Following controversy generated by the resignation of RCCG leader, Pastor Enock Adebayo, the house of representatives has ordered a “detailed” public hearing on the activities of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, especially the Council’s decision to fix the tenure of the leadership of religious organizations.
In a resolution on Wednesday in Abuja at a session which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, the house gave the order.
The order followed the debate and endorsement of a motion by members, moved by the Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Leo Ogor.
During the debate, it was clarified by lawmakers that no agency of the Federal Government was empowered by any law passed by the National Assembly to determine how many years a religious leader should serve in office.
They noted that the FRC Act 2011 did not make provision for the tenure of office of religious bodies or non-profit organizations.
Ogor in his submission said he was amazed where the FRC got its powers noting that while the agency might have delegated legislative powers, being a product of the National Assembly, any legislation or code it formulated should have been mandatorily approved by the same National Assembly before it could be applied.
Ogor said the National Assembly had no knowledge of the controversial Good Governance Code formulated by the FRC for non-profit organizations.
“The House is concerned that the Governance Code, formulated by the Council, as it relates to heads of non-profit making organizations, is a clear usurpation of the powers of the National Assembly as stipulated in Section 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999” the motion said.
It continued, “Also concerned that the National Assembly has not, in any way, approved the corporate governance code as it did with the Building Code.
“The House is convinced that codes of corporate governance must be in conformity with international best practices.
“Worried that an overzealous chief executive officer of a regulatory body can misinterpret or misapply the provisions of the code as can be clearly seen in the case of the FRC.”
“No law, enacted by the National Assembly, empowers any agency to set the tenure of office for heads of non-profit organizations,” he added.
Chairman, House Committee on Ethics/Privileges, Mr. Nicholas Ossai, took the same position as Ogor.
He told the House that though the FRC was empowered to function, the issue of fixing how long a religious leader should be in office was off its bounds.
He said, “This is because we are talking about the things of God here.
“The tenure of religious leaders is determined by God, not man.
“Besides, delegated legislation like the FRC code should have been forwarded to the National Assembly for approval.
“The code in question was never forwarded to the National Assembly.”
Former Deputy Minority Whip, Mr. Garba Mohammed-Dhatti on his part, called for rigorous monitoring of the activities of agencies to prevent them from abusing their delegated powers.
“Overzealous heads of agencies can abuse delegated powers.
“They have to be properly monitored to save us from embarrassment,” he stated.
The controversial FRC code, among others, sets 20-year tenure for heads of religious groups and civil rights organizations.
Such leaders are required to hand over the affairs of the organizations they head to successors in line with the corporate governance principles.
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, had resigned as the head of the church in Nigeria on Saturday, reportedly in compliance with the code.
He named Pastor Joseph Obayemi as the overseer of the church in Nigeria and took on the new title of General Overseer, RCCG, worldwide.
The development was greeted with insinuations that the Federal Government was attempting to meddle in the affairs of religious bodies, using the FRC.
President Muhammadu Buhari reacted on Monday by sacking the Executive Secretary of the FRC, Mr. Jim Obazee.
The President had, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, approved the sacking and the replacement of Obazee.
The statement also constituted a board for the Council with Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman as chairman and Mr. Daniel Asapokhai as Obazee’s replacement.
The Obazee (FRC) leadership was alleged to have disregarded an October 17, 2016 directive by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, asking for the suspension of the code.