Teddy Oscar, Abuja
Activities at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) headquarters were shutdown on Thursday by angry lawyers, who patronise the commission for their daily businesses over the deterioration of service by CAC.
The irate lawyers, who converged at the lobby of CAC, blocking the elevators for more than four hours, also described the 24-hour online registration as one that does not exist.
The action kept the duo of the board chairman and registrar general of the commission, Otunba Funsho Lawal and Mahmud Bello, respectively, hostage while the commotion lasted.
The lawyers patiently waited for the duo, who were unaware of the seriousness of the protesters.
The chairman, however, made attempt to meet the protesters with a few board members, but as soon as the elevator door opened and they saw what was happening, they quickly pressed the button and went back upstairs.
But the registrar general returned to listen to the complaints of the protesters and to equally address them.
Speaking in behalf of the lawyers, Barrister Ben Norpi, who lamented that the services in the commission has seriously nose dived, stated that they keep seeing CAC registration under 24 hours on the pages of newspapers.
He noted that this was not so as in reality, the availability check that ought not to have taken more than four to five hours now takes at least three to four weeks before coming through.
“CAC has been telling the whole world that they do registration under 24 hours, but as lawyers and customers of the commission, we are letting the world know that this 24-hour registration does not exist; it is a sham.
“When you put in for availability, instead of the 24 hours stipulated, it takes two to four weeks, making lawyers liars before their customers, who want this service done within the stipulated 24 hours, which the commission has been feeding the public.
“Lawyers have done all they can to hold customers forum with the registrar general for a long time now, but to no avail,” he said.
He added that the reason for the forum is to express their grievances.
“Presently, the services in the commission are seriously nosed diving. We know that the registrar general and the management of CAC know about this problem, but what is amazing is that despite their knowledge to these issues, no effort has been made to ameliorate the suffering.
“The meeting between the RG and staff yesterday (Wednesday) grinded all activities in the commission. This meeting is ill timed (as) there was no one single staff of CAC to attend to customers. This is wrong,” he added.
Norpi, who insisted that such meetings must be held with the lawyers for an opportunity to air their grievances, stated that the meeting held between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
“That was business hour. Why would any chief executive hold a meeting at that time of the day? At least there should be skeletal services, but in this case, there was none.
“In the time past, customer service used to be the hallmark of customers. But in recent times, we can count the number of times the management had a meetings with customers. There can not be a feed back mechanism, if there are problems with the commission.
“One of the reasons why we have come here is to use your office so that there will be a customers’ forum again. By the time you arrange this meeting, you will be able to hear from the staff, customers and lawyers what the real problems are.
“We need a customer service forum where we would be able to address the problems on ground. And whenever there is a meeting like this between CAC and management staff, it should not interfere with our customer service time,” he added.
Addressing the protesters, the registrar general assured that there would be meeting on the February 27, 2014 by 2 p.m.
He pleaded that whatever grievances they had should be aired on the day of the customers’ forum.