Why Nige­rian Gov­ern­ment Got It All Wrong Again

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - CONTRIBUTORS -

Ed­die Mbadiwe, a mem­ber of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives rep­re­sent­ing Imo state spon­sored a bill with the aim to reg­u­late in­ter­na­tional fund­ing to non-gov­ern­men­tal bodies in Nige­ria. Why are Nige­rian law­mak­ers fo­cused on de­stroy­ing the in­de­pen­dence of NGOS and CSOS? The re­al­ity is that the strength of non-gov­ern­men­tal and civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions lie in their in­de­pen­dence from gov­ern­ment.

To date, NGOS have con­tin­u­ously filled a gap where gov­ern­ment has not, can­not and will not. Us­ing var­i­ous so­cial me­dia plat­forms to in­clude twit­ter and In­sta­gram, Nige­ri­ans on an all too fre­quent ba­sis come to­gether to sup­port an NGO in pay­ing the med­i­cal bill of an av­er­age cit­i­zen or to spon­sor the ed­u­ca­tion of a child. NGOS pro­vide a mul­ti­lat­eral ap­proach to sup­port­ing Nige­ria’s fail­ing health­care and ed­u­ca­tion- al sys­tem, or sim­ply to pro­vide daily meals to or­phans or to sup­port our farm­ers. Once again, why are Nige­rian law­mak­ers fo­cused on de­stroy­ing the in­de­pen­dence of NGOS and CSOS?

A reg­u­la­tory body will only in­crease cor­rup­tion as Nige­ria lacks the trans­par­ent sys­tem and open cul­ture needed to make this work. How many NGOS will be forced to bribe of­fi­cials in or­der to get their or­ga­ni­za­tions ap­proved? Budgit for in­stance has pro­moted the #OPENNASS cam­paign for sev­eral years now – a cam­paign fo­cused on in­creas­ing the stan­dards of trans­parency and cit­i­zen­ship en­gage­ment at the

Na­tional As­sem­bly. To date, they are yet to be taken se­ri­ously and their re­quest granted. If NASS re­fuses to be trans­par­ent how do we ex­pect them to cre­ate a trans­par­ent reg­u­la­tory body? This is not prac­ti­cal, un­ethi- cal and un­fair.

I im­plore the Nige­rian gov­ern­ment to fig­ure out other ways to cre­ate a sus­tain­able rev­enue stream. Over­bur­den­ing NGOS and CSOS is not the an­swer nor is this the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse to the cur­rent eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion at hand. NASS should fo­cus on other ur­gent pri­or­i­ties like find­ing ways to elim­i­nate Boko Ho­ram, en­sur­ing that Nige­ria re­mains com­pet­i­tive in the global mar­ket, es­tab­lish­ing en­ergy in­cen­tives for small busi­ness own­ers, im­prov­ing our fail­ing ed­u­ca­tion and health­care sys­tem or more im­por­tantly, fig­ur­ing out ways to cre­ate jobs for our youths – have you seen or even no­ticed the in­creas­ing youth un­em­ploy­ment num­bers? There are loads of prob­lems to be solved and the NGO reg­u­la­tory bill should not be one of them.

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