The Nigerian government on Tuesday announced that it had withdrawn the certificate of registration of socio-cultural groups in the country over security clearance.
The government announced specifically that the Corporate Affairs Commission had withdrawn the certificate of registration of Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), among others.
The deregistration was announced in Abuja by Garba Abubakar, the Registrar General of CAC, who said the action formed part of reforms by the Commission to subject applications by these organizations to proper checks on the back of potential security threats from such registrations.
This comes on the heels of a statement by the Department of State Security Services, warning about a plot by some individuals and groups to destabilize the country.
“Yes, we have withdrawn the certificate of Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly because the certificate should not have been issued in the first instance,” Garba said.
“We have an established protocol that all organizations ethnic, religious with political implication should be referred for security clearance before such organizations are registered.
“In 2017, a similar organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide applied to be registered and security agencies rejected it.
“It would have been a double standard to allow another organization to be registered. Up till now, Arewa Consultative Forum is not registered because they were not given security clearance, we have South-South Youth Forum, NorthEast Youth Forum and so many organizations that have not been allowed to register,” he explained.
Garba said that after deregistering Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly), CAC referred the application for security clearance. “If at the end of the day we are advised that this object is consistent with what the law says, and the trustees are fit and proper, then we will go ahead, but till then, we have withdrawn the certificate and they have threatened to go to court, we are lawyers, we will meet them in court,” he said.
“Some prominent personalities and socio-cultural groups have resorted to divisive acts through inciting statements aimed at pitting individuals, groups, and ethnic nationalities against another,” Peter Afunanya, spokesman for the DSS, said in a statement dated 27th July 2020.
“The Service is, without doubt, aware of these plans and their sponsors,” he pointed out.
The warning came against the background of recent demands by some groups, including the opposition People’s Democratic Party, for government’s decisive action against rising cases of corruption in government establishments.
Last week, PDP called on President Buhari to resign following graphic details of corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, among others.
The DSS warned that it would no longer tolerate the orchestrations by subversive and unscrupulous elements to cause a breakdown of law and order in the country.
Afunanya said the DSS is working “assiduously with relevant authorities and sister security and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the sinister objective is not achieved”.
The Service reiterated its commitment to the internal security of Nigeria and would, within the confines of the law, decisively deal with planners of the mayhem.
It asked law-abiding citizens to go about their normal businesses and disregard the antics of agents of destabilization.