Former Vice-Chancellor of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, Professor Pita Ejiofor, has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to jettison plans of overseeing the affairs of churches in Nigeria through the new Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, insisting it has no business doing so.
In an interview with The Guardian, Prof. Ejiofor noted that the controversial CAMA 2020 contains many vexatious religious and social clauses that are not in the best interest of the country, hence the urgent need to abolish it.
Ejiofor, the founder and National President of an Igbo language projection group, Otu Suba Kwa Igbo, pointed out that the new law is against the constitutional provisions of freedom of association and assembly.
He said: “The law will create problems for the country. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and religious society, where everybody is free to believe in any supreme spiritual being they choose to worship.
“Religious organizations are separate entities entitled to determine who their leaders will be.”
The ex-VC said churches have three options to remove their leaders, not minding what they called – managers, boards, councils or trustees – if they are not adhering to their tenets.
He stated that the options are; continuing to tolerate the leaders, removing them according to laid down rules or going to court.
“These three options are enough safeguards for the integrity of any religious group and where those three options failed, the aggrieved persons still have other options to leave the organization and either join another organization or form a new one, or even stop going to the church. I don’t support government dabbling in issues of running religious organizations.”
While maintaining his position on the abolition of the controversial law, the academic guru recalled that the Vatican City, the seat of the Papacy, became an independent state with Pope as the Head, though the government of Italy under President Mussolini, tried running the affairs of Catholic Church in Italy around 19th Century.
“The then-Pope IX refused and a city-state was eventually created where the Italian government has no formal powers within the Vatican City because the seat of Papacy was insulated from political control”, Ejiofor stated.