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A group of concerned Nigerians took to Twitter yesterday to protest against the controversial Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO regulatory bill which is about to be passed in the House of Representatives, with #StopTheNGOBill.

The controversial bill seeks to set up a federal agency to be known as the NGO Regulatory Commission, to regulate activities of NGO's and civil society organisations, CSOs, across the country. The bill proposes that NGOs require permission from the Government before they can raise money, spend money and a total restriction on all their activities.

Here's what the convener of the protest on Twitter, Caleb Somtochukwu Okeke wrote;

"Why are we not talking about the horrible NGO regulation bill about to be passed by the House of Reps?

Perhaps because you think it doesn't affect you? Perhaps the only thing that comes to your mind when we say NGO is a jobless group of people who give food to smiling children asked to pose for a camera?

I am thankful that we live in a time where the trifling echo of our voices can in some way matter. I am thankful that however marginal our contributions may be, however vacillating our stance to speak, there is a likelihood that we are being listened to anyway.

The NGO regulation bill is one of those things we need to speak against. In this bill, the government would reserve the power to police the activities of all Non Governmental Organizations.

To help you out of your confusion, Non Governmental Organizations include churches, mosques, student associations, August meetings, the sport club you founded with your best friend in your apartment in mushin, Catholic Women Organizations, any organization that's Non Governmental and of course the generic charity organizations.

Well in our usual hypocrisy the bill is going to exclude religious organizations, but every other institution is at risk.

Why this is crazy is because you'd require permission from the Government before you can raise money, spend money and a total restriction of your activities really.

Would I worry if this was happening in another country? No. There are positive sides to this bill. A startling number of NGO's have extorted funds and deserve to be answerable to some form of authority.

My grouse here is that this authority cannot be the pot bellied man in Abuja, smacking his teeth in a silly attempt at removing cigarette smoke and disregarding the files of people who have failed to "co-operate."

It cannot be the lose mouthed government secretary who waves you away and tells you, "Oga is not around, come back tomorrow" day after day as if your entire existence is for shuffling in an out of government offices.

There are people with severe health conditions who rely on the activities of these NGO's to survive, and the table of an over fed senator in Abuja is not the right place to deliberate life and death.

Scrutiny is good. I believe that sometimes inspection, analysis and accountability does yield good results especially when steered by the right hands.

But I also believe in integrity, transparency, in even handedness, in the awareness that we exist to make another's journey easier.

I believe in equity, in service, in the infinitesimal actions of kindness and the changes these small deeds can trigger.

But you would not find these qualities in Abuja. Not in that office filled with light, smelling of camphor, a globe spinning on its table and a framed impression of the Coat of Arms hanging on its wall.

You would not find it there."

Here are some more tweets below;




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