Femi Faseru, the National Superintendent of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) Nigeria, has said churches and religious institutions in the country will find it difficult to trust the Federal Government over the implementation of the recently assented Company And Allied Matters Act, 2020.
Speaking in an interview on Friday, Faseru stated that there is already a distrust between the churches and the government over the sincerity of the latter, stating that the role of the government-appointed interim managers in managing the church remains a bone of contention.
“Already, there is a deficit of trust between the government and the church. The Church does not trust the sincerity of the government, so it may well be difficult for the church to trust the government in the case of CAMA,” Faseru told Channels Television.
“When you talk about sacking the churches for suspicion of misconduct for replacement with interim managers, who will be the interim managers. What are they going to be doing when they come in? Would the stakeholders involved in the interim management?”
Recalling an instance that KICC in the United Kingdom had with the British government over the governance of the church, Faseru said churches need to be regulated in all climes.
The cleric, who said KICC already complies with the provisions of CAMA by submitting its yearly accounts to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), however, noted that regulation is different from control, explaining that government agencies should not interfere in spiritual matters of churches.
He said: “When we had issues in our headquarters in the UK church, the government agency there did not interfere in the spiritual matters of the church.
“They were only concerned with the issues of governance and when they found out that we were not culpable after their investigations, they allowed us to go. Nobody is averse to regulation. What I think the church is against is control. You can’t control a body you know little about.”
The cleric also lamented that the CAMA was silent on the criteria of how the interim managers to be selected by the government in running any church whose board of trustees are sacked for fraudulent acts will be chosen.
“At the moment when you talk about sacking the trustees, who will constitute the interim managers. What will be the extent of the involvement of the managers? This is not exactly what happens in other countries. In the case of our church in the UK, when the interim managers stepped they were not involved with issues of spirituality.
“The question we should be asking is, does the government have the workforce that comes with the revised act. There are thousands of churches all over. Does the government have the workforce to manage the churches all over the country? With the Act, every single church has to have its own trusteeship. That is the number one problem CAMA could pose for the government,” he said.
Faseru stated that the government and the church need to sit together and look at the grey arrears of the act and reach a consensus.
Leaders of Christian-denominated organisations have in the past week denounced section 839 (1) and (2) of CAMA, which empowers the supervising minister “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”.