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Reps Step Down NGOs, CSOs Regulatory Bill

The House of Representatives on Thursday resolved to step down the consideration of the bill for an Act to establish a regulatory agency for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

The bill seeks to regulate the promotion of social development activities in Nigeria and for related matters, sponsored by Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Hon. Sada Soli.

In his lead debate, Hon. Soli observed that the bill seeks primarily to establish the Agency to ensure NGOs as well as CSOs live up to their full potentials of societal development, as well as coordinate private-public development partnership.

He stated that the Agency will also ensure that these NGOs and CSOs are well regulated and managed to ensure they do not abuse the room for their performance in favor of unwholesome practices.

The Agency when operational, Hon. Sada stated, will ensure these organizations stick to stipulated policy guidelines, help government to track erring organizations, ensure due regulations, differentiate between true organizations and fake ones amongst other critical regulations.

He stressed that the bill does not seek to witchhunt any genuine NGO or CSO, but to ensure a civil, regulated and ensure sane society.

Speaking in support of the proposed bill, Hon. Usman Kumo alleged that the activities of some of these NGOs and CSOs, especially in the North Eastern part of Nigeria are less than professional and need to be checked.

He however stated that some that are aligned with proper religious bodies should be protected.

On his part, Hon. Muktar Shagaya stated that the functions of CSOs and NGOs are critical to bridging the gap between government and the people, but they truly need regulation to ensure proper cohesion and avoidance of abuse.

Worried by the public outcry against the proposed bill, Minority Leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda urged Members to move with caution in the applications of the provisions of the bill.

He argued that the limits of these regulations should be well spelt out and on which organizations fall in the regulatory process.

He therefore called for the stepping down of the bill so that Members can thoroughly read through the details to make informed decisions.

Following a series of complaints against the non-availability of the bill for members’ interrogation, the second reading of the bill was stepped down by the leave of the House till another legislative day for Honourable Members to read through it and be more informed.

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