I am worried about the crop of bills that are being pushed to become legislature in recent times in the house of Assembly.
They seem to have the tendency to want to stifle the populace and curb avenues for questioning the govt.
First, it was the social media bill.
Now it is the NGO regulation bill.
For any democracy to function, the role of civil society is pivotal. It acts as a conscience for the government. And in the case of Nigeria, civil society in many instances, offers services that ought to be provided by the state actually. To attempt to subject activities of civil society groups to government approval in a country like Nigeria is to permanently stifle their activities. All organisations are mandated to register with the CAC and have to fulfill obligations before that registration is approved.
While I do see certain merits in managing how organisations raise funding and distribute such funding, I do think overall that this should be managed on an individual basis where allegations of corrupt activities within certain NGOs should be subject to prosecution. NGOs should also be willing to publicly publish their annual reports in some online format to support fundraising activities.
At this point, I do not see that the few good aspects of the NGO regulation bill will balance out its negative implications. It is also interesting that NEMA and SEMA which have been serially accused of diverting humanitarian aid will not be touched by this because they are government agencies.
We will be tweeting about this by 5.30pm today. Join us to #StoptheNGObill