Tuesday, April 16, 2024

House of Reps clarifies position on NGO regulation bill, seeks cooperation with CSOs

“Our aim is to build up the nation and make Nigeria great, and we should work together,” he advised.

• March 2, 2024
House of Representatives
House of Representatives (Credit: Daily Trust)

The House of Representatives says it is not at war with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) over a bill to regulate their activities in the country.

Victor Obuzor (PDP-Rivers), chairman, House committee on CSOs and development matters, said this on the sidelines of a meeting with CSOs and development partners in Abuja.

According to him, the bill to regulate the activities of NGOs just came up for the first reading and will go for the second reading, adding that it was even stepped down by the speaker for further consultation.

“We are not at war with CSOs. What they do for nation-building cannot be overlooked; we are their friends and we have the same objectives.

“Our aim is to build up the nation and make Nigeria great, and we should work together,” he advised.

He said that a lot of bills for the operationalisation of CSOs had been passed in the House of Representatives but had not been implemented.

Mr Obuzor listed such bills as humanitarian law and the Persons with Disabilities Act, among others, adding that the House was putting all of them together.

This, according to him, is to ensure that they fine-tune the bill in a way that it could be implemented, adding that the lawmakers were also looking at amendments to those bills.

He said, “The only error was the non-inclusive attitude towards the bill; it should have been put on the table to discuss and see whether it would change the civil space or enhance their work.”

He said that the bill still strengthens the view that some forms of regulation should still be in place.

“We have the bad among the good. Some people are registering NGOs because they want to come and make money, while we have genuine ones assisting in nation-building.

“We will encourage engagement and collaboration, and going forward, we will chart a way forward to address all the problems we are having now,” he said.

While stressing the need for the lawmakers to be more patriotic and committed, Mr Obuzor urged the CSOs to be accountable and transparent so everybody could be accountable for nation-building.


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