By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah, Taarka David
The presidency has declared that the controversy surrounding the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, which President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law on August 7, 2020, can only be resolved through an amendment of the law by the National Assembly.
Since the law was assented to by Buhari, outrage had trialed it from various quarters with many Nigerians, especially clergymen of the Christian faith, warning that it portended danger for the country’s unity.
The new law vests the power to control Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) such as churches and mosques on the registra-general of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
But commenting on the matter yesterday, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo said that the solution to the concerns is evident, noting that an amendment to the CAMA Act could be sought by those expressing worries over certain sections of the law.
Osinbajo spoke at the ongoing Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference during a special conversation featuring him and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
He urged those who have concerns about the recently signed CAMA law to approach the National Assembly for possible amendment, since “we are in a democracy.”
He said: “We have a process by which this can be redressed. Whatever the proposal for amendment may be, whatever the view of the leadership of the church may be, regarding the question of how the trustees, whether they are interim trustees or not, can be put into a proposal that will be brought to the National Assembly for consideration for amendment to the law, that is the process which is entirely opened and ought to be pursued.
“We are in a democracy and there is a process by which things can be done and that process is the one where you bring forward amendments to the National Assembly and they will do whatever is considered useful in the circumstance,” he stated.
On the federal government’s reaction to the contraction of the economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related issues, Osinbajo said that the Buhari administration’s response remains robust and focused on local production using home-grown resources.
Citing the example of specific efforts of wealth and job creation using local resources, the vice president said that under the agriculture component of the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP-AGRO), five million farmers whose produce would be off-taken by government had been registered.
The vice president added that progress had also been made under the housing component of the plan known as NESP-HOUSING with 11 state governments already given land and more states expected to join with the target of building about 100,000 housing units, including two-bedroom apartments at between N1.8 – N2 million cost, and in the process, engaging young architects, builders, among others.
Speaking on the other aspects of the stimulus package, the vice president said that the federal government had, as part of the NESP, evolved a survival fund and payroll support for artisans, private school teachers and small businesses.
To effectively deal with the Southern Kaduna crisis, the Buhari administration will not sweep the major issues underlying the conflict under the carpet, Osinbajo said.
The vice president in a press statement issued by his media aide, Laolu Akande, said that these included “ensuring justice, fixing economic marginalisation and the prosecution of persons responsible for these murders – this is to ensure that the impunity doesn’t worsen.”
Speaking further on the way forward in the Southern Kaduna conflict and making reference to his personal experience, Osinbajo said: “I have been involved since 2001 through the work of the Macedonian Initiative, an NGO that focused on providing relief materials to displaced persons in Southern Kaduna and several other places especially in North Central part of Nigeria. There have been judicial commissions and all sorts, but the problem remains. So, there is the need to address the underlying issues. You can’t sweep under the carpet, justice and the cries of economic marginalisation.
“The fact is that we must prosecute persons responsible for these murders or otherwise impunity will worsen. And also support those who have lost their bread winners,” he said, adding that “the mindless and callous killings in Southern Kaduna are heartbreaking. And again we must condole with those who have lost their loved ones and those injured or who have suffered loss of property. These tragedies are unacceptable and they are avoidable.”
Highlighting what the federal government has done and is currently doing to deal with the situation, Osinbajo said that “first is the improvement of security in Southern Kaduna. Now, we have a military base there, for the first time. We also have a lot of Air Force surveillance.
“We have about 500 conventional and Mobile Policemen in Zangon-Kataf and Kaura local government areas and then the combined military team of the Army and the Navy who are also on ground 24 hours. This is basically to just take care of the volatile situation there,” he said.
Continuing, the vice president said that “the President has also had several Security Council meetings and I have attended all of those, where the issues were discussed and the possibilities of engagement have also been discussed.”
On a personal note, the vice president added that “I have also engaged with community leaders in Southern Kaduna and also I have engaged with the governor to look at what peacemaking efforts are possible.”
He expressed optimism that the issues would be resolved, noting that “some of the peacemaking efforts have been fairly successful” as recent peace efforts between the Zangon-Kataf and the Fulani communities would yield positive results.
Osinbajo said that “but there is also a lot of work going on to ensure that some of these fundamental issues are being addressed and it’s an evolving situation, but it’s something we can’t afford to ignore and it’s gone on for far too long and it’s redressable and possible for us to resolve.”
On his part, Gbajabiamila, who spoke on the collaboration between the Executive and the Legislature under the Buhari administration in addressing some of the critical issues facing the country, said that the actions of the House of Representatives would continue to be guided by the legislative agenda adopted by the Green Chamber at its inauguration in 2019 which is in line with the vision of President Buhari.
Meanwhile, troops of “Operation Whirl Stroke” have burst a bomb making factory belonging to Darul Salam terrorists group and recovered weapons and ammunition.
The coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj-Gen. John Enenche, said that following troops’ aggressive kinetic operations at identified bandits’ enclaves, 410 members of the group also surrendered on 25th August, 2020.
He said: “Following aggressive intensive kinetic operations at identified bandits’ enclaves, not less than 410 members of the Darul Salam terrorists group, including women and children, surrendered to the troops of “Operation Whirl Stroke and other security agencies deployed at Uttu in Toto local government area of Nasarawa State.”
He said that in a related development, troops while on a robust clearance patrol around Uttu, on 26th August, 2020 following actionable technical and human intelligence on the activities of the terrorists stormed a Darul Salam terrorists’ bomb-making factory.
The troops, according to him, recovered several Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) making materials at the location including two scales, six rocket launcher bombs, one bag of fertiliser, half bag of gun powder, 10 locally-made hand grenades, one Rocket Propelled Grenade bomb fuse, one locally-made Rocket Launcher, two IEDs,13 improvised rocket bombs, amongst others.
He said that the troops destroyed the camp and combed the surrounding forests for fleeing members of the sect.
The Military High Command commended the gallant troops of “Operation Whirl Stroke” for their professionalism and dexterity in achieving this notable feat and also urged them to sustain the tempo in the push to decisively curtail the activities of bandits and other criminals operating in the North Central zone.