The new laws recently introduced by the federal government into the Company and Allied Matters Act, 2020 and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 7, 2020 are eliciting hostile reactions from religious organizations and the civil society. According to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, the newly introduced laws are inimical to the growth of the Church and as such should be scrapped. “The law, to say the least, is unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible, and an illwind that blows no one any good. It is a time bomb waiting to explode,” said Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle. Rev. Dr Ayokunle’s objection is based on his belief that the content of a section of the Act amounted to an attempt to bring Churches under government control. “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,” it said. “While we are not against the government fighting corruption wherever it may be found, we completely reject the idea of bringing the Church, which is technically grouped among the NGOs, under control of the government.
The Church cannot be controlled by the government because of its spiritual responsibilities and obligations.” Based on its position, the association expects the federal government to change course and amend the law. The CAN president believes strongly that the law needs to be revisited urgently. In his words, “Nigeria should not be compared with any other nation when it comes to the relationship between religious institutions and the government. In Nigeria, people’s religions are tied to their humanity and of course, their life.” Meanwhile, Human rights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has said that the disputed Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA), was badly drafted. He said a government that set out to facilitate the ease of doing business could not have come up with a 604- page business law. He totally disagreed with the power conferred on the commission to take over and manage NGOs on allegations of misconduct, saying that the law was illegal because it was a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of association guaranteed by section 40 of the Constitution.