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None of the persons presented in front of the National Assembly had confidence in the NGO Bill, as no one conveyed support for the bill to regulate non-governmental organizations, NGOs. The bill hopes to set up a federal agency that would be called NGO Regulatory Commission which would be in charge of regulating the activities of NGOs and civil society organizations, CSOs across the country.NGO Bill Gets Zero Support At Public Hearing

The public hearing was held on the 13th of December, was organized by the House of Representative committee on Non-Governmental Organizations and International Development Partners.

Among the attendees was Mr Matthew Kukah, a Catholic cleric, who spoke against the bill, he said the creation of the bill would put democracy in grave danger, and he ascertained that he stands with civil society very firmly. He added that Nigeria already has enough laws to cover every dimension of its human life.

Another person, who spoke at the hearing and echoed a resounding NO to NGO regulation, is the executive director of policy and legal advocacy centre, Clement Nwankwo. Clement Nwankwo said he believed that no person would support the bill.

The bill has been thoroughly criticized by many activists and NGO as they feel it is government way of clamping down on civic groups.

While the hearing was ongoing, thousands of people went out to protest against the bill as they marched to the National Assembly asking for the bill is scrapped.

When the Chairman of the Committee, Peter Akpatason, had asked if any attendee was in support of the bill, there was none, as everyone present opposed the bill.

He later assured that all present that he will present the recommendations of the committee to the House without bias.

This is after the bill sponsored by a lawmaker had already passed through the second reading at the House of Representatives and was later sent to the Committee on Civil Society Organizations and Development Partners. The committee will present its report and findings after the public hearing to the house for consideration clause by clause. However, the public rejection of the bill by Civil Society Organization does not automatically translate to its death as the House would still deliberate on the fate of the Bill.

The public hearing continues today at 10 am.

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This article was first published on 14th December 2017


Adepeju Adenuga is a writer (considering where you are reading this, makes perfect sense). She holds a Masters Degree in Literature in English from the University of Lagos.

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