SERAP sues Nigeria’s president for applying ‘draconian law’ against activists

Obinwannem News SERAP sues Nigeria's president for applying 'draconian law' against activists

Popular rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has requested the Federal High Court, Abuja to “stop Nigeria’s president from implementing draconian and unlawful provisions of Companies and Allied Matters Act (Cama) 2020 against activists.

Moreover, the draconian law allows the federal government to arbitrarily merge a new association; to suspend and remove trustees of any association, and to take over funds belonging to any association , and transfer such funds to another association on the pretext that the account is dormant.

The suit was sequel to SERAP’s letter to the president in August 2020, asking him to revoke his assent on CAMA. Defendants in the suit are the attorney general of the federation and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and Corporate Affairs Commission ( CAC).

The suit was filed on Friday on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi.

SERAP is seeking an order to stop the president from applying the draconian law arguing that, “the right to freely associate with others works both ways, the others you want to associate with must be prepared to associate with you, none can be imposed on the other, the right to freedom of association also connotes the right of the others to freely associate or disassociate from whosoever”.

Further more SERAP argued that, Nigerian constitution of 1999(as amended) the international covenant on civil and political rights , and the African charter on human and people’s right guarantee to everyone the right to freedom of association, to belong to any association of their choice, by allowing the defendant to arbitrarily merge two or more private association , religious association , charities, NGOs or professional bodies CAMA 2020 balantly violates this fundamental human rights”.

According to SERAP “Section 842(a)(b)(5)(6) of CAMA 2020 violates the right of these associations and other Nigerians to property including the right to operate their bank account and use their funds the way they choose subject to already existing banking regulations and practices”.

SERAP is also seeking an order of injunction “restraining the corporate affairs commission or person acting on instructions from further implementing , applying and enforcing the offensive and lawful provisions of section 831,839,842 and 850 of CAMA 2020 , and any regulations made pursuant of these provisions pending the hearing and determination of the suit’. Nevertheless, no date has been fixed for hearing the suit.

Lolo Ijeoma Njoku reporting, Obinwannem News

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