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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court, Abuja, to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from implementing “draconian and unlawful provisions” of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020.

The Act allows the Federal Government to arbitrarily merge a new association with an already registered association; suspend and remove trustees of any association or take over funds belonging to any association.

Joined in the suit as defendants are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/172/2021 filed last Friday, SERAP is seeking an order stopping the trio from implementing the CAMA Act of 2020.

The organization recalled its letter to Buhari in August 2020, which requested him to revoke his assent and return it to the National Assembly for a repeal of sections 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 contained in Part F.

The suit filed by SERAP lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi argued that everyone has the right to freely associate and that no one can be imposed on the other.

The suit insists the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights guarantees the right to freedom of association.

It warned that allowing the defendants to arbitrarily merge two or more private associations, religious associations, charities, NGOs or professional bodies, would blatantly violate their fundamental human rights.

“Section 842(2)(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 accounts and use their funds the way they choose to subject to already existing banking regulations and practices”, it read.

SERAP is also seeking an order of injunction restraining the CAC and others from implementing sections 831, 839, 842, and 850 pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

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