By Luminous Jannamike
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, have called on the National Assembly not to sweep under the carpet every concern citizens have raised on the new Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA, 2020).
The two clerics, who jointly chair the Nigerian Interreligious Council (NIREC), made the call as founders of several religious bodies continued their rejection of the new law.
The fear expressed in many quarters is that the federal government enacted CAMA 2020 to pave the way for it to take over the administration of their organizations.
However, a statement which NIREC’s Executive Secretary, Fr. Prof. Cornelius Omonokhua, issued on Monday, quoted the Sultan of Sokoto and the CAN President as insisting that the new law remained liable to change.
So, they said: “We have noted with concern the controversy that is brewing after the National Assembly passed the Companies and Allied Matter Act, 2020 (CAMA) and it was subsequently assented to by the President.
“We are aware that laws are amended, reviewed or reformed periodically to address socio-economic changes in the society.
“It is, therefore, not surprising that the National Assembly decided to pass the CAMA 2020. This is more imperative in view of the need for our country to improve its ranking in ease of doing business and fight against corruption.
“We also note with admiration that from time to time, the National Assembly, in the course of its law-making process, invites stakeholders to participate in public hearings before a Bill is passed.
“This good practice of engagement with stakeholders before passing any law must continue as the citizens will be happier with a law that contains their input.
“We call on the National Assembly to therefore listen objectively to the reactions of the citizens on CAMA in the spirit of democracy while the citizens should be law-abiding in the spirit of patriotism.
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“All citizens should be aware that even after following due legislative process in making any law (including CAMA 2020), it does not become sacrosanct. Citizens with genuine observations are free to express them.”
Meanwhile, the foremost religious leaders advised all well-meaning individuals and groups to be patient on the controversy, stressing that the issue has both constitutional and democratic solutions.
“One of the beauties of democracy is that citizens have their representatives in the legislature. Apart from the representatives, sponsorship of private Bills is allowed.
“We advise all well-meaning individuals or groups with genuine complaints to approach the court or the National Assembly to avoid generating unnecessary bad blood and acrimony.
“All those aggrieved by the passage of the CAMA 2020 should therefore resort to the legislative process by proposing either an amendment or repeal of the CAMA 2020. It will then be left for the National Assembly to consider such Bills in their own merit.”