner and his guard men deserved death for not keeping watch on their master the Lord’s Anointed. It is a serious thing to sleep on your watch. To be appointed over a task and refuse to keep watch is a far serious thing than even being unfaithful.
To be so unaware of what is going on that you refuse to act until it is too late. This is to sleep on your watch.
Something is telling me that someone, somewhere, somehow, in the place of authority in the Church is sleeping on his watch. The Church in Nigeria is now sleeping on her watch. These things are the signs.
Nigeria is slipping gradually out of our hands and we are not even aware of it. No one is even acknowledging the obvious. Can a spell work on an entire nation or Church? Because I am really surprised. Why is no one seeing what I am seeing? Or is it that I am not seeing correctly? Where is discernment today in the Church? Where are the creative and critical segments in the body of Christ?
Time is running out.
Wake up, Church.
©️ Moses Oludele Idowu
August 20, 2020
All Rights Reserved
FOR THOSE COMPARING THE UK GOVERNMENT WITH NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT
– Pastor Dennis Woruka Jnr
To those of you who think the Government regulates Churches in the UK and as such, the CAMA Bill in Nigeria should stand.
I am a Pastor in the UK. This means I can speak on this issue.
As a Church in the UK, you are seen as a charity. The UK government gives grants to the Church. For example, the government can give you £50k (N30 million Naira) at the end of the year based on how much your Church performed that year.
Because of this, the Government checks your finances to ensure the grants given to you are merited. This is how the UK Government regulates churches.
The CAMA Bill does not make any sense in Nigeria, because the Nigerian Government, to the best of my knowledge, does not give any form of grants to any Church in Nigeria. How do you want to regulate the finances of the Church , to the extent of changing her board, when the Church does not benefit from you, financially.
Therefore, stop comparing the UK Government with Nigeria in relation to this CAMA Bill.
I am not against the government tracking down fraud or any form of money laundering.
My Church (Fountain of Souls Ministries Int’l UK) has never collected any form of grant from the UK Government and we do not intend to do so.
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