The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has gone to court to challenge the legality of the controversial Companies and Allied Matters (CAMA) Act 2020 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Among other provisions, the Act allows the FG to arbitrarily merge a new association with an already registered one; suspend or remove trustees; and take over funds belonging to any association.
Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/244/2021 is between the Incorporated Trustees of CAN and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The case was mentioned at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday.
The plaintiff counsels, led by Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), include Prof J. Amupitan (SAN), Wale Adesokan (SAN), Isaac Okpanachi, Comfort Otera Chigbue, Godswill Iyoke, Dr Cyril Obika, Geraldine Mbah, Francis Oronsaye,
The rest are Oluniyi Adediji, Charles Ndukwe, Emmanuel Ekong, Darlington Onyekwere, Madu Joe-Kyari Gadzama, Lama Joe-Kyari Gadzama, Rev Fr. Joseph Ilorah, Jerry Onbugadu Musa, Amazing Ikpala, among others.
CAN leaders present in the court were General Secretary, Joseph Bade Daramola, Elder Kunle Fagbemi, Senator Philip Gyunka, Elder Tunde Adegbesan, Rev Dr Testimony Onifade, Comfort Otera Chigbue, and Senator Jonathan Zwingina.
The apex Christian body said all attempts to convince the Federal government not to intervene or interfere with the management of the Church in Nigeria through any of its agencies failed.
In February, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to stop Buhari from implementing the “draconian and unlawful provisions” of the CAMA Act.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/172/2021, SERAP recalled its letter to Buhari in August 2020, which complained about sections 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 contained in Part F.
The organization argued that everyone has the right to freely associate and that no one can be imposed on the other.
SERAP warned that allowing the government to merge two or more private associations, religious associations, charities, NGOs or professional bodies, would blatantly violate their fundamental human rights.
“Section 842(2)(a)(b)(5)(6) of CAMA 2020 violates the right of these associations and other Nigerians to property including the right to operate their bank accounts and use their funds the way they choose to subject to already existing banking regulations and practices”, it read in part