Nigeria’s suffocating environment for Christians: “What is govt’s business with church general overseers?” – Tola Adenle

January 9, 2017

Faith, Nigeria

While the latest news out of Nigeria states that the Nigerian government has “suspended” the “law” and [sort of] thrown the head of the agency [FRCN] under the metaphoric bus, this essay must still go on because “suspension” is not cancellation. We must look at the recklessness of a law that the head of an FRCN could not have gone ahead and manufacture without the knowledge of the country’s Attorney-General and the president.

Of course anything can – and does – happen in Nigeria, meaning FRCN’s head could have over-ride the country’s Constitution if he thinks – not uncommon in Nigeria, either – that he has the ears of those that matter.  In brief,

  • The  law allows specifically limited tenure for general overseers of churches to 20 years or 70 years of age.
  • and its first casualty of was Redeemed Church’s Pastor Adeboye.

[I must say it surprised me quite a lot.]

Fani-Kayode’s very Tweet provides an apt title for this essay:

The law that says G.O’s of Churches who have been there for 20 yrs must go is an attack on the Church.What is govt’s business with Churches?

 

Meanwhile, unlike the Redeemed Church’s Rev. Adeboye who gave in to the government’s meddling bullying over-reach, clerics of Deeper Life Church have debunked stories in newspapers that their Church Leader, Pastor Kumuyi, will retire to meet the demand of the FRCN on the so-called law by the Financial Regulations Council which requires heads of non-profit making organisations like churches to have a change of leadership after a maximum of 20 years. Furthermore, such organizations – read ‘Churches – cannot have family members of the retiring leaders step in to take the helm of such “organizations”!

Regular readers of this blog have an idea of my feelings about the new-age churches but Nigeria’s Constitution proclaims secularism and while I may feel and believe that most of these “men of God” are nothing more than evangelists/entrepreneurs, my opinion is not relevant on the subject. Nigeria’s Constitution’s words are.

Nothing concerns Nigerian government about determining who leads a church, how long he/she does so, nor is it government’s business the matter of succession.

How will or can Mosques be regulated? Christians know this law is not meant for “organizations, churches, mosques …” as it proclaims just as those enacting it do.

ALL churches tax their members for whatever projects they embark on in Nigeria as far as I know. On the other hand, rich Islamic countries are known to heavily finance many mosques not only in Nigeria but in many places around the world as a means of propagating the religion. I see nothing wrong in that, either but an attempt to use back-handed method to stop Christians from practising their religion freely is going to fail in Nigeria. Most Pentecostal churches around the world are structured exactly as Nigerian churches are.

Before we know it the way things are going, Nigeria will soon have a Minister for Religious Affairs who would put even more pressure than already exists on private schools financed by Christians to ensure a quota system admission for Moslem students. After all, Christian Mission Schools were founded and built with money from Church members and those schools today are forced to allow girls wear Moslem gears to those schools even though they willingly chose the schools and had no problems in the past adhering to the school uniforms.

It is time that President Buhari’s government faces the myriads of problems – some there before him and others of the present government’s making – facing Nigeria rather than the throwing of red herring from time to time apparently to divert attention  from what has become an administration that has lost focus of why it got massive support at election time 2 years ago but has now become – perhaps – one of Nigeria’s most-hated administrations ever.

Whoever dreamed up that “law” sends a direct indictment on the Attorney-General of the “federation” to Nigerians: he does not understand his job which should be to advice the president on legal matters.

Many have cried out about the lopsidedness of appointments of heads of just about ALL “federa” agencies – ALL MOSLEMS, mostly Northerners and many related to the president or are from his Zone. While I’ve read that this “law” was started during Jonathan’s presidency, I’ve also read it was gazetted as recently as October 2016 when Buhari was already on the Nigerian Throne. What did Malami, the A-G think of such a “law” before it was gazetted?

If Nigeria, as has been predicted for years “by those who hate us” is finally consumed by conflagration under Buhari, nobody would blame Jonathan, the “clueless” one, nor Obasanjo who had the golden opportunity (like Buhari) to remake Nigeria but failed under the weight of his mad ambition nor even the supposedly self-styled “evil genius”, whose moniker says it all for who and what he will always represent to Nigeria.

It would be Retired General (Alhaji) Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, for and on whom tons of goodwill was showered by MOST Nigerians but who chose the path of sectional leadership and religious divisiveness. It was under him that his ethnic cattle-rearers were so emboldened that they openly carried guns – denied by his kinsman the sultan of Sokoto – with which they continue to slaughter dozens almost weekly, decimating towns and villages.

Image result for killing of christian woman in the market of kano

Deaconess Olawale, one of the Christians murdered in the North whose blood continues to haunt the Nigerian land. Her husband reported that Mrs. Olawale’s head and legs were removed. [http://www.informationng.com/2016/07/they-removed-her-head-and-two-legs-says-husband-of-woman-preacher-killed-in-abuja.html]

 

It was under him that hundreds of Christians are still being slaughtered in the North, especially in Christian parts of the Moslem North. It is President Buhari who needs weeks to respond to news of killings of Christians that go around the world within hours. It is his administration that issues press releases like “why the president has not spoken on the killings in Southern Kaduna”.

Hopefully, the once much-loved and much-awaited Buhari would not become the type of people Yorubas refer to as Ẹni orò kú lé l’órí …” on the issue he – and those before him, including Jonathan – have turned into a mantra: Nigeria’s unity being non-negotiable BECAUSE IT WILL BE.

 

MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2017. 10.05 p.m. [GMT]

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