…asks court to stop govt interference in management of churches
By Luminous Jannamike
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to determine the legality of the recently gazetted Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA).
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 7, 2020, signed the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020.
The assent repealed and replaced the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, that had hitherto existed for 30 years.
Consequently, CAN and other prominent bodies the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) asked President Buhari to rescind his assent to the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020.
While SERAP requested Buhari to send the legislation back to the National Assembly to address its fundamental flaws, CAN rejected the new law on the basis that the Federal Government cannot interfere in the management of the churches, stressing that it was not comfortable with the specific provisions of sections 831; 839; 842; and 850 of CAMA (2020) amongst others.
So, the apex Christian body filed a fresh suit challenging the enactment of the new law and seeking various orders of injunction to restrain the Federal Government from taking any further steps in its implementation.
The suit, marked with number FHC/ABJ/CS/244/2021, was instituted on behalf of the Incorporated Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria by a team of lawyers led by Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN.
Listed as defendants in the suit were the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.
A statement signed by CAN’s General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, after the case was mentioned in the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, explained the rationale behind the decision to take the matter to court.
“The Association resolved to go to court after all attempts to convince the Federal government why it should not intervene or interfere with the management of the Church in the country through any of its agencies failed,” Daramola said.
CAN’s legal team, led by Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, included Professor J. Amupitan, SAN, Wale Adesokan, SAN, Isaac Okpanachi, Esq., Godswill Iyoke, Esq., Dr Cyril Obika, Esq., Geraldine Mbah, Esq., Francis Oronsaye, Esq.
Others were Oluniyi Adediji, Esq., Charles Ndukwe, Esq., Emmanuel Ekong, Esq., and Darlington Onyekwere, Esq., Madu Joe-Kyari Gadzama, Esq,. Lama Joe-Kyari Gadzama, Rev Fr. Joseph Ilorah, Esq., Jerry Ombugadu Musa, Esq., Amazing Ikpala, Esq., and a host of other legal luminaries.
Meanwhile, CAN leaders present in the Abuja court when the case was mentioned included: the General Secretary, Joseph Bade Daramola, Esq., the Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Comfort Otera Chigbue, Esq., Elder Kunle Fagbemi, Senator Philip Gyunka, Elder Tunde Adegbesan, Rev Dr Testimony Onifade, and Senator Jonathan Zwingina.
Several Pastors under the aegis of CAN have insisted that the Law would not work.