Ahead of the proposed public hearing on the NGO Regulatory Bill submitted by the Honourable The NGO regulation Bill is sponsored by Hon. Umar Buba Jibril (Deputy Leader, PDP: Kogi). International human rights body, Amnesty International has started mobilizing the support of Nigerians against the successful passage of the bill especially as it relates to the December 13 and 14 dates set for Public hearing.
The group has embarked on lots of social media sensitization and mobilization coupled with correspondence sent out to Nigerians, part of the content of the mail received by this writer reads; The Nigerian government is trying to push through new legislation that will severely restrict our human rights in Nigeria.
This so-called ‘NGO’ bill will keep Nigerians from freely sharing our opinions, holding open discussion forums or organising people to protest. The effects of this bill will be far wider than just on NGOs: this bill will shrink the rights of all Nigerians and allow the government to exert more control over us.
Apart from the mail, they’ve opened an online protest form for Nigerians to fill. Despite the fact that the National Assembly has made its stand known that the bill is not to suppress NGO’s in the country, the way it’s going about this is more than enough to raise suspicions.
Majority of NGOs, CSOs and human right activists has called for the withdrawal of this bill, if truly the bill is not meant to suppress NGOs why can’t they repeal it when the affected individuals says no to such bill, why must it be forced on them?
The timing of this bill is also suspicious coming at a time the Federal government is displeased to criticism and critics of this government, this bill will further make it easy to suppress these organizations.
As if that was not enough the speed given to the passage of the bill has also reveal the clandestine purpose of the bill. At a time important bills are lying fallow in the national assembly, the NGO Regulatory Bill was given accelerated hearing, all these won’t serve the interest of Nigerians.
Nigerians are enjoined to say NO to this bill.