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Is CAMA the Anti-Christ?

CAMA is a very confusing buzzword. It rhymes with karma; the concept of cause and effect sometimes leading to retribution. In Hausa kama colloquially translates…

CAMA is a very confusing buzzword. It rhymes with karma; the concept of cause and effect sometimes leading to retribution. In Hausa kama colloquially translates to ‘arrest’. However, CAMA is an acronym for the Companies and Allied Matters Act, a law that regulates how businesses operate in our country.

Lately, an amended version of this law was passed by the National Assembly and sent to the president for assent. The president has signed the bill into law.

Part of its provisions is to bring the operations of charities to line with the global rules of accountability. Since religious groups are classified as charities globally, CAMA would oversee some aspects of the operations of religious organisations among others.

It is time-wasting going into details here. There is enough available open literature for review on the subject for anyone that desires a deeper knowledge. As expected, there has been a lot of brouhaha from a section of the Nigerian society, especially some religious groups who feel threatened by provisions of the amended law.

They have threatened fire and brimstone. Some have warned that they would only avail their books to a government agency on point of death. One would suggest an expansion of the prisons and correction centres for anticipated fresh inmates.

As a ‘woke’ Pentecostal, I am not surprised by the dust that this amended law has raised, nor the clever-by-half arguments of paid commentators. Pentecostals think heaven passes through their feet. They have mushroomed their business ventures in every available space including under bridges where permitted or ignored.

They preach that Jesus paid it all, but yet frighten their members if they failed to tithe. You’ll hear stuff like – if you stop tithing, your life would be tight! Gullible members fall for this fallacy and would drop the cash needed to survive.

Life is brutish in Nigeria even for those with 9 to 5 jobs. They have to cater for immediate and extended family and reserve something to ‘bribe’ their God to keep them afloat. One could imagine the lot of over 70% of citizens with no visible means of livelihood. Religious leaders are well guarded at home, at work and wherever they go but they encourage their vulnerable members to rely on the amulets and oils for safety.

When you are under the spell of these motivational speakers with the privileges of their terrestrial titles, it is hard to break loose or use your brain. The leaders arrogate to themselves the rights to slap witchcraft out of stressed little children without repercussion. They threaten to open the gates of hell for anyone who disagrees with their warped interpretation of the gospel. They prey on the gullibility and the ignorance of the sheep. Apostle Paul rightly called their bellies s their god. They are more brazen with each passing day.

A law aimed at bringing these gods-of-men to account has earned the president and his vice, who happens to be a pastor the title of the antichrist.

These new-age preachers pour venom on orthodox groups but they cannot hold a candle to the orthodox principles of accountability. Historically, orthodoxy initiated an aggressive opening of the hitherto impenetrable hinterland. They built churches, schools, orphanages and maternities and campaigned against senseless and unreasonable dogmas. Yours sincerely was born in one such dispensary.

Orthodox missionaries left the comfort of their countries for Africa. Yes, they could have been complicit when slavery was a norm, but they most seriously compensated for that crime with their many altruistic deeds. Many of them succumbed to malaria and other tropical diseases, but it only increased their determination.

Anyone who has ever sneaked into a village church knows that they run on the oil of accountability, justifying every dime they raised at home or locally. Sunday services were not started until the last service takings have been announced and accounted for in detail. In rustic Okeagi my hometown, the church had a notice board where even visitors had access to a church’s financial information. Members were allowed to debate how money was spent and arguments often ensued from questions and enquiries.

Today’s business centres are run by tyrants who parry questions of accountability for the hereafter. Pastorpreneurs who have elevated tithes and offerings above the salvation of souls and the physical or material need of their flock are presiding. As Max Romeo once sang, God’s house of worship has become a den of thieves, stealing in the name of the Lord.

One such business centres I frequented in Nigeria printed offering booklets like passbooks for its members. You were schooled to detach a serrated portion of the booklet and add to your offering envelopes while retaining the stub. What members do not know is that it is a cleverly designed fraud. The church keeps no record of any tithes and/or offerings.

Under armed guard, the offerings are taken to a fortified counting room where ‘ordained’ workers rummaged through the envelopes carefully prying out the cash and shredding the envelopes. No records retained!

The counting-room is the test of probity for the counters’ salvation. They are made to drop all personal effects such as wallets, they empty and pull out their pockets and sometimes are forced to turn their clothes inside out. The women must drop their bags and headgear. High impact parishes have CCTV cameras monitoring the tallies and the money is taken to the bank under guard.

This and other stealing in the name of the Lord is what CAMA is meant to checkmate. If these pastorpreneurs were half as bothered about salvation as they are about the safety of their money, Nigeria would be paradise on earth. If they invest half of the cost of their limousines, jets and houses on the indigent in their midst, poverty would be eradicated.

Instead, we have witnessed church workers robbing their employers to fund their congregation. Religion has become so lucrative that civil servants take it up as non-taxable side hustle. Pastorpreneurs pay their fulltime employees pittance and treat them worse than slaves.

Their ‘businesses’ are registered with wives and children as trustees and leadership is inherited. Arduous pastors labour to build the brand but are transferred once a lucrative parish is stable for their children to take over. CAMA will make it impossible for this spiritual theft to continue. CAMA is karma designed to kama or arrest them.

Globally, religious organisations are registered as charities. They complement government in fighting poverty, illiteracy and disease and are subject to financial scrutiny. A poverty-endemic nation like Nigeria should not be any different. In the western world, donations to charities are fully receipted and tax-deductible. Records are kept to checkmate criminality especially money laundering.

No one has ever seen God. Those who collect money on behalf of the divine must keep records and account to those who gave the donation. The prophets we follow left nothing on earth except their integrity.

Nigerian pastorpreneurs have built schools with the tithes and offerings of their members but charge fees beyond the capability or reach of the children of those members. The tokenistic ‘scholarships’ they award is less than a drop from the ocean of wealth they are hiding. Their fake altruism is incomparable to their grandiose lifestyle and now they swear they can never be poor. They simply drop crumbs and feed fat on the labour and sweat of the poor among them. Let’s pray that CAMA is here to kama them.