The non-government organisations (NGOs) bill at the National Assembly, seeking to establish a commission that would regulate NGO activities got another knock at the weekend as a Catholic group accused Honourable Umar Jibril, sponsor of the bill of trying to promote Islam with the bill.
Caritas Nigeria and Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) said the bill could be Umar’s subtle way of promoting and protecting his religion.
Umar, the deputy majority leader of the House of Representatives, sponsored the bill.
A statement issued by Evaristus Bassey, national director, Caritas Nigeria, read: “Presently the national assembly is perceived as a cesspool of corruption, and such bills that seem to put the house on a face-off with citizens only portray the house as intent on protecting a ‘Lootocracy’ that should not be questioned, hence the intent on muzzling NGOs.
“As the majority leader, Hon. Umar Jubril should have been aware of efforts between the house committee on NGOs and CSOs, including Caritas Nigeria and JDPC.
“Hon. Jubril’s disruptive effort is highly suspicious, especially against the backdrop of such security threats as the herdsmen attacks which are being seen as part of a sinister agenda of domination.
“Knowing full well that his religion demands him to use his position to promote and protect religion, is this Hon. Umar’s subtle way of promoting and protecting his religion by setting up a framework in which others might be persecuted?”
They urged the national assembly to drop all attempts to legislate NGOs, saying, “while we may have a few bad eggs among the NGOs, the main concern of all arms of government should be how to change the perception of Nigerians about government as ineffective, corrupt, wasteful and lacking vision”.
They said there have been “not less than eight attempts” by the House of Representatives to control NGOs “instead of providing public financial support to NGOs as is done in many nations of the world”.