Day: March 29, 2019

Human Rights and Social Justice in Nigeria (March, 2019)

Human Rights and Social Justice in Nigeria (March, 2019)

Fundamental human rights are the “inalienable rights of people”. These are legal entitlements enjoyed by every citizen of a country without fear of violation from government or fellow citizens. In every country, these rights are protected and enshrined in the National constitution- chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria states what are considered as the rights of every Nigerian citizen and how they can be    protected.

However, shreds of evidence show that despite the entrenchment of human rights in the Nigerian constitution, continuous restrictions on some aspects of citizens’ rights continue to undermine the status of human rights in the country. Over time, the civic space has been threatened. There have been cases of human right violations, ranging from the intimidation and harassment of human right defenders, restrictions on the freedom of expression, assembly and association, among   others.

The Sustainable Development Goals address the importance of protecting citizens’ rights. Goal 16 of the SDGs delineates the need to  provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels and the civil society must, in line with    the Istanbul principle of development effectiveness, which emphasizes the need for “respect and promotion of human rights and social   justice; carry out the responsibility of bringing accountability by exposing and following up on human right violations.

Accordingly, CSOs are effective as development actors when they develop and implement strategies, activities and practices that promote individual and collective human rights, including the right to development with dignity, right to decent work, social justice and equity for all people.

CSOs should be at the forefront towards ensuring the protection of these rights and the strengthening of civic space in Nigeria. Although   some measures have been put in place by the government to improve the human rights situations in Nigeria, there is still room for improvement.

This newsletter is supported by Forus. However, the ideas and opinions presented in this document do not necessarily represent those of Forus, NNNGO or any other organisation mentioned.

Filing of Annual Returns (March, 2019)

Filing of Annual Returns (March, 2019)

An annual return refers to profit made on investment, over a period of time. In Nigeria, corporate entities registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) are mandated to file annual returns with the Commission, on a yearly basis.

Even though nonprofit organisations do not make profit on investments, Section 55 of CITA specifically makes it clear that ALL companies, registered with the CAC must file returns irrespective of tax exemptions conferred on their income. This helps to encourage transparency, accountability and to keep record of all functioning organisations, operating within the country.

Generally, organisations must file annual returns not earlier than 30th June or later than 31st December every year (except the year the organisation was incorporated). However, newly registered organisations begin filing their first annual returns, not later than 18 months after incorporation while older organisations file their annual returns not later than 42 days after their Annual General Meeting.

To file annual returns with the Corporate Affairs Commission, an organisation is expected to visit the CAC website, download and fill out an Incorporated Trustees Annual Returns form (CAC/ IT 4), attach an audited financial statement signed by a chartered accountant and two trustees of the organisation or a statement of affairs, in cases where the organisation is yet to commence operation along with a fee of  #5,000.

Complying with this law will aid the maintenance of good organisational structures as it encourages a culture of record keeping and puts compliant organisations on good standing with the Commission accurate and updated records of said organisations will be accessible to the commission which gives room for transparency and accountability.

Failure to file annual returns within the stipulated period will incur an additional cost of #5,000 for every year of noncompliance, as penalty. Persistent noncompliance to this law could result in eventual de-registration of errant nonprofits as the commission is left to assume that this organisation is non-operational.

Filing annual returns with the Corporate Affairs Commission as and when due helps to keep the organisation’s name on the commission’s register, saves time in situations where a nonprofit needs a post-incorporation service or documents from the commission and also prevents nonprofits from payment of penalties that apply for late filing of annual returns.

This publication has been produced with the support of Commonwealth Foundation and the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO). However, the contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Commonwealth Foundation or NNNGO.