Our attention has been drawn to the NGO regulatory Bill which has passed through second reading in the House of Representatives. We wish to state that this bill with its content will hinder the rights to Freedom of Association and Freedom of Expression.
The creation of a commission (19-member board) is a duplication of the functions of existing agencies & waste of public funds. NGOs should not operate under the fear of government crippling their operations or subjected to approval by a Minister #NGORegulationBill. NGOs have seven (7) legal frameworks guiding their operations including their funding. The frameworks could be strengthened . Through CAMA, CAC regulates CSO/NGOs with the functionality that it has a register of NGOs in Nigeria. Part C of CAMA supports provision of annual returns filed to CAC with report of activities and audited financial reports. There are over 1.5m NGOs in the United States with no regulations such as these put forward by Hon. Umar Jubril.
A large civil society, independent of government control of direct influence is necessary for democracy to thrive. In circumstances where the government wields control over the activities of NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATION, their independence to execute civil actions and carry out beneficial projects to people is eroded and in turn affects advocacy for good governance structure and better living standard.
This move sets the government on an unchallengeable path where NGO/CSOs only carry out activities in favour (sanctioned) of the government.
The Government should create an enabling environment for more NGO/CSOs to come in rather than discourage the few we have. There are many areas in need of more NGOs/CSOs. Advocacy is continuous and in a way help government make informed decisions.NGOs should be free to carry out activities w/o seeking approval or notifying any government agency about its activities, or outreach.
National Youth Leader,