Coalition demands review of CAMA, urges classification of NGOs

 
Thu Sep 17th, 2020 - Lagos
 

A coalition of over 32 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has urged the Federal Government to urgently review the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 and expunge areas that will impede development and people’s rights.

At a stakeholders’ parley in Lagos, yesterday, the Action Group for Free Civic Space said the over three decades CAMA was due for amendment, but urged the authorities to classify NGOs, not to lump the big and small together.

It stated: “Government should do a proper clarification of NGOs because their structures and modus operandi are not the same.”It said that most organisations, including churches, were not compliant with the existing laws.

Also, the Executive Director, Spaces for Change (S4C), Mrs. Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, noted that the new law came with positive and negative sides.

According to her, the positive side will checkmate ‘big men’ who use proxies to launder money, while the negative side includes the domain where government would hide under “public interest” to take individual’s property without compensation.

She listed other negative sides of the new law to include its punitive nature, the excessive focus on property, the role duplication and the onerous nature that burdens NGOs with more paperwork to the detriment of set objectives.

The participants at the meeting, aside from condemning some sections of the new law that they deemed counter-productive and anti-people, said that the Federal Government was “gasping for straw” due to the effect of the COVID-19 and other factors that drew the economy back.

However, the groups said they were considering legal action and mass protests to register their disapproval of the Act. The protests, they noted, would be juxtaposed with an alternative reform of the old CAMA.

Groups in the coalition include S4C, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Cultural Communication and Legal Resource Centre (CCLRC), Centre for Advancement of Development Rights (CEADER), Child Health Organisation (CHO), Corporate Accountability and Public Participation, NOPRIN Foundation and Network of Probono Lawyers.

 
 

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source: Guardian