Former Vice-Chancellor of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Professor Pita Ejiofor, has called on the Federal Government to bury the idea of running churches in Nigeria via the new Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, saying it has no business doing so.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Prof. Ejiofor pointed out 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 abrogate it.
The ex-VC, who is the founder and National President of an Igbo language projection group, Otu Suba Kwa Igbo, said the new law is in conflict with the constitutional provisions that guarantee freedom of association and assembly, stressing that “any social body or culture that is not harmful should be allowed to exist.”
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.”
According to him, the churches have three options to ease out their leaders, regardless of name called – managers, boards, or councils or trustees – if they are not adhering to their tenets.
The options, he mentioned, included 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.”
Also justifying his call for the abrogation of the contentious law, Ejiofor recalled that the Vatican City, the seat of the Papacy, became an autonomous state with Pope as the Head of State when the Italian government under President Mussolini attempted running the Catholic Church in Italy about the 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.