Former Executive Director Civil Liberty Organisation Abdul Oroh has hammered the House of Reps for ever attempting to hand non-governmental organisations to over government control
“An NGO is said to be non-governmental because it is not controlled by government,” Oroh said.
According to him, the day government starts to regulate or control the operations of NGOs would be the end of the public sphere and the civil society.
A bill to establish a regulatory commission for NGOs was sponsored weeks ago by Deputy House Leader Umar Buba Jubril.
It has passed the second reading at the lower house now in spite of the public outrage the bill has generated.
According to the bill, a 17-man board the president appoints will take charge of regulating the bodies through biennial registration, among others control measures, for a term of four years.
Oroh, however, said the operations of an NGO are limited by guarantees.
“It is the board of trustees that are accountable for the activities of the NGOs,” adding the bill was sponsored for motives other than the public good.
Rights activists and NGO workers have criticised the sponsorship of the bill, describing it as
an effort to gag the civil society organisations.
Apart from Oroh, who served in the immediate past administration of ex-Gov. Adams Oshinomole in Edo, prominent critics like the National Human Rights Commission Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, among others, have also spoken against the bill.
But in spite of all these, the reps seem to have made up their mind to go ahead with it.
Speaker Yakubu Dogora has insisted the House will not be intimidated by the uninformed statements of those who should know better about the bill.
Kaduna Sen. Sheu Sani has vowed to oppose the bill when it gets to the upper house.