The Yiaga Africa has said that it has commenced its advocacy against some controversial legislations in Nigeria with a stakeholder roundtable to review the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 in a bid to ensure further legislation.
The passage of the law and some provisions therein has generated mixed reactions among Nigerians, especially religious and civil society organisations.
The roundtable brought together stakeholders from Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), academics and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to identify gaps in the CAMA 2020 assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2020.
The Yiaga Africa’s Director of Programs, Cynthia Mbamalu, said that the CAMA 2020 was passed without due advocacy and thus it came to citizens as a surprise.
According to her, the CAMA 2020 has some provisions that she said threaten the existence of non-profit organisation under which CSOs and even media organisations exist.
She categorically made reference to some sections under part F of the Act which said is a potential threat to the existence of Non-profit organisations.
“The fact that a law is passed does not mean it cannot be amended and we believe there is always the opportunity to review our law in tandem with democratic principles, that they protect and guarantee rights and they truly ensure effective planning for the future of our democracy,” Mbamalu said.
Presenting the Yiaga Africa analysis, a consultant expert, Dr. Godwin Malasowe, recommended the unbundling of corporate law into smaller and perhaps more effective independent components.
Dr. Malasowe also urged the National Assembly to consider the unbundling of the (CAMA 2020) into smaller legislation for effective corporate management and better corporate practice in Nigeria.
The analysis also revealed noticeable poor drafting of some sections of the Act, with provisions capable of derogating from citizens’ constitutionally guaranteed rights, including how the Act affects non-state actors especially NGOs, religious and traditional institutions, which can be interpreted as unlawful and not in accordance with the provisions of 1999 Constitution as amended.
In his reaction, the Assistant Director, Registrar’s Office, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Mr. Tolulope Shonike, provided some clarity urging, citizens to take time to read through the act.
According to him, the commission would have seen that there are sufficient safeguards in the acts and that the fear that interim managers may sell properties does not arise at all.
He said, “CAMA 2020 is the largest piece of legislation in Nigeria, so it is not out of place that you will find one or two things that may be of concern. We have noted lots of these complaints. Let me state that before the bill became law, there was extensive engagement with stakeholders. This effort started in 2004 it took between that time and 2020 to become law.”