ABUJA – Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria have been urged to come up with credible proposals in order to benefit from the Commonwealth Foundation Grants.
Dr Martin Uhomoibhi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the call at the opening of a two-day Sensitisation Workshop for CSOs on the grants in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said “the foundation gives out one million pounds (N260 million) annually to beneficiaries from developing countries in the Commonwealth.’’
He told participants at the workshop that Nigeria was one of the highest contributors to the fund with annual subscription of 50,000 pounds (N13 million).
“We are one of the nine permanent members of the foundation but the benefits earned so far are not commensurate with what Nigeria contributes because many CSOs have been unable to utilise the grants’’, he said.
He said the foundation provides grants to civil society groups to engage in participatory governance because the Commonwealth Charter recognises the role of civic engagement in governance. [eap_ad_1] The permanent secretary reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the core values of the 53-member organisation, particularly as it relates to democracy, peace and sustainable development.
“Nigeria has held four consecutive elections since its return to democracy in 1999 and there have been significant improvements in each of the elections.
“Nigeria has never gone to war with any of its neighbours and we have not gone to war with any nation, rather, we have contributed troops in places of conflict to promote peace and security.
“The Commonwealth must recognise the progress being made in Nigeria, the Commonwealth has great values and Nigeria has the responsibility to ensure that they are maintained around the globe’’, he said.
Mr Vijay Krishnarayan, Director of Commonwealth Foundation, highlighted significant achievements of the organisation which still makes it relevant after the collapse of the British Empire and colonialism.
He said the commonwealth had reinvented itself by being an outspoken critic of apartheid, advocate for democratic norms and more equitable and sustainable development. According to him, the association is now defined by its values than its history.
He added that Mozambique and Rwanda which had no historic connection with the British Empire, had decided to join the association while the Gambia and Zimbabwe had withdrawn from it.
He said in the Commonwealth Charter, which was endorsed by Heads of Government and launched in 2013, one of the 16 clauses recognises the important role of CSOs in participatory governance.
The workshop is organised by the ministry in collaboration with the foundation. (NAN)