•Insists govt has enough problems to deal with
•Urges National Assembly to revisit CAMA
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, Saturday, condemned the recent signing into law of the bill amending the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2004 by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying a government as corrupt as the Buhari administration cannot regulate church activities. Secondus said the government had more problems on its hands to deal with than interfering in church activities.
Secondus, who spoke in an interview with THISDAY, called on the National Assembly to review the CAMA Act, 2020 as quickly as possible to end the controversies it had generated.
The bill, which was signed into law by Buhari on August 7, is expected to engender corporate innovations geared towards enhancing the ease of doing business in the country.
Section 839 (1) &(2) of the new law provides that the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and a supervising minister will strictly regulate religious bodies and non-governmental organisations. It gives the Registrar-General of CAC power to suspend the trustees of not-for-profit organisations and appoint interim managers to coordinate their affairs, where he reasonably believes there has been misconduct or mismanagement, or where the affairs of the associations are being run fraudulently or where it is necessary or desirable for the public interest.
However, Secondus stated, “We note the curious rush to pass and sign this controversial law by the National Assembly and the president and wonder why such speed cannot be seen in critical laws like the amendment and quick signing of the Electoral Act.
“I find this needless, especially at this time, when a government that is confronted with myriads of problems and with loopholes in every government department they cannot block wants to look into the finances of religious places as their priority.
“Has any church or mosque complained about financial misappropriation? And even if they did, these religious houses have internal mechanisms of resolving their problems, including changing their leaders. It is not for a government that is engrossed in corruption to do it for them.”
The PDP national chairman called on the federal government to reverse the CAMA law. He said, “As a Nigerian, I will add a few words on the raging debate on the newly signed controversial law, the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
“The new law permits the Registrar-General of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the supervising minister to strictly supervise and scrutinise the financial operations of non-governmental organisations, including religious places, as well as change their trustees. The government and the National Assembly should revisit this law, because the nation’s numerous challenges need the good will of the people, especially, the praying houses.”
Speaking on the South-west Security Network, otherwise known as Amotekun, Secondus hoped it would not be used to harass and intimidate voters during the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State. He said, “Intelligence available to us shows that the outgoing APC government in Ondo State, in its panic, has hurriedly gone ahead to launch the local security outfit, Amotekun, with the aim of deploying them to intimidate and harass opponents.
“We want to warn that state security outfits are at experimental stages and any abuse will mean their. The people of the South-west desired Amotekun to secure them. Anything otherwise would be undermining the will of the people.”
Secondus called on the federal government to remain neutral in the October 10 governorship election, explaining, “This government can do this by ensuring that they respect the Constitution and the Electoral Act as well as the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nigeria that says security operatives, particularly, the military should not meddle in election matters outside providing adequate and equal security to all the parties within the requirements of the law.”
In the coming elections in Edo and Ondo states, however, Secondus said he expected that the military, police and other security agencies that are supposed to be at election venues would be made to operate within the dictates of the law. He urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to resist intimidation, but strive to always carry out its duties as set out by the law.