…We’ll make our stand known soon –CAN
By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, night, brushed aside the Federal Government’s suspension of the new corporate governance code of the Federal Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) for Not-For-Profit-Organisations (NFPO).
In Part B of the NFPO’s code, published on the FRCN website, financialreportingcouncil.gov.ng, the federal agency listed them to include homeless shelters, hospitals, clinics, rights groups, para-military (scout, brigade, etc), philanthropic organisations, schools, temples, church, mosques, synagogue, seninary/Bible college, any other religious body, mission or society, among money others.
General overseers, founders and leaders of religious organisations, including churches and mosques, who have been in the saddle up to 20 years or more, or who have attained of 70 years of age are affected by the now suspended FRC code.
Perhaps, in fulfilment of the law, Pastor Enoch Adeboye stepped down last week as general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Nigeria.
In his stead, he appointed Pastor Joseph Olayemi as the church’s national overseer in Nigeria.
Regardless, CAN President, Mr. Supo Ayokunle, who spoke through his spokesperson, Mr Bayo Oladeji, yesterday, said the association will study the new law and react appropriately.
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“The Holy Bible says; ‘touch not my annointed and do my prophet no harm.’
“We are aware that FRCN’s exeucitve secretary, Jim Obazee has been sacked and that, the new corporate governance code has been suspended.
“At the right time, we will talk; we will make our position known, soon. This government should respect the church because the church has not been against government but the government has been against the church.”
Ayokunle, a reverend, took over CAN leadership from Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. The election was conducted at the National Ecumenical Center, Abuja in June 2016.
Oladeji also added that CAN leadership would likely meet on the matter next week since Ayokunle is presently out of the country.
Regardless, Bishop Samuel1 Olumakinde Alawode, presiding bishop of Maranatha Lord Cometh Ministries International, with headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State, insisted government cannot regulate succession in churches.
“CAN has its succession procedure enshrined in its constitution and some of these churches have existed for centuries, before the birth of Nigeria in 1914! These churches have procedures for running their organisations.
“The excesses of some churches and general overseers should not be encouraged but, not to the point where government would now decide succession plans of each denomination. It will simply cause crisis…”
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Retired Bishop of Akure Diocese of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Emmanuel Bolanle Gbonigi also said it was wrong for government to attempt to regulate how churches are administrated in Nigeria, just as the President of Mount Zion Faith Ministries International , Evangelist Mike Bamiloye said there is no cause for alarm.
Gbonigi told Daily Sun, yesterday, that he was not aware of the law as he only heard of it on radio last Sunday, after the appointment of a National Overseer by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
The RCCG national overseer will administer the church in Nigeria.
Gbonigi, who retired as bishop of Akure Diocese, after serving for over 43 years, said he retired in accordance with Anglican regulation that a bishop should retired after the age of 70.
“It is not right for government to be involved in how a religious organisation is administered. Religion is personal and the fundamental right of every individual. Government cannot dictate how they must be administered.
Also speaking, Bamiloye said he won’t comment until he fully understands the new governance code “because I don’t how church, mosques, charity organisation and orphanage homes will be grouped together.
On its website, financialreportingcouncil.gov.ng, FRCN explained why the new governance code became necessary in a its 29-page rules set for Not-For-Profit-Organisations (NFPO).
“Many NFPOs operate with unknown frameworks, with governments completely in the dark as to both their ownership and principal accountability. In the context of current global insurgency, the operations and funding of NFPOs raise serious security concerns, hence the need for good governance of NFPOs in the country.
Although the new code was suspended in May 2015, it came into effect on October 17, 2016. (The Sun)