Reps To Probe Closure Of CSOs, NGO Offices By Military | Independent Newspapers Nigeria

*Vow To Hold Executive, CSOs, NGOs Accountable

Chairman, House Committee on Civil Societies and Development Partners, Rep. Kabir Idris, restated the resolve of the Legislature towards holding the Executive arm of government, Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organizations, Donor Agencies and Development Partners operating in the country, accountable to the citizens.

Rep. Idris, made this known during an oversight function to the office of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Nigeria, where he applauded various humanitarian interventions initiated by ICRC across the country.

He stressed the need to investigate the controversies trailing the activities of some NGOs and CSOs, which led to the shutting down of their operations by the Nigerian military, saying that the development underscored the need for effective monitoring, investigation and constant evaluation of their activities for better productivity.

He said: “The mandate of the Committee on Civil Societies and Development Partners, as was clearly articulated in our letter to you, includes among others, the Oversight of Local and International NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, Donor Agencies and Formulation of Policies and Guidelines for the Coordination and Regulation of the Activities of External Donor Agencies in the country”.

“We are aware that there are a lot of humanitarian organizations operating in the North Eastern part of the country, including the ICRC, and other local and International NGOs.

“We are also aware that the funding for most of these aid activities comes from international donors, and that such funds run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Recently there has been a lot of controversy and misinformation relating to the activities of some of these NGOs and the funding organizations, and how such funds are being expended.

“One of the fallouts of these controversies and misinformation was the shutting down of some NGO regional offices by the military. That, in our opinion was a very unfortunate situation because the truth of the matter is that we desperately need the assistance for our brothers and sisters and children who are victims of the insurgency.

“However, such incidents could only have happened because of lack of effective monitoring, investigation and constant evaluation of the activities of CSOs and NGOs operating in the country”, he said.

The lawmaker added that “with complains from the Nigerian Military on the need for the activities of NGOs and Development Partners to be scrutinized, the Committee on Civil Societies and Development partners therefore resolved, in line with its mandate, to take up the responsibility of carrying out necessary investigations to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of such incidents, and also gather other necessary information required for decision making”.

“The National Assembly as the 3rd Arm of Government charged with the responsibilities of making laws for the good governance of the people and holding the Executive arm to account for its policies, actions, and spending, also has a key role to play in regulating the activities of NGOs, CSOs and to some level donor agencies and development partners.

“The key objective is to reduce, if not eliminate the various malpractices of CSOs and NGOs in the course of their operations and ensure accountability. This is where the Committee on Civil Societies and Development Partners comes in.

“However, our understanding of the mode of operation of Organizations such as yours, the ICRC, is imperative if we are to effectively carry out our Oversight mandate.

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