More reactions have continued to trail the introduction of the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) Regulatory Bill which seeks to regulate activities of NGOs and civil society organisations.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos, Women Arise for Change Initiative, an NGO, frowned at the move by the House of Representatives.
Buba Jibril, Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, who sponsored the bill, had said that the aim was to regulate activities of NGOs and provide a platform for robust relationship between them and government.
Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of Women Arise for Change Initiative, described the bill as `dangerous’.
“It is anti-democratic and totalitarian.
“The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is there to regulate NGOs; so we reject the bill in its entirety,’’ she said.
The Lagos State Chairman of the Civil Liberty Organisation, Ehi Omokhuale, also expressed dissatisfaction with the bill.
He said: “If the idea is to checkmate funding for terror, there are enough security agencies to do that.
“If this obnoxious bill sails through, then we are gradually tilting toward tyranny,’’ he said.
Dennis Aghanya, Executive Secretary, Anti-Corruption and Research Data Based Initiative, told NAN that the bill, if signed into law, would result in autocracy.
“The bill only intends to shut up NGOs, an action that breeds autocracy.
“NGOs are the mouthpiece of the common man and fill a gap.
“If we should go by what the bill intends, any NGO seen by the government to challenge its activities can easily be deregistered,’’ he said.
The executive secretary said that NGOs were important for democratic growth and protection of human rights.
“It will be one of the greatest disservices this 8th Assembly will do to Nigerians for the bill to be passed into law,” Mr. Aghanya said.
According to him, there are measures that regulate activities of NGOs including stipulations by the CAC.
The proposed law seeks to establish a federal agency responsible for supervision, coordination and monitoring of NGOs and civil society organisations.
The National Human Rights Commission and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project have also frowned at the bill.
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