CAMA 2020: SERAP Asks Court To Restrain Buhari From Targeting Activists
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to restrain President Muhammadu Buhari from using the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 to target activists.
SERAP in a statement issued on Sunday by its SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, wants the court to bar Buhari “from implementing draconian and unlawful provisions of the CAMA 2020 which allows the Federal Government to arbitrarily merge a new association with an already registered association; to suspend and remove trustees of any association, and to take over funds belonging to any association, and transfer such funds to another association on the pretext that the account is dormant.”
The organisation also joined the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as defendants in the suit.
According to the statement, the suit with file number FHC/ABJ/CS/172/2021 was filed last Friday in the nation’s capital.
SERAP is seeking “an order stopping President Buhari, Mr Malami and the CAC from implementing the unconstitutional provisions of CAMA 2020 which allow the Federal Government to arbitrarily and unilaterally cancel or revoke the certificate of registration of any association on flimsy grounds. These provisions may be used as a pretext for rights violations.”
The suit followed SERAP’s letter to Buhari in August 2020 requesting him to “revoke his assent to CAMA 2020 and return it to the National Assembly for the repeal of the repressive provisions, particularly sections 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 contained in Part F of the Act, and any other similar provisions.”
“In Nigeria, everyone has a right to their property, and this right cannot be arbitrarily taken away. A recognized and acceptable canon of interpretation is that statutes such as CAMA 2020 which purport to deprive citizens of their proprietary interest and acquired rights are always interpreted strictly.”
“Section 850(3) of CAMA 2020 which provides for notice of hearing of the petition to be given to the association is of no consequence, as the subject matter of the suit for dissolution would have been dealt with by the act of the Corporate Affairs Commission alone without recourse to due process of law.”