Our case against CAMA is ongoing, CAN assures members

Christmas: A season of hope, peace and joy, By Samson ‘Supo Ayokunle
CAN president, Ayokunle

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has allayed fears of some Christians over the suit filed against the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment on the controversial Companies Allied Matters Act, CAMA, 2020.

The assurance was given in a statement by the General Secretary of CAN, Mr. Joseph Bade Daramola.

The statement reads:

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, dismissed the earlier suit over the failure of the Association (the plaintiff) to comply with the law in the name used in filing the originating summons.

The Court held that the proper name of the Plaintiff is the Registered Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria, as stated on the Plaintiff’s Certificate of Incorporation as against the Incorporated trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria; and the Court is unable to allow the replacement of the name on the originating process.

At the sitting, the court delivered the ruling on the Plaintiff’s Application for Amendment of Originating Summons.

In the ruling, Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo stated that suing in the wrong name contrary to statutory provision is statutory non-compliance and is not a mere misnomer to be corrected by the Court, as the court cannot re-write statutory provisions.

The suit was accordingly struck out.

The Court held that the proper name of the Plaintiff is The Registered Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria, as stated on the Plaintiff’s Certificate of Incorporation as against The Incorporated Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria; and the court is unable to allow the replacement of the name on the originating process.

The new Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 states clearly under section 825(a) that registration of all Associations must contain the words “INCORPORATED TRUSTEES of….”

This should have sustained our action before the court because the use of REGISTERED TRUSTEES is now being discarded.

Our amendment ought to have been allowed.

However, we will not like to join issues with the Court by going on appeal because it would further delay the case. Accordingly, we decided to choose the other option of refiling the case.

Our lawyers are currently preparing to institute a fresh suit using the proper name of the Plaintiff (CAN) as it is on the Certificate of Incorporation. This is the truth of the matter now. What happened in the court was just a temporary setback and by the grace of God, we have overcome it. Our prayers are for the unborn generations and nothing will discourage us from pursuing this case to the logical conclusion.

We want the court to determine “whether Section 839, subsections (1), (7) (a) and (10) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020, is inconsistent with Sections 4(8), 6(6)(b) and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which guarantees the plaintiff’s right to freedom of association and the right to seek redress in court.

“Whether the provision of Section 854 of the CAMA is inconsistent with Section 39 of the CFRN which guarantees the right to freedom of expression,” among others.

Part of the reliefs we are seeking include “a declaration that Section 839(1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 40 of the CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 4(8) of the CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1) and (7) (a) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 36(1) of the CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1) and (7) (a) of the CAMA has a direct effect on the judicial power of the court under Section 6(6) (b) of the CFRN, and Is therefore void.

“An order striking down Sections 839(1), (7) (a) & (10), 842(1) and (2), 843, 851 and 854 of the CAMA for being unconstitutional.

“A declaration that Section 17(2) (a) & (d) of the CAMA demand an impossible and impracticable action; thus, void.

“An Order striking down Section 17 (2) (a) & (d) of the CAMA for being impracticable and unknown to Law.”

We call on well-meaning Nigerians – Christians and non-Christians to continue praying for us, as we return to court, in our bid to ensure freedom of religion and worship to every Nigerian irrespective of their religious, political and ethnic affiliations.