The totalitarian NGO regulation bill may soon be passed into law by an insensitive National Assembly, says a legal lumninary.
Human rights lawyer and former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, has launched a video campaign against the evil he believes the bill portends.
In the five-minute video, Odinkalu outlines the implications of the proposed law for religious bodies, humanitarian agencies and even the ‘esusu system’ in villages.
Odinkalu urges Nigerians to rise up and resist the bill by taking the campaign to their elected representatives.
The totalitarian bill is sponsored by Umar Buba Jibril, Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.
Even if his interpretation of the NGO Bill is extreme (and it needn’t be since he is a professor of law) Odinkalu’s mental and digital investment in sensitizing the rest of Nigeria is great service.
Without this, most stakeholders don’t even know that our Legislators are cooking such a bill against charity institutions within the country.
There is therefore an urgent need to fight this anti-NGO-bill (more appropriately renamed) and raise ‘hell’ against this evil, says Odinkalu.
Religious leaders should get up, source and study copies of the NGO Bill, so that they in turn can fight against it in line with their convictions.
In a dispassionate evaluation however, Barrister Tomi Vincent who teaches law at Pan-Atlantic University, Lekki, Lagos and a Council Member of the Church Administrators Society of Nigeria (CASON) told HAMILTONSTYLE Thursday evening, September 21:
“I was at a time of the view that the bill will not pass until I was made to understand that orthodox Christians and the conservative Muslims and NGOs are in support of this bill.
“It will likely be passed because resistance to the bill will not likely have the required critical mass except the Pentecostals set up strategic parliamentary lobbying to confront the looming danger and threat.”
As regards Odinkalu’s campaign, Vincent said: “He is only highlighting the possible misuse that such an NGO bill can be put to. My problem with his approach is that he is trying to make it a political issue. This sentiment is likely to work as the forces behind this bill have lurking behind the scene since previous regimes.”
Another lawyer and former governorship aspirant in Lagos State, Adeniyi Ladega read the bill and surmised: “A business only gives an annual report of income and expenditure and not details of the business it does. But (by this bill) NGOs are required to state those details.
“Religious bodies and NGOs should pay tax if they do not want their activities to be monitored by a regulatory body.”
The NGO Bill before the House of Reps in Nigeria is the most preposterous piece of legislation against churches, mosques and all non-tax paying entities. It subjects everything CHARITABLE to politicians and civil servants. It is a travesty of legality.
There is an online petition making the rounds against this evil. It is initiated by one Monica Nwando, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION and join the BIBLE and the QURAN to speak loudly against this evil…
ODINKALU – THE MAN
Chidi Odinkalu is a Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist based in Abuja Nigeria. He was the former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC.
He attended Nigerian Law School and was called to bar in the year 1988.
He obtained his Ph.D. in law from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is senior legal officer with the Africa Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative. Based in their Abuja office.
Odinkalu is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and also the Chairman of the Governing Council of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission. Prior to joining the staff of Open Society Justice Initiative, Odinkalu was a lecturer in laws at Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, senior legal officer responsible for Africa and Middle East at the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights in London, Human Rights Advisor to the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone, and Brandeis International Fellow at the Centre for Ethics, Justice and Public Life of the Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.