The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has dragged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to a Federal High Court in Abuja over the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020.
In a statement issued on Sunday, SERAP said it asked the court to stop Buhari from using draconian provisions of CAMA 2020 to target activists; arbitrarily merge private associations, religious associations, charities, NGOs/ professional bodies under Part F and remove their trustees.
“These unlawful provisions will allow the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to take over the funds of any such association and give such funds to another association on the pretext that the account is dormant,” the group said.
The defendants in the suit filed on Friday with number FHC/ABJ/CS/172/2021 are the Attorney General and the Corporate Affairs Commission.
SERAP said it is seeking “an order stopping President Buhari, Mr Malami and the CAC from implementing the provisions of CAMA 2020 which allow @NigeriaGov to arbitrarily cancel the certificate of registration of any association.
“These provisions may be used as a pretext for rights violations.”
The suit read in part, “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. Anyone is free to associate with or dissociate from whosoever.
“The Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights guarantee to everyone the right to freedom of association. The Constitution and the Charter also guarantee the right to property.”
SERAP had in August 2020 written a letter to the President requesting him to revoke his assent to CAMA 2020 and return it to the National Assembly for a repeal of the repressive provisions.