The Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 has kicked up some dust that is threatening to undo the good that this legislation promises. Section 839 (1)((2) of the Act, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari Aug. 7, is the bone of contention. Seeking to enable ease of doing business and transparency, the law, in that section, empowers the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to sack the trustees of any association, accused of corruption and to appoint, in their place, “interim managers”.
For the first time, the Church is being asked to submit to the law. This is what makes Christians fret. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says the law is “ satanic”, a ruse to slow down the growth of the Church of Christ in Nigeria. Christians point to the real danger of a non-Christian head of CAC executing some faith agenda against the Church. The fact that the law does not specify the tenure of the interim management is another cause of concern.
However, to be fair to the government, there is a dire need to regulate the affairs of some pastors who have brought the Church into disrepute through satanic conduct of theirs. Claiming providential grace, some mega pastors refuse to submit to probity and accountability. In the not too distant past, “men of God” were known to live modestly. Not now.”
Today’s mega pastors do little to hide the fact that they are billionaires. They flaunt their easy wealth by drive expensive cars, flying in private jets, and living in big mansions while congregation members suffer deprivations. Their claim that the church is the “body of Christ” is easily contradicted by the structure of the church today. Somebody sets up a church and makes himself, his wife and eldest son signatories to the account. This is the insurance that keeps the church as family possession in case of death.
Furthermore, there is a similar law in the United Kingdom and churches owned or operated by Nigerians have not objected to being brought under it. Recently. the UK Charities Commission appointed interim managers for two Nigerian mega-churches over financial mismanagement and the heavens did not fall. It is true that church leaders in Nigeria are the loudest critics of the goings on in government. They should be able to stand the brightness of the searchlight turned on them.
Come to think of it, what is at the heart of this sound and fury is lack of mutual trust. This would have been cleared up if prior consultation had taken place between the government and those the law would affect. However, it is not too late in the day for that.