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Bill on NGO ploy to silence dissenting voices, says group

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• Lokoja youths urge lawmaker to withdraw bill
• Southern Ijaw accuses legislator of poor performance

A group, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has condemned a bill seeking to regulate the activities of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO).

A statement in Abuja by its Executive Director,Ibrahim Zikirullahi, accused proponents of the bill of seeking to discredit NGOs before local and international communities.

The group described the bill as a malicious ploy by the ruling elite to silence opposing and critical voices.“It is an irony that in the face of constant exposure of the misdeeds against the Nigerian people, members of the National Assembly have taken the sordid option of going after the messengers, instead of coming to terms with the message,” the group said.

The group urged the lawmakers to legislate on good governance to make the country develop, adding that the bill was also aimed at silencing the civil society organisations for criticising the National Assembly.

“For the avoidance of doubt, NGOs are already over-regulated by several bodies, including the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). It amounts to wasteful duplication for the National Assembly to create another structure to do the work that extant institutions were already doing,” the group said.

Zikirullahi stressed that the bill is not only an attempt to kill initiative at the local level, but also a grand design to sabotage efforts towards open, transparent and accountable governance in the country.

Meanwhile, youths in Lokoja have asked their representative, Buba Jibril, to withdraw his bill against Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) or lose his re-election in 2019.

Their spokesman, Umar Danasabe Mohammad, made the call at an interactive workshop organised by Trees on Earth Development Foundation, in partnership with CLEEN Foundation. Participants at the workshop described the bill as unpatriotic, undemocratic and an attempt to strangulate NGOs.

Four youths, Alexander Abu, a charted accountant, Ahmed Shehu, magistrate, Mrs. Janet Makun, A lawyer, and Nihi Oladele, a national youth council chairman in Kogi State, feature at the workshop to inspire upcoming ones.

The Executive Director, Trees on Earth Development Foundation, Moses Adedeji, added that youths were vital to promoting a peaceful society, despite growing insecurity and violence.

Similarly, the people of Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency in Bayelsa State have accused their representative, Henry Ofongo, of poor performance and neglect.

But Ofongo dismissed the allegations as frivolous, saying political opponents sponsored his accusers.The President, Federated Union of Southern Ijaw Students Worldwide (FUSIS), Atobu Pilot and President, Amassoma Community, Ebiowei Saniyigha, stated this in an open letter to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.


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Ibrahim Zikirullahi

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