THE SYNAGOGUE, CHURCH OF ALL NATIONS IN A BATTLE OF ALL NATIONS: WHY CARE MUST BE TAKEN

Since the death of Prophet T. B. Joshua on 5 June 2021, his Church, The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (“The SCOAN” or “The Church”), appears to have been in some management turbulence.

The Church is typically a worship arena for all nations as it welcomes worshippers and visitors from all around the world.

From the information available on the Church’s website, it was stated that the physical structure of The SCOAN has gone through different stages and that before moving to its present location – an architectural masterpiece located at Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos – “The SCOAN has had three previous locations. The roof of the first church was blown off by a storm, the second church was washed away by a flood while the third church also collapsed due to severe weather conditions.”

It appears that following the eternal departure of its Founder, the “fourth” and the entire Church is now at the risk of being overhauled through the instrumentality of the law and the agencies of the Government.

From the reports, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Church, Joseph David, has raised the alarm over alleged threats to his life and those of other elders of the Church. He alleged that the Family of the Late Prophet is using law enforcement agents, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to go against them and that they’ve got no other choice but to go into hiding. He also explained that the Family of the Late Prophet are eager to send packing, all the foreigners working in the Church.

It appears The Synagogue, Church of All Nations is in a battle of all nations.

Allegations and counter-allegations

This development is coming from the background of the present leadership tussle in the Church. While Mr. David claims that the Late Prophet never intended that his wife, Evelyn Joshua, should be part of the administration of the Church, as this accounts for the reason she wasn’t a member of the Board of Trustees before the death of T. B. Joshua.

The hiding Minister, Mr. David, claimed that after T. B. Joshua’s death, the church had two trustees left – The Late Prophet’s daughter, Promise Joshua, and himself (Mr. David). He noted that he kicked against making the wife of the Late Prophet or his first daughter a trustee (to fill in the gap left by the demise of the Prophet) in order to ensure balance of power.

Well, Evelyn Joshua became not only a trustee but was eventually announced as the new Leader of the SCOAN. According to T. B. Joshua’s daughter, Promise Joshua, due process was followed in line the Constitution of the Church.

From the reports, Promise made a remarkable point in that indeed, a clear conscience fears no accusations. Thus, anyone who have been invited by EFCC should be eager to honour the invitation and clear himself or herself of all allegations relating to misappropriation of funds.

What the SCOAN must note

While the tussle is on, The SCOAN must be reminded of some relevant provisions in the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (“CAMA 2020”) which came into force on 7 August 2020. These are provisions touching on suspension of trustees and appointment of interim managers.

One of the new introductions into the CAMA is the provisions seeking to regulate the activities of religious bodies and other associations. Section 839 provides that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) may by order (of court), suspend the trustees of an association or a religious body and appoint an interim manager(s) to coordinate its affairs where it reasonably believes that there has been any misconduct or mismanagement, or to secure the property of the association or religious body (or the application of the property to the objects of the association or religious body), or where the affairs of the association or religious body are being run fraudulently or where it is necessary or desirable for the purpose of public interest.

The provisions of Section 839 are robust in that the Section provides for the procedure for the possible suspension and appointment of interim managers. The court, the Commission and members of the association and religious bodies are all involved as stakeholders.

Clearly, the statutory provisions touch on other associations aside religious bodies. The extention to religious bodies including the churches has caused some tension and I had previously analyzed some of the reasons for the alarm here.

Conclusion

It is in the interest of The SCOAN and other religious bodies to remain on the path of righteousness and manage their affairs properly like a people who have the fear of God. Otherwise, they risk the possibility of unwanted persons being made to take charge of the Church.

Where the Shepherd is gone, the sheep often go astray, but the Chief Shepherd always cares for his flock.



Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has worked with a number of startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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