By Bolaji Ogundele and Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
The Federal Government has assured provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA) were not targeted at churches, mosques and other religious bodies.
It said insinuations being read to the law were wrong and mischievous.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, gave the assurances on Tuesday during an interaction with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Abuja.
The meeting, which was organised for enlightenment of the Christian body over the contentious provisions of the CAMA, also saw the Presidential aide swearing to an oath to assure the church he had come to them with the whole truth about the new law.
He lamented some politicians, especially those from the opposition, had wrongly characterised the intents and purposes of the Act, giving it an anti-religious law.
He said the misconceptions that trailed the Act had found their way in through deliberate misinformation, explaining they were spinned to blackmail President Muhmmadu Buhari.
The President, he said, didn’t originate the law and at previous occasions withheld accent when he was not convinced it was good enough for Nigeria.
According to him: “We want to declare as a fact, that the Act does not target churches or religious bodies as wrongly assumed.
“For illustration of this I present a tabular form of the provisions of the 1990 ACT which came into force on January, 2nd 1990, which after more than 30 years of operation has now been repealed and replaced by CAMA 2020 hereunder are the comparative provisions in the two enactments to show particularly that the 2020 ACT assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari has not introduced any matter oppressive to the Christian Community or any religion nor any matter discriminatory against any class of persons in Nigeria.”
CAN, in its reaction, urged Buhari to suspend the implementation of Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020.
CAN said Buhari should follow it up by affirming a thorough reappraisal of the legislation in correlation with the provision of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
President of CAN, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, who expressed displeasure over the CAMA 2020, said the reactions from public officeholders have not helped matters because they are binary in perspective and pander towards a fait accompli.
His words: “We are mindful that comments in public domain are beginning to indicate that CAMA, 2020 has the potential that can further undermine the faith of stakeholders in the Nigerian-state.
“The dominant schools of thought in the public domain, hold the view that should stakeholders of the Nigerian-state seek judicial intervention or amendment of the Act by the National Assembly, they shall achieve nothing much, as they consider such, as exercises in futility.
“We must allay their fears and encourage them to exercise their democratic rights in our participatory democracy; hoping that when citizens approach these state institutions, they shall rise up to the challenge.
“Mr. President, from the foregoing, we are of the opinion that you should kindly issue the appropriate directives to suspend the implementation of CAMA 2020 and affirm a thorough reappraisal of the legislation that is 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 Nigerian-state.”