Reactions translating to arguments for and against have continued to trail federal governments introduction of Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, also known as CAMA law as regard how it would affect church leadership and activities.
Speaking in favour of the law, Precious Owoh, a banker and Christian faithful bared his mind on the controversies generated by the law, saying that, “Nigerian pastors don’t have problems with CAMA law because it is a welcome development that can help improve accountability in the church setting”.
He criticized those kicking against the Act as “trying to be mischievous”. He noted that churches should be subject to the Nigerian laws. Noted that the church remains part of the society and as such, should be subject to the Nigeria laws. He stated that such laws that ensure that companies and churches pay taxes are not peculiar to Nigeria as he cited the United Kingdom for practicing something similar.
In his own reaction, Mr. Austin Adolphus spoke against government intervention in religions matters. Austin said that government in the country had failed the people by its inability to provide necessary amenities and wondered why same government would want to preside over religions matters by demanding taxes and registration from them.
Annex Okafor expressed shock that some churches would kick against the CAMA law 2020. He said that the church is part of the society”, if the church spiritual thing, why is it on the earth? Why did many of them register with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC?”
Quoting Karl Max, he said that religion is the opium of the people which, to him, means that “religion has deaden the people”.
On the flip side, Okafor stated that critics should consider the merits of the act, some of which he listed as making the church leaders accountable. He recalled that far away in the UK, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo was investigated over tax issues and concluded that CAMA in Nigeria should not be seen as strange.
But a lawyer and member of the PFN (name withheld) said that it is not compulsory for churches to register with the CAC, but if a church yields itself to the registration, it must be willing to abide by all the dictates of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.
Also, a legal practitioner in Port Harcourt Barr. Chude Tochukwu corroborated the earlier argument, saying that, “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 added that it is time for pastors to understand that as they registered their church they cede ownership of it to the government. He said church leader should refrain from thinking that government is victimizing the church because “there are no separate laws for the church. It is the same law that governs the NGOs that governs the church. So, if the church is a registered entity, it must comply with all the laws of a registered entity”.