Reps Reintroduce Controversial NGO Bills

Reps Reintroduce Controversial NGO Bills

The House of Representatives yesterday reintroduced the controversial civil society organisations regulations bill. But the bill was stepped down by the leave of the House.

The bill, sponsored by Sada Soli, seeks to establish the legislative framework to regulate the activities of non-governmental organizations and CSOs.

A similar bill In the 8th Assembly sought to regulate NGOs and CSO. The bill passed second reading at the House and was subsequently referred to the Committee on Civil Society Organisations and Development Partners…Continue Reading

On the day of the public hearing on the bill, scores of protesters marched to the National Assembly asking that the bill be dropped. Members of the CSOs interpreted the bill as an attempt by the government to gag CSOs.

The committee after the public hearing did not present its report to the lawmakers for consideration, thus indicating it died at the committee level.

However, in 2019, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila had said the lower chamber will revisit the NGO bill, following allegations by the Army against some NGOs in the Northeast.

When the bill was presented on Wednesday for second reading, deputy majority leader, Peter Akpatason, said due to the sensitive nature of the bill, copies of the bill should be distributed to members.

“I want to suggest that he (the sponsor) should present copies to the House, so that we will go through it and internalize it very well before we will make contributions on the floor of the House,” Mr Akpatason said.

Deputy speaker, Idris Wase, who presided over the session, urged the members to continue with the debate on the general principle of the bill. According to Mr Wase, the bill will still be subjected to a public hearing.

He added that the House agrees that there is a need to regulate CSOs operating in the country.

“It is good we have regulations, a kind of code of conduct that should guide their existence. I believe this is what the bill is talking about. It is the collective resolve of the House that we need to regulate the activities of NGOs, not to say that we are eliminating but to regulate them. I believe that when it comes to consideration, it won’t just go to the committee of the whole. It will go to a public hearing.”

Deputy minority leader, Toby Okechukwu in his contribution insisted that members cannot afford to debate a bill without having a copy of the bill.

Okechukwu stated that the sponsor of the bill should step it down, until members have studied the bill to make informed debate.

“I think we need the general principle of the bill. It should be discussed. It should be discussed from a position of knowledge. It is important that our colleague (Mr Soli) make the copies available to members so that we don’t appear to be making laws ignorantly.

“It should be withdrawn and step down to be presented another day,” Mr Okechukwu said.

Following the comments by the members of the House, Mr Soli agreed to step down the bill to allow members the opportunity to study the bill.

Appeared first

Reps Reintroduce Controversial NGO Bills

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply