Ex-envoys decry move by National Assembly to regulate civil society organisations
The League of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (LEPAN) has condemned the move by the National Assembly to regulate the activities and operations of non-governmental organisations (NGO) in the country.
The association said the attempt by the federal lawmakers to set up a regulatory body was a duplication of roles, since they were already being regulated by established government agencies.
In a statement by its national president, Chukwudi Anyawuocha, LEPAN asked that the bill be killed to sustain the operational efficiencies of NGOs.He held that the passage of the piece of legislation would make mockery of the entire system, bearing in mind the role some government agencies were already playing in regulating civil society groups nationwide.
His words: “First, we are worried at what now seems like an unfortunate national habit of avoiding the demanding but important process of ensuring that existing institutions and laws fulfil their optimum objectives, and choosing instead to create new institutions and laws as if by mere duplication or multiplication, the underlying problem of dysfunctional systems would be fixed. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“On the basis of the above, it is our considered opinion that the proposed bill fails, abysmally, these crucial tests of democratic principles and operational efficiency. It is on these sacred issues therefore that constitute our point of divergence.”
He continued: “Moreso, we strongly believe that the powers granted the government in the proposed legislation via the planned new commission would be subject to abuse. By their nature, civil society groups can run counter to political interests in a bid to better the lot of people in the country.
“We are concerned that with the government having the power and leverage to loosely and likely arbitrarily grant renewable licences, as well as determine which NGO will be registered or deregistered, a new era of tight government, nay political control of civil society is upon us. This, perhaps, we must admit is our worst fear. This cannot be allowed to stand.”
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