The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has dismissed as lacking in merit, a suit challenging refusal of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), to register a same s-x group under the aegis of “Lesbian Equality and Empowerment Initiatives”.
The court, in a judgment that was delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, held that the decision of CAC not to register the group was in compliance with section 30 (1) (c) of the Companies And Allied Matters Act (CAMA) Cap C20 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.
It held that where the proposed name of a company or its aims and objectives are caught by the provisions of Section 30 (1) (c) of CAMA, the Respondent (CAC), is duly empowered to reject such an application for reservation of name or registration.
According to Justice Dimgba, “Section 30(1) (c) of CAMA reads; ”No company shall be registered under this Act by a name which- (c) in the opinion of the Commission is capable of being misleading as to the nature or extent of its activities or is undesirable, offensive or otherwise contrary to public policy.”
The judgment followed a suit that was filed by one Pamela Adie, who disclosed that she had sometime in October 2017, established “Lesbian Equality and Empowerment Initiatives” with an aim to advocate for the rights of Nigerians that have inclination to same s-x relationships.
She told the court that in her bid to legitimize the group, she applied to the CAC through her lawyer, Fajenyo Kayode for the reservation of the association’s name. However, the Commission declined to approve the proposed name on the ground that it was misleading and contrary to public policy.
Dissatisfied with action of the CAC, the Applicant, through another lawyer, Mr. Mike Enahoro-Ebah wrote a petition to the Registrar General of the Commission to rescind the earlier decision that denied registration to her group.
Following refusal of the CAC boss to intervene in the matter, Adie, approached the court for redress.
She urged the court to grant an order of mandamus to compel the CAC to immediately issue notice of approval for her proposed name of an Association- “Lesbian Equality and Empowerment Initiatives”, for onward registration with the Commission.
Though Justice Dimgba noted that the Applicant has the right to form or belong to any association of her choice as provided by section 40 of the 1999 constitution, he however held that those rights were not absolute as they are to be exercised and enjoyed within the precincts of the law.