Category: Policy

Civil society groups must speak up against the shrinking civic space in Nigeria after National Assembly invasion

Civil society groups must speak up against the shrinking civic space in Nigeria after National Assembly invasion

The time has come for the civil society community in Nigeria and world over to speak up against the shrinking civic space in Nigeria, Spaces for Change [S4C] and Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) said today, after the National Assembly invasion. Heavily–armed security operatives of Nigeria’s Department of State Security Services (DSS) barricaded the entrance of the Nigerian federal parliament on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, preventing federal lawmakers from accessing their offices to carry out their lawful legislative duties.

“The civil society community must strongly resist these undemocratic tendencies. Nigerian authorities must end this trend of shrinking civic space and weakening of democratic institutions in the country”, said Ms. Yemisi Ramsome-Kuti, Nigeria Network of NGOs Trustee.

DSS’ Tuesday invasion of the National Assembly is the height of closing civic space any country could witness in a democracy, said Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Executive Director at Spaces for Change.

Nigeria’s Vice-President ordered the sack of the Director General of the DSS following the intense public outrage that greeted the invasion. While we applaud and welcome the sack of the Director General of the DSS, it must be noted that there are several cases of attacks by the DSS on civil society activists, journalists and human rights defenders in the country. Spaces for Change has tracked 103 incidents of governmental restrictions on free speech, association, religious and assembly rights that occurred between May 2015 – May 2017. See www.closingspaces.org.

In its March 2018 United Nations Universal Periodic Review Report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the NNNGO and Civicus are “alarmed by attacks on and intimidation of human right defenders, civil society activists and journalists in Nigeria, predominantly carried out by operatives of the Department of State Security”.

The civil society community cannot continue to look the other way as DSS’ role in the closing of civic space in the country continues.  With the invasion of the National Assembly, Spaces for Change and the NNNGO are concerned the attack and intimidation by the DSS on citizens will continue to grow if not properly checked.

We are very alarmed that a revered institution such as the National Assembly can be invaded by the DSS in a democracy. Spaces for Change and the Nigeria Network of NGOs stand together with the National Assembly in this difficult time and we continue to call for the protection of civic space by all democratic associations, movements and institutions in the country.

The DSS reports directly to the Presidency. Accordingly, President Mohammadu Buhari must make good his commitment to the rule of law by not only ordering all security forces in the country to respect the rights of citizens to freedom of assembly, speech and association, but also by restraining the DSS from continuing its vicious campaign of intimidation and suppression of the rights of citizens under the guise of state security.

The new DSS boss must show true leadership and heed the demands of citizens and citizen organisations to release citizens detained by DSS for exercising their rights to the freedom of peaceful assembly, speech and association and review their cases to prevent continued harassment.

“Nothing can ever wipe out the unimaginable trauma our democracy and civic space witnessed yesterday in the hands of the DSS. The minimum the government of Nigeria can do at this time is to provide restorative measures capable of reassuring the National Assembly and the over 170 million Nigerians who elected them that their rights to freedom of association, speech and assembly is guaranteed.

 

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About Spaces for Change

Established in May 2011, Spaces for Change (S4C) is a research and advocacy organization working to infuse human rights into social and economic decision-making processes in Nigeria. The organization works to increase the participation of Nigerian youth, women and communities in the development of social and economic policy, and also help public authorities and corporate entities to put a human rights approach at the heart of their decision-making. (www.spacesforchange.org)

 

About Nigeria Network of NGOs

The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) is the first generic membership body for civil society organizations in Nigeria that facilitates effective advocacy on issues of poverty and other developmental issues. Established in 1992, NNNGO represents over 2,400 organizations ranging from small groups working at the local level, to larger networks working at the national level. Read more at www.nnngo.org.

Nonprofit Regulatory Trends

Nonprofit Regulatory Trends

As Nonprofits we are constantly consumed by our passion to provide succor for the needy in our society. Keeping up with regulatory trends driving how we do our work becomes a challenge. The Nigeria Network of NGOs through this document is shining light on the regulatory trends that we are witnessing and uncovering trends that could have greater impact on our collective abilities to drive attainment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Our aim is to ensure that individuals who lead and work with nonprofits including those who support them have regulatory information that is useful for decision making and planning. It is becoming increasingly important that nonprofits become aware of the external influences, laws, policy and regulations that shapes the environment where they work.

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Background on the Nigerian Nonprofit Sector

Background on the Nigerian Nonprofit Sector

Nonprofits form a vital part of the civil society sector in Nigeria, with their work reaching millions in different communities and touching every facet of the Nigerian society. Nigerian nonprofits have a strong history of helping the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society. Since the 1930’s nonprofits in Nigeria have been providing services to the underserved and are mainly religious and social clubs providing support, majorly in the areas of education and health.

The nonprofit sector in Nigeria today is heterogenous covering activities and services including education, health, economic and community development, youth and youth development, poverty, gender, research and development, peace and conflict resolution, democracy and good governance, water and sanitation, disability, trade, ICTs, reforms, microfinance and communications or development.


Owing to lack of data and diversity, it is very hard to have accurate information on the activities and contributions of the nonprofit sector in Nigeria. In this document the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) is using the data it holds about its membership to help increase and improve understanding of the third sector space in Nigeria.

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MEMORANDUM FOR THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL SOCIETY AND DONOR AGENCIES

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL SOCIETY AND DONOR AGENCIES

Nigeria Network of NGOs’ (NNNGO) comments on a Bill for a Bill for An Act to Provide for the Establishment of  the Non-Governmental Organizations Regulatory Commission for the Supervision, Co-ordination And Monitoring Of Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organisations Etc., In Nigeria And For Related Matters (hereinafter “Bill”) (HB535).

On the 22nd of June 2016, the Nigeria Network of NGOs received a copy of the Bill for an An Act To Provide For The Establishment Of The Non-Governmental Organizations Regulatory Commission For The Supervision, Co-ordination And Monitoring Of Non Governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organisations Etc., In Nigeria And For Related Matters (hereinafter “Bill”). Sponsored by Honorable Umar Buba Jubril, the Bill is currently before Nigeria’s House of Representatives, has passed through the second reading stage, and was debated in plenary on July 14, 2016. The Bill has most recently been referred to the Committee on CSOs and Development Partners for further consideration.

In response to the call for submission of memoranda by the House Committee on Civil Society and Development Partners, this memorandum provides the position of the Nigeria Network of NGOs and its members. The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) is the first generic membership body for civil society organizations in Nigeria that facilitates effective advocacy on issues of poverty and other developmental issues. Established in 1992, NNNGO represents over 2,400 organizations ranging from small groups working at the local level, to larger networks working at the national level. NNNGO champions a sector that is accountable, independent and truly representative of giving a voice to the common man.

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What We Heard on the NGO Regulatory Bill

What We Heard on the NGO Regulatory Bill

We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the legislature, third sector leaders and actors, civil society organizations, concerned individuals and media organizations who lent their voices to the discourse on the NGO Regulatory Commission Bill (HB585) either through advocacy, press releases, online articles, social media posts as well as engagement meetings with relevant authorities. This document echoes your thoughts, knowledge, experience and openness.

We are grateful for your insight and the work done regarding this bill. Though we may not agree on all issues and may hold varying positions especially in the ongoing debate around the Bill, ultimately, we share a common goal which is to bring development to the doors of the common man and progress to our nation.

For the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO), it became imperative that a publication such as this is produced to document the opinions, voices and thoughts of all involved in this discourse creating a situation where the different positions advanced for or against the Bill can be established, measured subjectively and properly documented for stakeholder learning and engagement.

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Shadow Report Public Hearing on Bill 585

Shadow Report Public Hearing on Bill 585

Nonprofits form a vital part of the civil society sector in Nigeria, with their work reaching millions in different communities and touching every facet of the Nigerian society. Nigerian nonprofits have a strong history of helping the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society. Today, Nigeria’s nonprofit sector is large and diverse covering activities and services ranging from health, education, agriculture, environment, climate change, sport, arts and culture, good governance, human rights, technology etc.

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