Fraternities are Viruses in Nigeria: Part 7 – The Legality
Surprisingly, University Campus Grown Fraternities (UCGFs) are respectable in the eyes of many. Why? because of their status of being registered as “legal entities” with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Well, under the unusual classification of legal “non-profit” organisations in Nigeria, even if dubious.
It is besides the fact I emphasised in Part 6 (see http://wp.me/p1bOKH-q9) that many government establishments are ever more being infiltrated and dominated by members of UCGFs. And can use their derived power to launder their names or identities. Who is fooling who?
That a UCGF has “legal status” means just that and not an iota more. Legal status means having the institutional recognition of state authority as an association or corporate entity. We as citizens should question how corrupt those state institutions are? Only if they knowingly give UCGFs the “legal status.” Registering a UCGF with the CAC is a matter of money. Or perhaps, it is down to the naivete of civil servants and sometimes the clever manipulation of officials.
If we stick with “legal system” in Nigeria alone, one will find that lawyers with a few ranking ones belong to UCGFs. They include Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), presidents of customary courts, magistrates, judges. Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) executives, attorney-generals. permanent secretaries in the ministry of justice, law academics, non-practising lawyers. Would it, therefore, be difficult for UCGFs to get recognition as “legal entities” within the legal system in Nigeria?
Many of these ranking lawyers tend not to associate openly as members of UCGFs because it could affect their status within the profession. Why go underground if you are doing something legal?
When a judge or magistrate pronounces that, a particular UCGF is a not a “secret cult” or not a “criminal group.” Or are not a “questionable entity.” You need to check that very judge or magistrate out properly. Is he a member of that given or another UCGF? Or Is he successfully being blackmailed by the UCGF? Is his son a member of the UCGF? It is one or more of such reasons.
In public, the different UCGFs do not condemn each other for fear of devastating retaliation. Like mafia families, war is not good for the business of UCGFs. No, try test bone.
Let us be serious here. Organisations that extort their members for cash often to the point of putting them in debt or punishing them. Or that engage in well-crafted habitual donor funding and charity fraud. And that has used violence against its members or the public. Or that engage in mail fraud. And that sabotages the good personal works of its members to indicate who is the boss.
Furthermore, UCGFs model themselves on American street gangs. Yet, they can be “legal entities.” Nevertheless, many of their activities are unlawful, and in a decent society, jails would have their fair proportion of their members as inmates.
Astonishingly leading Nigerian priests are helping to launder the image of UCGFs. Bishops, archbishops, grandee pastors and general overseers hobnob in public and endorse UCGFs. It is a classic case of religion’s loss and the UCGF’s gain. Drunkenness, womanising, smoking, “smoking”, psychopathy are all the most significant parts of UCGF life.
Still, some leading clergy choose to ignore such constant unrighteous behaviour and praise them, giving the “righteous status”. The reason behind such legitimisation is a bit of a mystery. As I mentioned in Part 5 (see http://wp.me/p1bOKH-pT) would Jesus or Mohammed join or endorse UCGFs? The answers proffered will shock you and priests themselves will provide some of them.
Then there are UCGF members who are journalists. These media people make sure that minimal adverse news reports about UCGFs get to the public domain. However, these same people make sure they blew every small good thing a UCGF does up with excessive exaggeration. Still, they make it into a significant media event, giving them good “media status”. Most sadly, it is when something tragic or wrong happens in a society that you hear the “loud do-gooding voices” of UCGFs. The exploitative nature of UCGFs prevents them from creating something useful out of nothing. Even out something good itself.
There is no beautiful name for a bad disease. UCGFs are viruses, and the consequences of their existence are becoming ever clear. Whether UCGFs have “legal status”, “righteous status” or “media status.” They cannot hide the fact that they are “viruses” causing dangerous “practical menaces” and deceitful “imaginary goods” wherever they may be. As they continue to infect societies, they swear to redeem.
However, the law is not on their side. Maybe a day will come when officers of the justice system will have no choice to rethink their membership and support for UCGFs.