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Bishop Kukah, others reject NGO Regulatory Bill

In what appeared as the most unpopular legislative piece in the 8th Assembly, a Bill for an Act to establish Non-Governmental Organisations Regulatory Commission of Nigeria, suffered great setback on Wednesday, as none of the participants made submission in support of the bill.

The bill, which was introduced at the House of Representatives last year, recently passed second reading and was referred to the House Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations and Development Partners for a 2-day public hearing.

However, of over 100 written and oral memoranda received by the committee on Wednesday, no single memorandum expressed support for the bill.

The hearing, which was attended by faith based organisations, former lawmakers, youth and women activists, civil society organisations, amongst which were Amnesty International, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), among others, gave strong nay vote for the bill.

All the attendees, including a Catholic cleric, Bishop Matthew Kukah, and a former lawmaker, Abdul Oroh, said the bill was targeted at clamping down on the inalienable rights of the citizens, particularly, the civil society groups.

They said the bill was dead on arrival and that the National Assembly should have looked for ways of strengthening existing agencies, rather than calling for establishing new commission which is in itself an anti-people.

The participants took turn to expose the ill of the bill and called on the committee to make recommendation that it be killed during third reading, saying “it is draconian and obnoxious”.

Reacting, the chairman of the committee, Peter Akpatason, gave assurance that his committee would not distort the report of the public hearing, saying he would present the recommendations of the committee to the House without bias.

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