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Opinion

CAMA 2020 overview – By Oludare Matthew Comr

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The Nigerian Senate in March 2020 passed the CAMA bill which was sponsored by the Senate leader Abdullahi Yahaya.

Companies And Allied Matters Act 2020 was assented to on August 7, 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari which repeals and replaces the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 (1)
(The “Repealed Act”).

Shortly after the repeal and re-enactment bill was first passed by the National Assembly.

CAMA 2020 provides a robust framework for reforming, identified onerous legal, regulatory and administrative bottlenecks which, for three decades have made doing business in Nigeria substantially difficult ( particularly for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises ( MSMEs).

MEANING OF CAMA

(Companies & Allied Matters Act.)

AIMS & OBJECTIVES

To facilitate ease of doing business in Nigeria.

The amendments were aimed at encouraging investment that will allow small businesses and startups thrive, lower costs and ease regulatory burdens. It also provides significant benefits to companies by reducing red tape and making it easier to comply with regulatory obligations.

CAMA 2020 APPLAUD
CAMA has been described by the stakeholders as Nigeria’s most significant business legislation in three decades.

CRITICISM
CAMA 2020 is also faced with backlash from religious, non- governmental and human rights organizations, who are kicking against some sections of the law particularly section 839.

THE BONE OF CONTROVERSIES
S. 839 (1)&(2) of the law, which empowers the Corporate Affairs Commission to suspend trustees of an association ( in the case of the Church).

According to the new law, “section 839 (1) empowers the commission to suspend trustees of an association and appoint interim managers to manage the affairs of the association where it reasonably believes that:
(a) There is or has been misconduct, mismanagement in the administration of the association.
(b) It is necessary or desirable for the purpose of;
i) Protecting the property of the association.
ii) Securing a proper application for the property of the association towards achieving the objects of the association, the purpose of the association of that property or of the property coming to the association.
iii) Public interest; or (c) the affairs of the association are being run fraudulently”.

Subsection 2 provides as follows:
“1. The trustees shall be suspended by an order of Court upon the petition of the Commission or members consisting of one-fifth of the association, and the petitioners shall present all reasonable evidence or such evidence as requested by the Court in respect of the petitions”.

“Subsection 3 provides for the hearing of the petition and the appointment of the interim managers by the Court with the assistance of the commission.
The interim managers are designated by the Court or the appointment of any person who cannot do as otherwise instructed without the approval of the Court”.

CAN REACTION TO S.839 OF CAMA
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in a statement on August 20th described the act as unacceptable, ungodly and reprehensible.
The association called on President Buhari to return the law to the National Assembly for amendment and stop the implementation of the law until the religious institutions are exempted from it.

RELIGIOUS COMPARATIVE REGULATORY SYSTEM BETWEEN US, UK AND NIGERIA

UNITED STATES Of AMERICA: The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has regulatory authority over utilities, with auditing standard generally accepted in United States of America and that means the Church is subjected to government provisions of governing law.

UNITED KINGDOM (UK)
The Charity Commission for England and Wales is the non-ministerial government department that regulates registered charities to ensure that the public can support charities with confidence and this organization is an official regulatory body in Church matters as categorized under charity organization.

IN NIGERIA

Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
is an official body of government with responsibilities for incorporating businesses, NGO, and religious organization which directly falls under the class of NGO in Nigeria.

MY VIEW ON CAMA 2020
First of all, let me state at this point that government registered and issued out certificate of operation through Corporate Affairs Commission to religious organization before establishment of any church in Nigeria and in so doing, government have every right to intervene in regulation of religious activities and association as the case may be in Nigeria.

I have listened to different views from various Nigeria’s preachers including Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
In my opinion, the interpretation of the said act does not in any way suggest taking over a church or controlling churches neigher is it in any logical reasoning suggesting anti-christ agenda. I think the major reason alot of people criticize this new law is simply because they have not even taking their time to go through the dictates of this CAMA as provided.

This law only provides the penalties and consequences for any religious leader found guilty by a Court of competent jurisdictions in Nigeria with misconduct, mismanagement and fraudulent activities.
If the church can build Schools, hotels, television station, hospitals, publishing house and effectively run it smoothly I don’t see how church leaders in Nigeria should be found guilty of mismanaging the church of Christ.

Salvation is the most significant reason behind establishment of churches in Nigeria so, I don’t see how church leaders will be found guilty of financial fraud in Nigeria Court if the intent for been in ministry is right with God except those with a different agenda.
These basic reasons is what section 839 of CAMA has provided to curb excesses of those in ministry simply because of money.
Such a people will like to hide under the guise of religion while perpetrating evil beyond what a group of armed robbers will be able to do you know why? Lack of supervisory role by relevant government agency in church affairs.

CONCLUSION,

“CAMA 2020” is not only necessary but overdue in the most populous blacks nation in the world sentiments apart.
This piece of legislative work is not designed against the body of Christ in Nigeria rather, it is designed for more efficiency and ease of doing business with transparency and also to curb fraudulent activities of those hiding under the guise of Church in form of NGO and others but involve in high level of corruption without public awareness.
Nigerian Christians, we are not thief’s so, I can’t understand the fear over CAMA 2020.

Church is not a property of one man, it is God’s own on earth with much labourers. So, we must always put in practice what we preached on the altar which this section 839 of CAMA 2020 is targeted at.
We must always crave after transparency and do away with anything capable of bringing shame to the body of Christ.

Nigerian Christians, this controversial section in CAMA 2020 and the purnishment as stated is not for true disciples of Jesus Christ, it is for people in shady business hiding under the guise of religion so, relax your mind my people.

Yusuf Luka, is a journalist by profession with few years of experience, I am also a graduate of Bingham University. Outside of work, I enjoy hiking with friends, Reading books, and Watching movies. Let's connect on social media.

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