The federal government and its Corporate Affairs Commission’s new law, known as “Corporate and Allied Matters Act” (CAMA), which was signed into law last August 2020, by President Buhari, has continued to generate interest and heated comments from different quarters, especially, from leaders and members of the Body of Christ, the Church in Nigeria. This is so because the new CAMA law portends serious danger, not just for the Churches and NGOs, but especially, for the future of the Nigerian State. The CAMA law is about to awoken the “sleeping lion”, which is the Church of Christ in Nigeria, the only remaining ‘public’ institution not yet ‘caged’ or brought under the direct control of this administration. This is why the government ought to thread with care, and withdraw the CAMA law forthwith!
A government that has not been able to tackle the challenges posed to it by insurgency and increasing insecurity in the land, should not invite a war with the Church of Christ in Nigeria. No government or leader in the recent history of the world has ever fought the Church and succeeded, or even survived it. The Church is not the problem with Nigeria! Neither is Nigeria’s problem caused by common masses. Majority of Nigerians are honest and very hard working. Only a very few minority group is holding the country under hostage because of greed and inordinate lust for power and domination.
Furthermore, what is happening in Nigeria today under the watch of the present regime is not a war between Christians and Muslims. Neither is it an intra-tribal war. But rather lust for power and domination by those who hold the Word captive; those who see themselves as a special breed of people who must dominate and rule over others in Nigeria, no matter the circumstance. Unfortunately, in their lust for power and domination, they tend to follow exactly, the historical trend of Muslim expansionism in Africa during the Arab conquest of North Africa. They forgot that we are now in the 21st Century! This is why the situation in Nigeria presently, is too dangerous for silence. Apologies to the legendary doyen of African literature, Chinua Achebe.
The speed with which the present regime, since it came to power in 2015, has been pursuing its alleged agenda of Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria is very alarming. That one is justified to see the government’s new CAMA law, as a desperate exercise to muscle Christian Churches, Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations. From all indications, the regime is in a desperate exercise to make good its agenda of Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria.
What is happening presently in the country is the unfolding execution of the grand plan of the regime and their sponsors in their project of Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria. The new law of CAMA, is likely going to be their final battle of shame to achieve that sinister goal. It will eventually, turn out to be the regime’s undoing. This is because CAMA law has awoken the “sleeping giant”, the Church of Christ in Nigeria. It has exposed and made everybody aware of the grand plan of the regime to Islamize and Fulanize Nigeria. And there are evidences to that effect, which is what we want to explore in the present article.
Evidences of the Grand Plan of Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria
Suffice it to begin with the way the regime have emboldened four most dreaded Muslim terrorist groups and bandits who have been on rampage across the country, killing people, destroying villages and farmlands, and raping women, with reckless abandon. Till date, none of these terrorist has been arrested, prosecuted or imprisoned. Yet anybody who raises his/her voice to speak against the carnage going on in the country is immediately, visited with the wraths of the government by the security operatives.
Secondly, the first thing, the regime did when it came to power in 2015, was to jettison the federal character principle enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, and constituted its own type of lopsided government never witnessed in recent history anywhere in the world. Today, many of the Nigerian indigenous ethnic-nationalities, especially, in the Eastern region, among others, have been so schemed out from the running of the government, infrastructural developments, employment, etc., by this administration that they don’t see themselves any longer as part and parcel of Nigeria. This is because of the way the regime has marginalized them in all the major facets of governmental structure and socio-economic development of the country at the federal level.
Thus, we have a federal government that all its vital arms of government – executive, legislature, and judiciary, as well as principal ministries, commissions, companies, parastatals, security service-chiefs, military – army, air force, navy, police, customs, immigrations, road-safety corps, all the paramilitaries, etc., are all headed by people from a particular ethnic-group and religion, Fulani Muslims from the North. With the new CAMA law, sooner, or later, the same people, who are not even Christians nor indigenous ethnic group, will be the ones appointing the Board of Trustees, General Overseers, and Directors for Churches, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations, and others throughout the country! When this is the case, what more remains before one acknowledges that Nigeria is now a full-time Islamic Republic under Fulani hegemony and Caliphate? This is the crux of the matter!
What should be clear to all and sundry is that at the end of all these debates, Christian Churches, NGOs, Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, will be brought under the direct control of the federal government of Nigeria. CAMA will be the end of religious liberty in Nigeria, as we know it. With the CAMA law underway, the freedom of worship of Christians and Churches is seriously under assault in Africa’s most populous country. With CAMA, Nigeria will become a full-blown Muslim Caliphate, controlled by one ethno-religious group, Fulani Sunni Muslims of Northern Nigeria.
This is why it is wrong for anybody to interpret what is taking place in Nigeria today as a mere Christian-Muslim conflict. Not at all. Because the non-Fulani Muslims throughout the country are as victims of the regime’s sinister agenda as the rest of us. So, what is happening in Nigeria today under the present regime is the manipulation of Islam as a religion by one ethnic-group – Fulani Oligarchy and ruling class to conquer the rest of the ethnic-nationalities and Christians in Nigeria. The aim of which is to pave way for them to establish their long-desired modern Fulani Caliphate and ethno-religious State for all African Fulanis to live in Nigeria.
What is happening in Nigeria today is therefore, a war of conquest and domination of all the non-Fulanis, indigenous ethnic-nationalities and Christians of Nigeria by the Fulani Oligarchy and ruling class. It is therefore not a religious war between Christians and Muslims of Nigeria. Rather it is the execution of long-programmed conquest of Southern Nigeria and all the indigenous ethnic-nationalities by one particular ethno-religious group. The group uses Islam as an instrument, a deceptive cover-up for their Fulani hegemonistic agenda and war of conquest. Theirs therefore is a political religion, and not Islam as a religion or spirituality of God’s people.
Many have come to interpret what is happening today in Nigeria as the final battle of the Fulani Oligarchy and their ruling class to accomplish the wish of their founder Othman dan Fodio, summarized in their age-long slogan. The slogan, which says that the Quran must be dipped at the coast of Atlantic Ocean of Southern Nigeria by all means, even if it entails waging Jihad against the indigenous populations of Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt, just as they did to the Hausa people in the 1800s.
For this reason, it is important that both Christians and Muslims in Nigeria understand the precarious situation in which the country has found itself today under the present administration. This is not a war between Christians and Muslims. But rather the struggle of indigenous populations of Nigeria to free themselves from the Fulani oligarchy lust for power, conquest and domination. This is because the administration from all indications is pursuing a Jihadist agenda to achieve its sinister primary objective. In fact, the government’s new CAMA law will be the last effort (in futility), in the series of actions mapped out by the regime towards achieving its sinister agenda of Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria.
Before the present CAMA saga, the regime had come up with its grand plan to establish the infamous RUGA settlements and grazing routes for Fulani herdsmen throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria. In fact, Buhari’s second-term in office is seen by many as nothing else but an agenda to use government machinery for the establishment of Ruga settlements, Fulani colonies and grazing routes across the country. In their desperate effort to achieve this sinister objective, the regime used the deceptive narrative of finding solution to ‘herders-farmers clash’ as metaphor to deceive the outside world and the gullible.
Presently, the Ruga and grazing routes palaver, which many thought had been suspended, have now surfaced again, covertly, in the newly reintroduced “Water Resources Bill.” A Bill which was thrown away by the last 8th National Assembly has just returned to the national legislative chambers of the 9th National Assembly (seen by many as ‘rubber-stamp’ to the executive arm of the government). The Bill if passed into law, would breach citizens’ right to water. It would remove the custodianship of community waterways from the various state governments, and invest the ownership of waters, including waterways and its valleys and basins on the federal government. The bill takes away from the citizens the right to farm on their ancestral lands along the waterways. It mandates citizens to get federal government permission before they could drill bore holes in their homes or businesses despite the inability of the government to provide potable water to majority of its citizens.
Both Ruga and Water Resources Bill are part of the grand plan of the regime to seize the agricultural lands and waterways of indigenous ethnic-communities of Southern states and Middle Belt. This is despite the fact that majority of the populations of ethnic-communities of the Southern and Middle Belt States are farmers and Christians. For government to seize their land and waters through such obnoxious bills or laws, and give them to Fulanis from all over Africa whom the regime planned to relocate and resettle in Nigeria, meant in principle, the dispossession forever of the basic means of livelihood and sustenance of the indigenous populations of the country.
Furthermore, during this period of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown, there were massive movement and transportation into the Christian regions of Southern states and Middle Belt, by the same federal government, of able-bodied young people, disguised as Almajiris, but who have been discovered to be Fulani killer-herdsmen, mercenaries and bandits from Northern Nigeria, Sahel region of West Africa. It was observed that during this period, security officials on road-blocks’ duty receive orders from Abuja, to provide safe-passage to the vehicles conveying these Jihadist mercenaries into such places like the South Eastern regions and other parts of Southern Nigeria. There are also other reliable evidences of massive movement of sophisticated ammunitions by nights, by the military, especially, to Southern States and Middle Belt.
Suffice it to mention that the first thing Buhari administration did when it came to power in 2015, was to ban private possession of any kind of firearms for the people of Southern states and Middle Belt region of Nigeria. This is despite the fact that the Constitution and laws of Nigeria allow individuals to possess such non-combatant firearms for self-defence and protection from armed robbers or any other threat to one’s life at home. The administration, however, banned it for the people in Southern states and the Middle Belt. But the ban did not extend to Fulani killer-herdsmen, who roam about in all the towns and villages in the Southern and Middle Belt states, carrying AK47, raping women, destroying farmlands, villages and killing people. Because the federal government didn’t want people of the Southern regions and Middle Belt, to retaliate when attacked by Fulani killer-herdsmen, so they have to ban possession of private firearms by individuals, especially in the Southern states and Middle Belt.
This is why, today, Fulani killer-herdsmen and bandits are having field day, killing and destroying people’s villages and farmlands in the Middle Belt and Southern states of Nigeria, unhindered and unchallenged. Nobody is arresting them as they carry these terrorist attacks on the innocent villagers and towns of majority Christian regions of Southern states and the Middle Belt. Any attack by Fulani killer-herdsmen, each time it occurs and the people complain, the federal government would say, it is “herders-farmers’ clashes.” What is clearly an open aggression and terrorism on indigenous populations, is what the present federal government of Nigeria calls “herdsmen-farmers’ clashes.” What a deceit of the devil?
Furthermore, in 2017, during its first term in office, the Buhari administration published a new education curriculum, which grossly tampered with the ideals of Nigeria’s founding fathers regarding the distinctness of the two religions, Christianity and Islam, the separate and equal treatment each of the two religions is supposed to receive in school curriculum. The new school curriculum removed CRK as a distinct subject and merged it with Civic Education while Islamic and Arabic Studies are left as distinct subjects on their own rights.
According to the new school curriculum, the Civil Education would be taught to students under a new subject title, “Religion and National Values.” In other words, looking at the way Christian Religious Studies was suppressed and relegated to the background and grouped only as a Civic Education, the authors of the new school curriculum by that singular act wanted to tell us that Christianity is not a religion but a mere social or civic phenomenon. Thank God, many Christian leaders stood against that school curriculum and forced the regime to withdraw it. Because the new school curriculum was nothing other than religious persecution of Christians in Nigeria. The regime also during that time, tried (in vain) to suppress Latin as a subject in Nigerian school curriculum, to make Arabic an obligatory requirement subject for candidates seeking admission to study law in Nigerian universities.
Added to above, is the scandalous discriminatory policy of ‘cut-off’ marks for admission into federal government ‘Unity Schools” and especially, into universities being practised in Nigeria till today, which discriminates against students from majority Christian states of Southern regions. For instance, while the cut-off marks for JAMB students seeking admission into universities, may be 380 for students from majority Christian state like Anambra in the Southeast, the cut-off marks for their counterparts from a Northern State such as Yobe, may be fixed at 70. With this type of scandalous ‘quota system’ of cut-off marks, does anybody wonder why mediocrity has been the lot of Nigerian leadership, since majority of those at the helm of affairs of the country come from the North?
Moremore, in late December 2019, the regime introduced “Free Entry Visa” Policy for all Fulani Arab Muslims from the Sahel countries as well as Arab Africans from the Horn of Africa. This was happening at a time the same regime suspended the ECOWAS Treaty, which had allowed free trade, movement of persons and goods among citizens of member-nations of the West African Economic Community. The regime even went further and closed the Southern Nigerian borders, which shares boundaries and frontiers with those ECOWAS’ countries of indigenous African populations of West Africa, such as Ghana, Benin Republic, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal, etc.
Meanwhile, the regime relaxed and left open, the porous Northern Nigeria’s borders with Niger Republic, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Northern Cameroun, Morocco, Sudan, Libya, etc., indeed, the Sahel countries, with majority Fulani Arab ethnic populations. In other words, while the Southern borders were closed, the Northern borders were not. The Northern borders were left open for the foreign fighters, the so-called bandits and other terrorist groups to enter the country freely, for reasons best known only to the regime.
In addition, there is the perennial case, the 12 states of the so-called core-North that decided on their own and adopted Sharia legal system since 2001, in an outright disregard to the 1999 Constitution that defines Nigeria as a secular state. And in disrespect to the religious and cultural sensibility of Christians and non-Hausa-Fulani Muslim ethnic nationalities who are indigenous to the area. Today, it is becoming increasingly difficult for ordinary Christians from those Sharia States of the North to “breathe fresh air” any longer as equal citizens with their Hausa-Fulani Muslim neighbors who dominate all sectors of governance and public life there. Many of these Christians have no place again to call a home because of persecutions and radical Muslim insurgency and terrorism against them. There are many reported cases of abduction of their teenager Christian girls. Most of them after abduction surfaced at the Palaces of Emirs, where in many occasions, they forced them into marriage with Muslim adults.
Furthermore, the National Assembly is also another arm of the government the administration is using in the execution of the grand plan for the Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria. For instance, recently, Dr. Philip Njamanze, a medical doctor and former Chairman of Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Owerri, has alerted the public about the ambiguities in the draft Constitution Amendments before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee of Review of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Senate has formally commenced the process of amending the 1999 Constitution in spite of those ambiguities and reservations expressed by many conscientious people. As things are today, what the country needs is a national sovereign conference that will afford each of the federating ethnic-nationalities the opportunity to decide for themselves what type of nation state they want. Constitution review by this lopsided National Assembly and federal government is a deception, a farce. The Senate have called for Memoranda to be submitted by the general public, Executive and Judicial bodies, Civil Society Organizations, Professional bodies. The proposed amendments, promoted across African countries by the Western International Anti-life Billionaire Foundation is funded by bribery and corruption of the lawmakers.
They want the Constitution to be amended to bring Nigeria in-line with anti-life provisions in the 23-paged Maputo protocol. The Maputo protocol, a more radical African version of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), was rejected by the United States Senate for its anti-life statues and breach of United States sovereignty. Its promoters have touted it as a means to prevent Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). However, there is only one sentence on Female Genital Mutilation in the entire 23 pages. The reminder of the document is on proposed amendments to the Constitution of African countries on the Right to Life. The Right to Life posture of the Maputo protocol is what the proposed amendments of the 1999 Constitution by the Senate wants to turn into an anti-life carter in the New Constitution for the country.
The primary objective why the Senate wants to amend the 1999 Constitution is to make room for constitutional amendments that would lead to legalizing abortion and Ban Holy Bible and Holy Quran in public places. It will legalize Same-Sex Marriage, Ban Holy Bible and Holy Quran in schools, ordain women as priests of the Catholic and Anglican Churches and Crown women as Ezes and Sultans in Nigeria. The draft amendment of Section 34 (4) on “Discrimination” if inserted into the New Constitution, when interpreted by the Courts will mean that there cannot be ‘An All Male Priesthood’ of the Catholic Church, Anglican Communion or Islamic Clerics. That is, based on the fact that when an ‘An Female’ applicant meets the academic and social qualification and the only criteria of refusal is ‘female gender’ then it violates this Constitutional Provision, hence the Christian or Islamic Institution will be made by law to admit female Priests and Imams or be closed down by the government. The same for the traditional rulers such as Sultan of Sokoto or Obi of Onitsha.
This will not only go against the theological teaching on the divine origins of Priesthood in the Church, but would totally alter both religious and socio-political structure of most African societies today. These amendments even go further to Ban the use of the Bible and Holy Quran as public books, based on the fact, that the holy books to promote ‘stereotype of women.’ The proposed amendments explicitly permit Same-Sex Marriage! In section 37 – Right to Private and Family Life: States what it calls, ‘equal right to choose a spouse’. A ‘spouse’ could be a man or a woman. So, when the law says equal right to choose a spouse, it also means a man and woman, hence making Same-Sex Marriage constitutional. It is very unfortunate that our lawmakers would use plain English language to deceptively, insert constitutional amendments that have disastrous consequences for our African values and religious faith as Christians of Nigeria.
CAMA is anti-Christian Law
It is very unfortunate that some public commentators and writers who argue in favour of this Anti-Christian law “CAMA”, have failed to acknowledge the danger it portends to the country. That some have compared the practice in a civilized country like Great Britain with what is taking place in Nigeria on the issue of CAMA, leaves much to be desired. They argue that even in Great Britain, the government sometimes intervenes in such cases involving the church or Christian organization.
However, there is one major thing all those people who compare Britain or other civilized countries with a failed state like Nigeria, have failed to acknowledge. In the first place, the fact is that Christianity is the predominant religion in Great Britain. The Queen of England is the Supreme head of the Church of England, and even as that, she does not interfere into the internal affairs of non-Anglican Churches.
In Britain, when the government intervenes (through the House of Lords), it is doing so to protect Christianity as the founding religion of the state. And not to muscle or supplant it with another religion (a.k.a. Islam), nor to appoint none Christian members (non-members of the particular Church) as Board of Trustees or Directors for the Christian Church in the country. Don’t forget that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Church of Anglican Communion, is a member of the British House of Lords. The Queen, the Supreme Head of the Church of England, is also the Head of State of the United Kingdom. Therefore, British reality is totally, different from Nigerian situation.
Moreover, in England as in the entire Great Britain, there is a great respect to the law separating religion and state. Britain, in principle, is a Christian and civilized country, and therefore, knows the value of Church-State separation, and there are laws to that effect which is sacrosanct. Nigeria, unlike Great Britain, is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural heterogeneous nation state. The state should therefore not meddle or bring religion into the dirty politics of power and domination in such a fragile nation state.
Again, in countries like Great Britain, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, etc., which have solid Christian roots and traditions, the state assists the Church in some cases, e.g., in financing the regular maintenance of their monumental churches as national heritage for the promotion of tourism and culture of the country. In most cases, the government, in agreement with the ecclesiastical authorities, helps in collecting the so-called “church tax” for the Church, which it deducts from the salary of all its citizens – each government or public worker, and pays it to the church account within the country. This is because there are some essential services such as religious functions, funeral and marriage ceremonies, maintenance of the clergy and religious workers, among others, which the Church takes cares of and which in turn, is appreciated by the state.
However, in any of these cases, the state never enters into the internal administration or governance structure of the Church. It is not the responsibility of the state to appoint church administrators or administer church finances, etc. This is despite the fact that the country in question has a predominantly one major religion (Christianity), which is a perquisite for unity and political stability of any country. What of Nigeria that is not only a heterogeneous nation state, but has two different religions, Christianity and Islam, evenly divided between the Muslim North and the Christian South? Why should a government that claims it has no sinister agenda delve into the dangerous path of introducing anti-Christian law like CAMA in a multi-religiously volatile country such as Nigeria?
The temptation to control Christian Churches by the federal government through the infamous CAMA law will be the last battle for the soul of the Nigerian State. What could be the state of Nigeria in a situation whereby an Islamic controlled federal government will be the one appointing Board of Trustees and Directors for Christian Churches, NGOs and Civil Society Organisations, could only be imagined than witnessed.
Thus, the solution to what is unfolding now with the new CAMA law is not solved by asking those aggrieved to go and lobby the National Assembly or to take their case to Court. The fact is that Nigeria as it is today is a failed a very precarious situation, and there is dictatorship on board. The best way to avert the looming calamity is to withdraw the CAMA law in its entirety. The country needs to settle first, the fundamental issue of statehood and security before any other thing can take root in the land!
Many people are today feeling heavily suffocated by the way those in government have messed-up the whole country. You can imagine what will happen when Churches wake-up tomorrow and begin to vent their anger on the regime.
As the Igbo say, “Onye akpala nwa agu aka n’odudu, ma odi ndu ma onwuru anwu.” (Never touch the tail of a lion (toddler), whether it is alive or dead.)
By Fr. Francis Anekwe Oborji, a Roman Catholic Priest, is Professor Ordinarius of contextual theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome.
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