In spite of the public outcry and controversies that followed the implementation of a controversial code by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) that forced the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Enoch Adeboye, to hand over the church’s leadership in Nigeria to Joshua Obayemi, some Nigerians still believe the financial books of churches and mosques should still be vetted by either the government or an internal mechanism devised by the religious organisations.
Majority of respondents to a poll carried by the Guardian on its website say not-for-profits organisations, such as mosques and churches, should open their books to either the government or their members, ostensibly to aid accountability.
Out of a total of 302 respondents, 43% say the government should have the right to regulate the financial activities of religious organisations while 39% feel only members of the organisations should have such right.
Their views tally with those of religious leaders who spoke to The Guardian’s Chris Irekamba on the Federal Government’s perceived interference in the affairs of the church.
“Government wanting to regulate the affairs of the church can only be interpreted to mean that government wants to take the position of the head of the church, and then dictate to God, which is impossible,” says Elder Israel Akinadewo, Prelate/Supreme Head, Motailatu Church, Cherubim and Seraphim Worldwide.
Though he accepted that some churches have gone beyond their ‘spiritual mandate’, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie says “this does not call for government taking over the affairs of the church, or usurping God’s position.”
The Guardian poll is conducted every week on a variety of topics including but not limited to sports, economy, politics, agriculture and social issues.