Powerful thoughts by Lolu Akinwunmi who happens to be a Member of the Nigerian Global Affairs Council, Advisory Board…
This has to do with churches and the NEWLY UPDATED CAMA ACT..
HONEST ADVICE TO CHURCH OWNERS ON THE CAMA LAW
There’s been a lot of emotional outbursts on this CAMA law amendments. Just like when religious organizations were stopped from meetings because of COVID-19, a lot of the protests are not targeted at achieving results. They are simply emotional. We must accept certain hard facts and they are not unique to Nigeria:
1.) Churches must accept this fact: AS LONG AS THEY COLLECT PUBLIC MONEY, GOVT WILL INSIST ON ITS RIGHT TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC AGAINST FRIVOLOUS USE OF THE MONEY. Govt sees this as fiduciary responsibility.
2) It will be hard to convince anyone in government as the church leaders are now saying that they are SPIRITUAL organizations and so cannot be so supervised in certain areas when:
– Govt registers them and issues certificates.
– Sets down the laws for operation
– Churches collect monies from people and not angels
3) What can the churches do?
– Deregister with CAC as churches. There are many groups that operate this way. The downside to this is that they also lose certain privileges and rights the laws ab initio provide. They cannot take the good and reject the “bad”.
– Stop collecting monies from the people. Everywhere the public donates money to a registered organization, government has the responsibility to supervise how the monies are used. The members of the group must also have a right to complain. This is known as GRIEVANCE RIGHTS AND PROCEDURE
– Go to court and challenge the portions of the law they are unhappy with. The churches have this right.
4) But they must be strategic in whatever they do:
– To start with they left this too late; five years too late. They were there when the various readings took place at the legislature. Why didn’t they act?
– Making untoward statements and issuing threats in the media is not the answer. Let them get professional advice and counsel from experienced Communication agencies that will manage the steps, public perception, etc. It’s a major project and they should work with serious professionals. Plus over time, many people have come to believe there’s a lot of excesses in the Church and so the Church has lost moral support and sympathies. Professional and effective communication will correct this.
– They also need learned and experienced lawyers in managing this matter.
– Desist from media noise. Stop those senior clerics that make a lot of noise, issue threats and curse from the pulpits.
– Be focused on their objective – to repeal portions of the law and not for anything to happen to anyone in government. IT IS ALREADY LAW AND CANNOT BE REPEALED BY NOISE AND THREATS. ONLY BY THE SAME PROCESS THAT ENACTED THE LAW.
5) It’s not about Buhari and there’s no point in cursing him from the pulpits. Government is a continuum. As long as the law remains in this form and unchallenged, it doesn’t matter who’s in authority, the law remains valid and execution-able.
PS If it is considered one, this advice is free.
Here are our thoughts at the Nigerian Global Affairs Council:
In Nigeria, we seen to have a reactive way to doing things, as at when these laws were been debated or going through its formulation process, these organizations (Religious Bodies) seem not to care or pay attention careful attention, this bill would have gone through a process called PUBLIC HEARING – A scenario where members of the public including stakeholders in the sector the BILL affects were invited to the table to share their position or contest grey areas.
Every Institution including Religious Organizations particularly the BIG ONES should invest in a Public Affairs or Public Policy Consultancy that helps them monitor laws and regulations that might affect them directly or indirectly. This is one way to INFLUENCE POLICY CHANGE that impacts positively on their operations.
Making statements or issuing threats after a Law has been passed won’t achieve anything and once it is passed and assented to by the President, the new LAW will run its full course as per the ACT that enabled it.
Churches need to act as PRIVATE Corporations that always protect their interest via lobbying and been in the know at all times of Government Policy Positions.
The Nigerian Global Affairs Council offers such POLICY CONSULTANCY ADVISORY SERVICES FOR a FEE – Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get started.
And just to the clear, the CAMA ACT has nothing to with religious FREEDOM or how we worship, the ACT simples states guidelines to the administration of religious bodies in Nigeria so long you are a registered entity in Nigeria, the CAMA ACT is simply putting a deeper searchlight into the activities of these non-profit institutions and how they manage public resources they get from Members of the Public, of course, this won’t go well with so many religious bodies that have always had freehand with no level of accountability into their cookie jars…
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The Nigerian Global Affairs Council is a Technology-based and Digital Media-driven Public Policy and Evidence-based Research Think-Tank that always simplifies Government Policy Positions.