THE Federal Government has assured religious bodies that the Companies and Allied Matters Act(CAMA) 2020 is not targeted at churches, mosques and other religious bodies.
But the Christian Association (CAN) is seeking its suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari because it has “the potential that can further undermine the faith of stakeholders in the Nigerian state.”
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang and CAN President Rev. Samson Ayokunle, spoke at a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
At the meeting organised to enlighten the Christian body on the provisions of CAMA, Enang swore to an oath to assure the church in Nigeria that he would tell the whole truth about the new law.
The Presidential aide alleged that some politicians, especially those opposition parties, had “wrongly characterised” CAMA as an anti-religious law.
He explained that the bill that birthed CAMA was initiated by a Senator and a member of the House of Representatives and not from the Executive arm of government as widely speculated. Enang added that the President had twice declined assented to the bill when it was passed by the 8th National Assembly.
He said: “Misconceptions have enveloped this Act with deliberate misinformation and falsehood by persons who may not have fully and in-fact, personally read and digested the provisions of the Act.
“First, the bill that gave birth to the Act was not an Executive bill transmitted by President Buhari to the legislature. It was initiated by two members of the National Assembly at the behest of the Corporate Affairs Commission and support of the Ministry of Trade and Investment. It was passed and transmitted to Mr. President for assent.
“Mr. President, in accordance with extant best practice escalated the measure to appropriate ministries, departments and agencies who made different inputs some of which lead to Mr. President declining assent twice to the bill in the entire tenure or life of the 8th Assembly.
“We want to declare as a fact, that the Act does not target churches or religious bodies as wrongly assumed.
“President Buhari has not introduced any matter oppressive to the Christian community or any religion or any matter discriminatory against any class of persons in Nigeria
But CAN President, Rev. Ayokunle, urged the President to suspend the implementation of the Act because it does not have the input of “ various interest groups.”
Ayokunle argued that reactions of public officeholders have not helped matters.
His words: “We sincerely appreciate the courtesy of your invitation, we are however constrained from doing so on the following grounds: We are yet to be availed with the authentic version of the voluminous Act .
“From the reactions of stakeholders and a cross-section of the Nigerian-state, it is apparent that the Act either did not receive input from the respective various interest groups or failed to accommodate their views, sundry concerns and varying interests of the Nigerian people.
“Without prejudice to our observations, such a law ought to welcome and accommodate the sundry and varying interests of the Nigerian people.
“Furthermore, 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.
“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, other extant legal and policy frameworks, the national economy, national security, national interest and the wellbeing of the Nigerian-state.”