Human rights lawyer and former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, has launched a video campaign against the NGO regulation bill about to be passed by Nigeria’s national assembly.
In the five-minute video, he outlines the implications of the bill for religious bodies, humanitarian agencies and a whole lot of other NGOs, and urged Nigerians to resist what he describes as a “totalitarian” bill. The bill is sponsored by Umar Buba Jibril, deputy majority leader of the House of Representatives.
In a post on Facebook, another lawyer, Chidimma Egwuenu described the bill as “dictatorial” and “an overly repressive and counterproductive move” that seeks to “to cut off the head as a cure for headache”.
Egwuenu further argued that “An appraisal of the bill reveals a document that intends to empower government to control and suppress pressure groups such as civil society organisations, professional groups like NBA, NMA and other ethnic, religious and commercial advocacy groups.”
If passed into law, the bill will require all activities of an NGO to be monitored and overseen by the government through a Commission to be created. Also, all projects to be embarked upon by any NGO will be sent to the Commission for approval before implementation and updates in the form of reports are to be filed with the Commission as the project is being executed.
The bill also demands that all NGOs will be renewing their licence every 24 months. According to the sponsors of the bill, all of these are to check NGOs excesses and ensure that they align with the desires of government.