REVALIDATION: CAC SET TO BAR LAWYERS’ PORTAL ACCESS TODAY

Barring an extension of the deadline, many lawyers will from tomorrow be unable to access the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) company registration portal (CRP), as the deadline for revalidation of their accreditations lapses today.

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the challenges that have led to an online petition to remove the CAC Registrar General, Mr. Garba Abubakar have persisted. This is not unconnected with the difficulty in accessing the portal for the revalidation exercise.

A senior lawyer who sought help to overcome such challenges said: “I have been trying to re-accredit in accordance with this post. I have not been successful. Have you done it? Please, if you have, kindly tell me how to proceed. It is just two days away from the 10th.”

Still unsuccessful, the senior lawyer said: “Kindly take me through how you did. I tried as early as between 1 & 2 am today without success.”

Upon a successful revalidation, the prompt on the user’s home page disappears, while a REMITA generated receipt is sent to the user’s email address. 

It is recalled that CAC had issued a notice reminding accredited agents to revalidate their accreditations, and warning that “Accreditations that are not revalidated by Customers at the end of the prescribed date shall be suspended by the Commission.”

Below is the full text of the statement:

PUBLIC NOTICE ON THE REMINDER OF SUSPENSION OF ACCREDITATION ACCOUNTS NOT REVALIDATED BY 10TH JUNE 2021

The Commission wishes to remind its Accredited Customers that as earlier notified, they are required to revalidate their accreditations on or before Thursday, 10th June 2021. Accreditations that are not revalidated by Customers at the end of the prescribed date shall be suspended by the Commission.

Please note that any Customer that becomes newly accredited between January 2020 to date does not have to revalidate.

To revalidate accreditation, Customers should visit https://pre.cac.gov.ng

Customers should note that this notice supersedes the earlier notice of 1st January 2021.

Signed:
Management
2nd June 2021

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CAC ACCREDITATION: NBA MAKES U-TURN, ASKS LAWYERS TO COMPLY

  • SETS UP JOINT HELP DESK FOR CAC COMPLAINTS

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has reversed its hard stance on the ongoing re-accreditation exercise by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), asking lawyers to comply with the directive. It has also set up a joint help desk with the CAC to address lawyers’ complaints.

In a press statement signed by NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, the association stated that “The CAC and the NBA have agreed that rather than require lawyers and accredited agents to pay the accreditation fee on an annual basis, the payment will be a one-off fee.”

The statement added that “The CAC and the NBA have also agreed that the payment and reaccreditation will not apply to lawyers who paid or were accredited by the CAC between 1st January 2020 and the date of the initial reaccreditation notice from the CAC in March 2021. The portion of the reminder notice from the CAC dated 1st June 2021 which exempted only those who procured their accreditation after 31st December 2020 was an error which will be withdrawn or clarified by the CAC.”

This is a sharp departure from the position of the lawyers’ body which had in a press statement on March 12, 2021 chided the corporate registry agency for the revalidation exercise, saying that “it is both insensitive and smacks of utter bad faith on the part of the CAC to proceed with this policy without due consultation with the NBA whose members make up over 80% of the customer base of the CAC.”

The NBA had also reasoned that “it is possible to achieve a clean database of accredited agents by requiring those who had been previously accredited by the CAC to simply update and revalidate their records on the CAC portal (at no cost) or lose their accreditation by the new deadline,” adding that “The obligatory charge imposed by the CAC should not apply to existing users but only to those customers who have never been accredited by the CAC and who now seek to be part of the system.”

The lawyers’ body had also based its opposition to the payment of the N10,000 revalidation fee on the harsh economic climate, saying: “The NBA strongly urges the CAC to reconsider its position with respect to the payment of the revalidation fee by existing users, and more importantly to continue to work assiduously towards improving customer experience by resolving the several complaints by users of the system and enhancing efficiency.” 

It was unclear at press time whether the NBA has secured any major shift from the CAC prior to altering its position on the issue, moreso as the CAC had since March 12, 2021 clarified in a tweet that the payment is a one-off. It had stated thus: “Dear esteemed Customers, please be informed that payment for re-validation of accreditation is one-off. And accreditation is not renewable annually. Furthermore, the timeline for re-validation of accreditation has been extended to June, 10 2021.”

Aside from merely stating that “The CAC maintains that the revalidation exercise is important to it for a proper administration of the CAC database especially as the CAC migrates to a process where most or all activities at, or dealings with, the CAC will be concluded on its online portal,” the NBA leadership has not provided any justification for its new stance on the revalidation fee.  

Below is the full text of the NBA statement.

3rd June 2021

To all Lawyers in Nigeria

CAC DIRECTIVE ON RE-VALIDATION OF ACCREDITED AGENTS: UPDATE FROM THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”) would have seen a notice dated 1st June 2021 from the Corporate Affairs Commission (“CAC”) reminding accredited agents of the CAC to revalidate their status as agents with the CAC. Accredited agents are required to pay for such revalidation on or before 10th June 2021 or risk a suspension of their accounts.

Kindly recall that when the news of this revalidation first broke out in March 2021, the NBA had issued a statement dated 12th March 2021 informing Nigerian lawyers that the NBA was engaging with the CAC on this process. Following the engagements, we wish to provide the update below:

1. The CAC maintains that the revalidation exercise is important to it for a proper administration of the CAC database especially as the CAC migrates to a process where most or all activities at, or dealings with, the CAC will be concluded on its online portal.

2. The CAC and the NBA have agreed that rather than require lawyers and accredited agents to pay the accreditation fee on an annual basis, the payment will be a one-off fee.

3. The CAC and the NBA have also agreed that the payment and reaccreditation will not apply to lawyers who paid or were accredited by the CAC between 1st January 2020 and the date of the initial reaccreditation notice from the CAC in March 2021. The portion of the reminder notice from the CAC dated 1st June 2021 which exempted only those who procured their accreditation after 31st December 2020 was an error which will be withdrawn or clarified by the CAC.

4. The CAC and the NBA have agreed that in order to enhance efficiency at the CAC and deal with service level complaints from lawyers who use the services of the CAC, an NBA help/support desk (manned by the NBA-CAC Task Force) will be set up at the CAC. Lawyers who have applications at the CAC that are not attended to within the designated timelines may escalate their complaints to the NBA support team which will liaise with the CAC with a view to resolving the issues. Such complaints should be sent to nbacac@nigerianbar.org.ng. Kindly note that only correspondence relating to delays and service inefficiency at the CAC will be entertained by this help/support desk.

5. The NBA is not oblivious of the challenges that lawyers have had to face with their clients on account of delayed processing of applications, and other service-related issues at the CAC. Accordingly, the NBA will continue to work with the CAC towards enhancing efficiency at the CAC and generally improving on the experience of our members when dealing with the CAC.

Yours sincerely,

OLUMIDE AKPATA
NBA President

NBA_CAC

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NIN REGISTRATION: UBANI FLOORS FG, DEADLINE NOW APRIL 6

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the extension of the deadline for enrolment for the National Identity Number by two months with effect from Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

Justice Maureen Onyetenu granted the extension while delivering a ruling in a suit (MONDAY ONYEKACHI UBANI V. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA & ORS) filed by leading human rights lawyer, Mr. Monday Ubani against the Federal Government, Attorney General of the Federation, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy.

Ubani instituted the fundamental rights enforcement suit seeking enforcement of his fundamental rights as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He contended that the initial two weeks ultimatum (now extended to 6th day of April, 2021) given to telecommunication operators to block SIM Cards of Nigerians who have not registered their SIM Card with NIN if allowed, will infringe on his constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression, right to own moveable property and right to life. He therefore prayed the Court for an Order extending the deadline.

In her ruling, Justice Onyetenu granted all the reliefs sought by Ubani and made the following declarations and orders:

1. A DECLARATION that the ultimatum given to telecommunications operators by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards that are not registered with National Identity Number (NIN), is grossly inadequate and will not only work severe hardship, but will likely infringe on the fundamental rights of the Applicant (and millions of other Nigerians) to freedom of expression as guaranteed by section 39(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as violate section 44(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which prohibits the compulsory acquisition of right or interest over moveable property.

2. A DECLARATION that in view of the covid-19 pandemic and the rising cases in Nigeria presently, the deadline given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to the Applicant and over 200 million Nigerians to register their SIM Cards with NIN, will lead to a rush, thereby resulting to clustering of the Applicant and other Nigerian citizens in a NIN registration centre, subjecting him to the possibility of easily contracting the covid-19 virus, and such will amount to a violation of his fundamental right to life as protected by section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

3. AN ORDER halting the said ultimatum given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to telecommunication operators to block all SIM Cards that are not registered with the National Identity Numbers (NIN).

4. AN ORDER directing the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to extend the deadline for the registration of SIM Cards with NIN for a further two months with effect from the 23rd day of March, 2021.

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VERIFICATION: ECNBA EXTENDS DEADLINE, CITES MASSIVE LAWYERS’ INTEREST

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has extended the deadline for lawyers verify their profiles for the forthcoming NBA Elections.

In an ECNBA Statement No. 015 titled “Extension of verification exercise” and signed by the committee Secretary, Mrs. Cordelia Eke, the electoral body stated that the verification exercise will now end barely three days to the election on Sunday, July 26, 2020.

Though the electoral committee had initially extended the deadline to yesterday, it stated that the latest extension was informed by “a huge increase in the number of Lawyers seeking to carry out their verification on the NBA Portal.”

According to the ECNBA, “The deadline for verification of Voters is now extended to 6.00PM on Sunday 26th July 2020. Eligible Voters are advised to take advantage of this further extension to get verified. Previously verified voters are required to log in to their portals and update their information, especially their contact details to ensure they have smooth access to the portal and are able to receive important information pertaining to the Voting exercise.”

Though the NBA Constitution (as amended) mandates the ECNBA to publish the voters’ register and deliver same to branches latest 28 days to the election, the register has been beset by several challenges, even as some names were duplicated. This has necessitated a clean-up of the register alongside the verification exercise.

While the committee had earlier set a deadline to end the verification exercise, this became untenable due to several complaints regarding the cumbersome nature of the process.

Below is the full text of the ECNBA statement.

EXTENSION OF VERIFICATION EXERCISE

The ECNBA has observed that in the wake of the publication of its Statement No.14 extending the date of verification of Voters, there has been a huge increase in the number of Lawyers seeking to carry out their verification on the NBA Portal. The ECNBA has therefore decided to give a further extension of the date for verification of Voters.

The deadline for verification of Voters is now extended to 6.00PM on Sunday 26th July 2020. Eligible Voters are advised to take advantage of this further extension to get verified. Previously verified voters are required to log in to their portals and update their information, especially their contact details to ensure they have smooth access to the portal and are able to receive important information pertaining to the Voting exercise.

The NBA Help desks are still available to provide support for the verification exercise for those who require same.

Thank you all for your continued cooperation.

Dated this 20th day of July 2020.

Cordelia U. Eke (Mrs.)
Secretary, ECNBA

 

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‘WE’VE NOT SET VOTER VERIFICATION DEADLINE,’ SAYS TAWO TAWO

• …. MIXED REACTIONS GREET EXERCISE
• “MY EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN TERRIBLE,” SAYS FUNKE ADEKOYA
• … WARNS THAT MANY ELIGIBLE VOTERS WILL BE DISENFRANCHISED

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has declared that it has not set any deadline for the ongoing verification exercise, contrary to speculations that verification was billed to end yesterday.

ECNBA Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN told CITY LAWYER that the committee has not decided on when to draw the curtains on the exercise.

Speaking on whether a deadline has been set to conclude the verification process, he said pointedly: “There is none yet.” The electoral umpire was also at a loss as to the source of the speculation, saying: “I wonder the origin of the confusion.”

The frenzy may not be unconnected with certain posts on social media platforms suggesting that yesterday was the deadline for the verification exercise.

A post trended on several social media platforms yesterday urging lawyers to make haste to verify their personal details on the NBA website. It stated that only 48 hours was allowed for the exercise, adding that it would end by 6 pm. The post read: “Today is the deadline for all eligible lawyers to verify their details on the NBA Website. Visit https://nigerianbar.org.ng/membership-portal. #Securethefuture.”

Another version of the post which was sent to lawyers via short messaging service (SMS) read: “Dear (name of receiver), The ECNBA has released the 2nd List of Voters. Kindly verify that your details are correct. If they are not, send the correct details with proof of payment to ecnba2020@nigerianbar.ng not later than 6pm on 23/06/20. You can verify via https://nigerianbar.org.ng/membership-portal.” The message came under the “BULK SMS” banner.

The information caused anxiety among lawyers, leading to many making frantic efforts to verify their details.

CITY LAWYER investigations show that the speculation may also not be unconnected with the ECNBA press statement unveiling its second provisional voters list where it stated that “Those whose names are omitted are expected to send their details with proof of payment of Branch Dues within 48 hours of this publication to the account ecnba2020@nigerianbar.ng. Please note that any mails or messages sent after 6PM on Tuesday 23rd June 2020 will not be attended to.”

Given that the verification process was heralded by the press statement, many stakeholders may have assumed that the deadline was for both the compilation and verification exercises.

Meanwhile, there has been mixed reactions regarding the verification exercise. While some lawyers said that the process was stress-free, others seem to have had a herculean task navigating the verification process on the NBA website.

One of those who had a tough time engaging the process is former NBA presidential candidate, Mrs. Funke Adekoya SAN. She told CITY LAWYER that her experience was “terrible.” Her words: “My experience has been terrible. I was verified before but forgot password; so I sent ‘forgot password’ message. I have been waiting for password reset email since yesterday (Monday). I received email this (Tuesday) morning and accessed link – it says password cannot be reset. I sent email to NBA Secretariat 4 hours ago – still no response!”

In an early morning SOS to CITY LAWYER, Mr. Augustine Ogbodo said: “I don’t know if you have any clue on verification of membership on the NBA portal. I have been trying to log in to the portal to verify my membership but have not been successful. I tried reaching NBA via telephone but wasn’t successful.”

Immediately CITY LAWYER escalated the SOS on some social media platforms, there was a flurry of responses both from the ECNBA and the NBA leadership. While the NBA publicity team uploaded several versions of the verification process on sundry social media platforms, the ECNBA Secretary, Mrs. Cordelia Eke advised eligible voters who have challenges with the verification process to “contact the NBA IT staff in charge.”

She added: “A lot of phone calls (are) coming (in). They may not be able to take all. We advise people to send emails. It’s easier to track and treat complaints that way.” She assured that she “will ask the IT staff to look into this (complaint).” She later stated that “Members’ complaints about the website have been forwarded to NBA IT to handle.”

When CITY LAWYER asked Ogbodo to provide more details on his challenges with the verification process, he said: “I was prompted to supply new password and to confirm same. I did so but was again prompted to insert the correct format.” He then requested the “contact or email of the IT staff?” adding: “Thanks so much for your efforts. I have sent them an email. Waiting for their response. I sent the email to support@nigerianbar.org.ng as indicated.”

Unlike NBA Lagos Branch Welfare Secretary, Anthonia Eke who stated that “I had a seamless process updating my data on the verification portal of the NBA,” both Adekoya and Ogbodo eventually surmounted the verification hurdles.

Said Adekoya: “(I) Have finally been verified! A 24 hour process. With WFH (working from home), even if you have been verified (as I have) if you do not have an ‘active’ profile on the NBA website, you are unlikely to be able to vote. An ‘active’ profile means you interact with the NBA through your portal on the NBA website. (It is) Not the same as being verified.”

On his part, Ogbodo told CITY LAWYER that “This is what I have been missing. I have been trying to put the password without inserting figures and special number. (I) Have just done the needful and Password successfully reset. Thanks for your assistance.”

Worried that many lawyers may be disenfranchised by the verification model adopted by the ECNBA, Adekoya predicted a very low voter turnout in the 2020 NBA Elections. her words: “(I) Will be surprised if up to 3000 voters receive voting link from NBA website.”

CITY LAWYER also observed that the ECNBA press statement was silent on the details of any Help Desk or help lines for eligible voters who may have challenges with the verification process.

It is recalled that while 32, 228 eligible voters were on the provisional voters register for the 2018 NBA Elections, only 16,825 or 52.21 per cent of the eligible voters were able to scale the verification hurdle. Analysts have observed that the 2018 verification process is more straightforward than the current exercise, leading to fears that even fewer eligible voters may get their names on the final voters register.

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.