As religious associations go against a section of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), it would be interesting to note that Nigerian churches accept similar laws abroad.
The Cable reports that the new CAMA gives powers to the Corporate Affairs Commission to either appoint an interim manager over religious bodies or suspend any of their trustee members in cases where there are instances of mismanagement or fraud.
One of those who showed the fiercest opposition to the law is the general overseer of Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo, who said the new rule was out of the government’s envy of churches’ prosperity.
According to the media, the UK Charities Commission appointed interim manager over Daniel Olukoya’s Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International (MFM).
The commission said it had to do that because MFM on numerous occasions filed its financial information late, among other concerns it had with the church.
“The commission is concerned over the trustees’ unwillingness to report serious incidents. The inquiry found two alleged incidents of fraud by former employees involving significant sums, both of which were not reported until a number of years after the frauds were discovered,” it said.
During a five-year-long investigation, the same commission also appointed an interim manager over Chris Oyakhilome’s Christ Embassy in 2014.
In 2019, it found the church’s board of trustees to be culpable of fraud, saying there was clear misconduct and mismanagement in the church’s administration, failure to follow grant-making policy, among others.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide Lauretta Onochie tackled Oyedepo. Onochie was reacting to Oyedepo’s rejection of the new law on religious bodies. According to her, if the statement faulting the federal government’s move is truly credited to Oyedepo, then the time has come for the cleric to manufacture his own country.