The Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) says it will file a fresh suit against the Nigerian Government to prevent the implementation of certain provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020.
The Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2020.
Also, the leadership of CAN has called for mass prayers as they take the government up in a new legal battle.
CAN had filed the suit following its last year’s rejection of the CAMA 2020, especially as it applies to the regulatory roles the law gave the registrar of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and a supervising minister over churches.
The judge, Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, dismissed the suit over the failure of the plaintiff to comply with the law in the name used in filing the originating summons.
“Therefore, this application lacks merit and ought to be dismissed and I hereby make an order dismissing same,” he ruled.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the incorporated trustees of the CAN is the plaintiff in the suit, the CAC and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment are the 1st and 2nd defendants, respectively.
The plaintiff, in an originating summons, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/244/2021, had prayed 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 Nigerian constitution which guarantees the plaintiff’s right to freedom of association and the right to seek redress in court”.
It also urged the court to determine whether the provisions of Section 854 of the CAMA are inconsistent with section 39 of the Nigerian constitution which guarantees the right to freedom of expression.
However, during the proceedings, CAN brought an application, praying for an order to amend the originating summons and accompanying processes by replacing the word, “INCORPORATED” with “REGISTERED” in the name of the plaintiff in the suit such that it would read, “The Registered Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria.”
The application was filed on the grounds that the name expressed in its certificate of incorporation is the “Registered Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria” and not “Incorporated Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria.”
Justice Inyang Ekwo stated that suing in the wrong name contrary to a 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. Consequently, the suit was struck out.
But on Sunday, CAN’s General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, said the organisation would not like to join issues with the Court by going on appeal, because “it would further delay the case.”
Accordingly, he said the religious body has decided to take the 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,” Daramola stated.
Amongst other reliefs, CAN would be asking 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.”
It would also be seeking: “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.”