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CAN drags FG to court over CAMA 2020

THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has dragged the Federal Government to court over the implementation of the controversial Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020.

The religious body took the decision almost seven months after President Buhari signed the controversial bill into law.

The law, which was signed on August 7, 2020, stipulates that religious bodies and charity organisations will be regulated by the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and a Minister of the Federal Republic.

Though most critics of the law want it to be completely revoked, a particular provision of the law enshrined in Section 839 (1) &(2) of CAMA is the bone of contention.

The section 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.

While the proponents of the law believe it is meant to curb the excesses of charity organisations and religious bodies, the critics are of the opinion CAMA is a sinister move by the Federal Government to hijack religious centres, particularly the Christian religious organisation, from their owners.

Consequently, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has filed a suit with the number FHC/ABJ/CS/244/2021 at the federal high court in Abuja, over the regulation which has been reportedly gazetted.

CAN’s Secretary-General, Joseph Daramola, in a statement yesterday said the association dragged the federal government to court to contest some provisions of CAMA, which it is not comfortable with.

The case has the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and minister of industry, trade and investment as respondents.

“The association resolved to go to court after all attempts to convince the federal government why it should not intervene or interfere with the management of the Church in the country through any of its agencies failed,” Daramola said.

“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, is unacceptable.”

Many religious leaders, particularly pastors, have kicked against the law, saying it is a declaration of war on the church.

In September, the Christian body had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the implementation of the law.

David Oyedepo, presiding bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide, said the law was born out of the government’s jealousy of the church.

Most pastors under the umbrella of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria,  have expressed their grievance over the law.

However, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had counselled church leaders who were aggrieved over CAMA 2020 to approach the national assembly.

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