The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Regulations Council of Nigeria, FRCN, Mr. Jim Obazee has urged religious leaders in Nigeria to either comply with government’s directive as it concerns the administration of churches or face the wrath of the law.
Obazee said out of the 23,216 registered churches in the country, only 89 have complied with the directive.
He, however, noted that the Council will be unrelenting in its pursuit of total compliance with the law.
He noted that it was necessary that church founders imbibe accountability in running the affairs of their churches.
Obazee’s reaction is coming on the heels of the retirement of Pastor Adeboye as the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG Nigeria, on Saturday and the subsequent attack by concerned Christian faithful on the FRCN for promulgating such law on Christendom.
In his words, “In keeping other peoples’ money, you have to prepare account. That is why churches fought me so badly, took me to court as a person and then my office too. Mosques and orthodox churches freely complied, but those Pentecostal churches called me to ask questions.
They said: ‘This church is the church of God and we are accountable to God.”
And I told them: “Very good, so you must take this church to heaven, you can’t operate it here. When public funds are involved, the government needs to ensure proper accountability.”
Obazee explained further, “Religious organizations are ordinarily set up as ‘not-for-profit’ and they remain institutions of a public character. The challenge, however, is a trend where churches and mosques start dabbling into non-charity ventures like schools, hospitals and so on.”
“When you set up a church, your motive is to ensure that people are well focused to go to heaven. Then the money in the church should be targeted at ensuring that people are helped to do that. If you want to set up a school, then it should be free for all your members’ children. If you charge any money, then you are in the same league with other schools outside that are paying taxes to the government.”
“If you set up schools, hospitals, and the likes under a church, there is a high likelihood that you will be engaging in non-charitable activities within a charity. If you are doing that, then what stops Dangote from setting up a mosque and having all his cements, rice and sugar under it? That is actually what some churches and mosques are doing,” Obazee explained.
Source: iReporter Online.