The Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide, David Oyedepo has kicked against the application of the Company and Allied Matters Acts (CAMA) in churches.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed CAMA into law on August 7, 2020. It implies that religious bodies and charity organisations will be strictly regulated by the registrar-general of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and a supervising minister.
The law also wields power to 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 had 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 addressing members of his congregation on Sunday, Bishop Oyedepo said such laws were borne of out the government’s jealousy about the prosperity recorded by the church.
He questioned the rationality behind subjecting churches to the same laws as companies, describing the church as God’s heritage on earth. He said:
“In the document, they said the registrar-general can remove the trustees without recourse to the court. Don’t try it. This must be from somebody who woke up from the wrong side of the bed after dreaming. The person must have drafted that aspect in the bill as their custom is.
“I am 51 years old in this thing (Christianity), don’t try it. I have been with Jesus for some time and I am sent as a prophet to nations. That a minister can remove the trustees and close the accounts of the church is.
“You don’t know the strength of any man until you molest his wife. The cheapest way for a leader to lose respect is to insult the wife of his worker. He will tell you to take your job and insult you thoroughly.
“Please know that the church is the bride of Christ. We are returning home someday for the big marriage supper of the lamb. It is wisdom to quickly expunge that part that affects the religious body from that document. It is only safe to do that.
“In fact, they said they would appoint managers. So, they can appoint occultists to be managers of church affairs when we are alive. Don’t try it when this crude prophet is alive, when all the sons of the prophets are alive, don’t try it, this is a timely advice.
“The church is God’s heritage on earth. Molest the wife of somebody and you will see the anger of that person. The church is the bride of Christ. You know how a strong man is when you tamper with his wife. The church is the body of Christ. We are under obligation to give warnings to wicked rulers so we could be free from their blood,” he said.
“The church works on the pattern delivered by God not the pattern of man. Government has no power to appoint people over churches. This is a secular nation. The church is the greatest asset of God in this country. Please be warned. Judgment is coming.
“The Lord says I have been still but now I will arise. Anybody that is in this deal is taking poison. This will never work. I am waiting for a day when anybody will appoint a trustee over this church… You can’t gag anybody. We own this country together.
“It is only in Africa that people who are over 80 years still run around to become president. I know that it is the prosperity of the church that is making them jealous. But I am going to live to see an army of many winners soar greater. In this church shall emerge one of the largest concentration of giants on earth.”
This is coming two weeks after Bishop Oyedepo threatened that ‘fire will fall’ if churches are shut down again in Nigeria.