CAN Asks FG To Suspend CAMA. Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), calls on Federal government to issue directives to suspend implementation of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020.
Rev. Samson Ayokunle, CAN President, made the call at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
Recall that the National Assembly passed the CAMA bill earlier this year and the president signed it into law on August 7
Ayokunle in a statement said that the Act is capable of further undermining the faith of stakeholders in the Nigerian state.
Detailed statement about CAMA 2020 Acts
”We consider the Act a complex of statecraft compendium, laden with issues inimical to peace and stability and overall wellbeing of the country.
”From the reactions of stakeholders and a cross-section of the people it is apparent the Act either did not receive input from various interest groups or failed to accommodate their views.
”We must allay stakeholders’ fears and encourage them to exercise their democratic rights, hoping that when citizens approach the state institutions they shall rise up to the challenge”.
‘The CAN president urged Buhari to issue the appropriate directives to suspend the implementation of the Act based on stakeholders’ opinions and affirm a thorough reappraisal of the legislation.
“The directive should be in correlation with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), other extant legal and policy frameworks, the national economy, national security, national interest and the wellbeing of the people.”(NAN)
Muhammadu Buhari can’t be responsible for CAMA 2020
Critics view CAMA 2020 within the framework of recent pronouncements or actions of government officials and supporters of Muhammadu Buhari seen as generally anti-democratic or detrimental to free speech in particular.
Examining the highly controversial hate speech bill promoted by two senators from Niger State, the interrogation was between;
- Obadiah Mailafia, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Ghali Umar Na’Abba, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- And the imposition of a N5 million fine on Info FM Abuja for the supposedly unsubstantiated utterances of Mailafia concerning sponsors of Boko Haram made on the radio station.
- These events, among others, have been catalytic in the manner many have chosen to understand the enactment of CAMA 2020.
Ikra Bilbis, the chair of the Board of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, openly accused Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, for being solely responsible for the review of the section of the NBC code under which Info FM was sanctioned.
If proven to be true, nothing could be more authoritarian. This accusations make things more complicated.
Reactions of Critics for CAMA 2020
It is against the backdrop of these prior moves by Abuja that critics of CAMA 2020 readily reject and hold Buhari personally responsible for it, pointing to Decree 4 of 1984, among other antecedent infractions, to back their claim of Buhari’s anti-democratic tendencies.
This is a knee-jerk response that ignores the facts on the ground.
First, CAMA is an Act of the National Assembly that passed through the different legislative stages demanded by law.
It went through first, second and third readings before being presented for public hearing and then back to the committees of the National Assembly on to formal presentation to the president, who only appended his signature to it.
Could this then be Buhari’s crime or is there more to the matter?
There is no evidence that the executive arm played a role or sponsored any individual or group at any time during the processing of the bill that resulted in the Act not to mention the president making any personal input.
Buhari’s Innocency on CAMA
As far as the processing of CAMA 2020 is concerned, Buhari’s hands are clean.
He only did what the law permitted by signing the bill, making it a legislative act and thus giving it the effect of a law.
Any legitimate criticism of Buhari in the enactment of this Act must demonstrate how he parleyed his position as president in any form that is detrimental to democratic practice.
To hold the president personally responsible for the law does not begin to add up not to say make sense.
It shows up Buhari’s critics as lazy thinkers blinded by hate, for whom any action of the president is grist for criticism.
The effect of this is that it makes any reasonable or fair-minded individual wary of many critics of the president who, it would appear, cannot see anything good in his action.
It hurts legitimate criticism of the president that is read by partisans of his government as just another sour grape attack of a man whose guts some simply cannot stand for whatever reason.
The effect and Questioning of CAMA Acts
What is so far clear from the debate on CAMA is that certain individuals failed to play their part in the process that led to the enactment of the Act.
There is no part of Nigeria that does not have legislative representatives.
If some Christians would now see CAMA as tailor-made to hurt their interests, where were their representatives when the bill went through the various legislative stages?
Were they asleep as some legislators are wont to during legislative sessions?
Or were these legislative representatives the perpetual absentees that spend their time in Abuja doing everything but law making?
CAMA 2020 is to regulate the activities of NGOs and other registered institutions in the country.
No doubt aspects of its provisions could be misapplied like many things Nigerian but the overall framing of the law is to ensure transparency and integrity in the management of organisations in the interest of all.
It is basically an amended Act, not an entirely new law, and regulations similar to it like the CBN code limiting the tenure of bank executives have proven very beneficial in curbing unwholesome practices in the financial sector.
While religious organisations in Nigeria are not necessarily subject to the same rules as profit-making organisations, to the extent that certain aspects of their activities are profit-oriented, they should be willing to fulfill the demands of the law.
Rejecting CAMA in its entirety or representing it as an attempt to regulate a particular religion makes its critics look like people with things to hide.
This may well be the case given the unconscionable bureaucratisation and merchandisation of the church by some business people in clerical disguise.
It is such one-man business ventures misnamed religious organisations or others managed in a similar manner that has so much to worry about CAMA. Otherwise, several other religious organisations are in fact first-class exemplars of profit-making ventures and should be models for state-run institutions in terms of their sense of purpose, efficiency, and general business acumen.