By Chinwendu Agoha (MDA Reporter)

The Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Mr Garba Abubakar, has said that the federal government will not change mind on its de-registration of foremost socio-cultural groups in Nigeria, Ohaneze Ndigbo and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).

Abubakar who spoke in Abuja last Saturday during a media briefing on the activities of his Commission, said further requests for registration by socio-cultural groups and organizations based in Nigeria, would not be approved by the CAC unless a certificate of security screening and clearance of their Board of Trustees members are provided.

The CAC boss stated that the security agencies in the country have expressed worries over the activities of the registered ethnic socio-cultural bodies whose Board of Trustees composition are found to be people whose characters and backgrounds can not be vouched for. He said such organizations like the Ohaneze Ndigbo General Assembly and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) which have been proscribed by the federal government already have their registration certificate withdrawn by the Commission.

Abubakar however vowed that the CAC would not consider the requests seeking for registration by groups whose activities are capable of compromising the nation's internal security or constitute a threat to it. The Registrar-General however maintains that "there is no going back on the decision to revoke the certificate of registration of the two groups, as they have since transformed from socio-cultural groups to political organizations".

He said the demand for security clearance of members of the Board of Trustees of sociology-cultural groups was part of the internal reforms embarked upon by his Commission on the requirement for approval for associations registered under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), to sanitize the operations of the CAC.

Under Part C of the CAMA, companies captured are those established with the purpose of sharing its profits to members but registered strictly either as a social, cultural, educational, development or other purposes. Such organizations, according to him, are expected to appoint one or more members into their Board of Trustees to act as the legal representatives of the association.

But Abubakar said, in the past, all sorts of names of such groups and organization were approved by the CAC without realizing the implications till getting to the point of producing the certificates of registration by the Commission. Security agencies, he stated, have recently been expressing serious concerns about the proliferation of some of the controversial organizations whose activities, he said, have been constituting a source of worry to both the Nigerian people and the government.

The Registrar-General also revealed that before 2003, it was the responsibility of the nation's security agencies to vet and carry out background information checks on members of the Board of trustees of new organizations and advise the CAC accordingly before registration. This arrangement, he said, was later replaced with the requirement for statutory declaration by every member of the Board of Trustee to confirm full compliance with the legal requirements of the law on their sanity, good conduct, and criminal conviction within the last five years of their appointment.

Abubakar said government has lately found out that some of these socio-cultural bodies have unfortunately turned themselves into purely political organizations engaging in strange activities that are antithetical to the objectives and missions for which they were registered. NNL.

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