THE Federal Government of Nigeria has assured religious bodies that the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA) does not target churches, mosques and other religious bodies, as had been wrongly portrayed.
During an interaction with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), on Tuesday in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang expressed displeasure that some politicians, had wrongly characterised the Act as an anti-religious law.
The interaction offered him a chance to further enlighten the Christian body over the intents and contentious provisions of the CAMA.
Enang said the misconceptions that had trailed the Act had found their way in through deliberate misinformation, explaining also that some had intended to blackmail President Muhmmadu Buhari with it.
According to him the President was not the sponsor of the amendment and had at previous occasions withheld assent when he was not convinced it was good enough for Nigeria.
Enang 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 provision of the Act.
“First, as it the was, the bill was not an executive bill transmitted by President Buhari to the legislature.
“It was initiated by a senator and member of the House of Representatives, at the behest of the Corporate Affairs Commission and support of the Ministry of Trade and Investment.
”It was therefore not an executive bill, but upon passage was transmitted to Mr President for assent.
”Secondly, upon receipt of same for assent, Mr President in accordance with extant best practice escalated the measure to appropriate ministries, departments and agencies.
“They made different input some of which led to Mr President declining assent twice to the bill in the entire tenure or life of the 8th Assembly.
”Thirdly, as the 9th Assembly was inaugurated, the bill was again re-introduced by senators and Honourable members and all the observations made on the 8th Assembly bill incorporated and addressed.
”Without any amendment or insertion and in whole passed by the two chambers and being without differences was transmitted to Mr President for assent.
“It is pertinent to state that prior to this Act, Incorporated Trustees or Law of Trust was regulated by the Companies and Allied Matter Act, 1990, now repealed by the 2020 CAMA.
”This shows that trusteeship as now complained of was regulated by an Act, which has been in existence for 30 years.
“We want to declare as a fact, that the Act does not target churches or religious bodies as wrongly assumed.
”The 2020 Act assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari has not introduced any matter oppressive to the Christian Community or any religion nor any matter discriminatory against any class of persons in Nigeria.”
At the end of the interaction, CAN urged Buhari to suspend the implementation of CAMA 2020.
CAN said Buhari should follow it up by affirming a thorough reappraisal of the legislation that is in correlation with the provision of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
President of CAN, Rev. Samson Ayokunle said the reactions from public office holders had not helped matters.