The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has alleged that the new Corporate and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari is ploy to hijack religious bodies.
CUPP spokesman, Ugochinyere Ikenga, who spoke at a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday, described the new legislation as an assault on the freedom of worship.
Ikenga noted that while the opposition agreed that some religious organisations may not have lived up to expectations, the clauses in the Act, which affects religious group could be politicised by government.
Consequently, the CUPP spokesman said the coalition through one of its members, the Action Peoples Party (APP) has filed a suit before an Abuja High Court to challenge the legality of the new law.
“This new law and how the mysterious sections which attack the very sacred foundations of God-given right to freedom of worship, association and speech alongside the right of believers to have their spiritual leaders and their doctrine sacredly pursued is a shock to the opposition family. We agree that there is need for regulation of activities of religious groups, but that can be done by enacting laws for religious self regulatory bodies like professional bodies self-regulate and not a direct take over and subjugation of the Christian and Muslim bodies and their outfits under the control of government and a political party member. The new CAMA should have expressly exempted religious bodies and immune them from the control of a minister of trade and CAC which can be easily influenced politically.”
Ikenga explained that in the suit, the opposition wants the court to determine, among other issues, “whether by the combined effect of Sections 1 (1) and (2), 6(6)(a) and (b) as well as Sections 38, 39 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999; the provisions of Section 839 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 can constitutionally and validly operate to suspend or appoint interim manager(s) and/or impose any other restrictions upon, over or in respect of the incorporated trustees, assets, property or affairs of any association registered thereunder, such rights having been guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.”
Meanwhile, a group known as the Benue Youth Forum (BYF) has advised the National Assembly to reject the Water Resources Bill to save its name from descent into disrepute.
The group, in a statement in Makurdi, insisted that RUGA, cattle colonies, grazing reserves and Water Resources Bill were fingers of the same evil hand that wants to deny the people of Middle Belt, particularly those within the Benue Valley of their ancestral lands and turn same for the creation of a “Cow Republic.”
The statement signed by its president, Kuanum Terrence, said there were indications that the bill, if passed by the National Assembly, will be greeted by spontaneous negative reactions from across the country.
“Nigerians have vowed never to surrender their lands for RUGA in whatever veil it is introduced. We advise that the Buhari administration should allow the people to have their way. We expect the National Assembly to throw out the Water Resources bill when it resumes sitting, in the interest of majority of Nigerians.
“We expect Senators and House of Representatives members who have good conscience to stage a walk-out from any sitting that favours passage of the Water Resources bill. They owe generations of Nigerians including those yet unborn this singular duty.”
Terrence said it was on record that Governor Samuel Ortom had raised a patriotic objection to the reintroduction of the National Water Resources Bill to the ninth National Assembly on the grounds that it contravened the constitution and also subverted provisions of the Land Use Act. He, therefore, wondered why a group known as Middle Belt Conscience Group (MBCG) would rise to challenge the governor for speaking against the National Water Resources Bill.
“The National Water Resources Bill is a well orchestrated plot to turn Nigerians to slaves in their own country,” he insisted.