The Association of Christian Theologians (ACTS), a theological regulatory body in Nigeria, has condemned the plan by the federal government to regulate Christian education in Nigeria, describing it as unconstitutional.
President of the group, Prof. Kunle Macaulay, who made the declaration at a media briefing in Lagos, also said that the theologians are against the bill for the creation of a National Centre for Christian Education (NCCE) currently before the National Assembly (NASS).
Macaulay, who is a kinsman of foremost nationalist Herbert Macaulay, asserted that the bill for the creation of NCCE has passed second reading at NASS.
His words: “It is a pity that the subject of accreditation of Christian and theological education by the secular government of Nigeria and its agents has again become the focus of our attention and discussion. Information reaching us confirmed that the bill has passed through its second reading.
“Without considering the secularity of the nation, the experience of the church in the hands of some religious extremists and the threats of some agents of the secular government to Bible Colleges, their founders and proprietors, these people are demanding interference of secular government in Christian faith.”
“The bill demands that the President of a secular nation should establish a council that will regulate religious knowledge, Christian teachers, theological education and profession. Moreover, this should be funded by the secular government under the Ministry of Education that has no statutory authority to control theological education. The law of Nigeria states clearly the freedom of religion and forbids interference of any government (State or Federal) in any faith. Politicians should stay away from discussing and making laws that will control, assess and certify church work and workers and concentrate on social and economic affairs of the nation.
“Bible College products are church and Christian workers. We theologians respect the Act that established the National Universities Commission (NUC) but wish to state that the Act does not give power to any agent of the secular government to control church (Christian) education and profession which Bible colleges and universities limit themselves and avoid any secular academic disciplines.
“Christians in Nigeria, with respect to the secularity of Nigeria as a nation, demand that the government and their agents should stay away completely from religious matters, especially the plan to regulate church work and accredit Bible and theological institutions.”