Zamfara Coalition of NGOs (ZASCONS), yesterday in abuja at a public hearing condemned the attempt by the National Assembly to pass the proposed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) regulation bill into law. Presenting their stand at the public hearing in Abuja its chairman, Mr Ibrahim Tudu described the bill as a threat to democracy.
The bill to provide for the establishment of the NGOs Commission for the coordination, supervision and harmonization of the activities of NGOs and CSOs in Nigeria, he said is a calculated attempt by the assembly to shutdown freedom of speech and association in Nigeria.
Mr Ibrahim Tudu Said: “ as thye chair and representatives of the civil society in Zamfara after studying the content of the bill has rejected its and advice the National Assembly and the government of Nigeria to withdraw it.
He however said “Transparency and accountability should be the watch word of the NGOs and all bad eggs in the civil society movement should be prosecuted as they are not above the law. Some of the highlights of the bill and our stand are as follows:
|HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BILLS||IMPLICATIONS|
|Registration and De-registration of NGOs (International & National) through licensing||On the NGO regulatory bill, the Coalition of NGOs Zamfara State is of opinion and also warn that the proposed bill will constraint civil society from carrying out their traditional roles in the society, meaning that the bills regulatory desires and also amounted to duplication, this is because registration of the proposed license have been covered by CAC, while signing of any memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the donors, is through National planning commission as well as Federal Ministry of budget and economic planning that was adequately covered by existing laws, on this regard it is tantamount to duplication of registration process.|
|Work Permit For NGOs Expatriate Staff||NGOs expatriate staff should obtain necessary clearance through Nigerian immigration to intensify developmental partnership.|
|Registration of Projects||On The Registration Of New Project The Donors Agency Signs (MOU) With The National Planning Commission, so also any bilateral agreement between a donors and domestic NGO, a copy of (MOU) is dropped with the National planning Commission which takes lead. So any registration of project again with the commission is also duplication of the process.|
|NGOs Work plan and Budgets||All work plan and budgets is subject to approval by Donor Agency in line with their guidelines as well as their objectives, provided that it does not contradict the Federal Government of Nigerian Policies. We suggest that the trend of the Donor Agency given approval should be sustained.|
|Capacity Building Asset and Equipment||We reject the idea of asset transferred to build the capacity of any organization through the commission, as this will promote lackadaisical attitudes among domestic organizations.|
|Vehicles||Branding of organizational vehicles is accepted for the purpose of transparency and accountability.|
|Disposal of Assets||Disposal of assets at the end of the project to the Federal Government of Nigerian is unacceptable to us. Donors should be allowed to decide on whether to give the assets to the domestic NGOs that they work with or to the Federal Government of Nigeria.|
|Establishment Of Nigerian National Council Of Voluntary Agencies||We are not in support of the regulatory bill talk less of the establishment of NNCVA.|
|The Minister||Which minister and what function? This is duplication and unnecessary|
We recommend here that instead of creating a regulatory commission that will cripple the efforts and activities of domestic NGOs, it is better to find a way of supporting them. Since all NGOs are supposed to register at local, state and CAC level as the case may be there is no basis for additional draconian laws to gag the civil society sector
In conclusion Zamfara State Coalition of Non-Governmental Organization (ZASCONS) sided with the view that civil Societies groups i.e. NGOs, FBOS, CBOs etc play crucial roles in the development process that shouldn’t be stopped through additional legislations. Hoping our inputs will be given due consideration. Thank you. Most Sincerely
THE DRAFTING COMMITTEE MEMBERS ON BEHALF OF THE COALITION OF NGOs ZAMFARA STATE
|1.||Alh. Ibrahim Tudu||Global Network of Islamic Justice||Chairman|
|2.||Jibrin Muhammed Alhaji||Nagarta Change Community Health and gender initiative||Executive Director|
|3.||Mustapha Sani Rawayya||Victims of violence charity foundation Zamfara state outreach team.||State Coordinator|
|4.||Nura Garba Dauran||Helping the Poor foundation||Executive Director|
|5.||Suleman Bello Gusau||Integrated Development Project||Project Coordinator|
|6.||Sani Muh’d Garba||Association of Public Health and right initiative||Executive Director|
|7.||Kabiru Rabiu Gusau||Advanced Youth forum||Programme Officer|