Learn how the Nigeria Network of NGOs is helping its members and nonprofits with Covid-19 (coronavirus)

Category: Announcement

Beware of the NesProgram implying association with the Nigeria Network of NGOs.

Beware of the NesProgram implying association with the Nigeria Network of NGOs.

The Nigeria Network of NGOs has been made aware of various correspondences being circulated via e-mail, from Internet websites, text messages and via regular mail associating us with NESprogram at https://nesprogram.com We are alarmed by the false and unauthorized use of our logo on the NESprogram website and all communications related to this organisation.

The Nigeria Network of NGOs wishes to warn the public at large about our non-association with the NESprogram/and or its official and to note that the Nigeria Network of NGOs is not in any way associated and neither are we sponsors of the NESprogram.

The Nigeria Network of NGOs does not run such schemes and strongly recommends that recipients of any correspondence from the NESprogram should exercise extreme caution in respect of such. We encourage anyone having issues with the NESprogram to report directly to the Special Control Unit on Money Laundering via info@scuml.org .

We have written officially to NESprogram through helpdesk@nesprogram.ng asking for the removal of our logo from its website at https://nesprogram.com/ and all communications products that may have our logo. We have also reached out to Tucows Domains Inc registrants for this website to report this abuse. We are aware that this site was registered by Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0153041206 with telephone number +1.4165385457 and nesprogram.com@contactprivacy.com , we are now asking our lawyers to contact our Canadian counterparts to take necessary legal actions.

The Nigeria Network of NGOs remains committed to its vision of promoting interconnectivity at the grassroots, provide opportunities for CSOs/NGOs/CBOs and PVOs to contribute to the advancement of national and global peace through developmental activities focused at the grassroots, whilst networking with each other and other national and international agencies, with the aim of meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

NNNGO TRAINS NPOS IN RIVERS STATE ON REGULATORY COMPLIANCE.

NNNGO TRAINS NPOS IN RIVERS STATE ON REGULATORY COMPLIANCE.

PORT-HARCOURT, Rivers–/ On October 22 and 23, 2018, the Nigeria Network of NGOs convened Nonprofit Organisations across the Eastern and South-southern regions of the country for a two-day intensive training on compliance to regulatory laws as it affects civil society.

The training which was conducted as part of activities for the project, “Strengthening Statutory Regulations for Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria”, aimed to improve regulatory compliance within the Nigerian Nonprofit Sector as participants were taken through NPO management and financial accountability courses alongside lectures on how to better promote transparency within their organisations, in line with global best practices.

“Our sector has been vilified for noncompliance in recent times but this lack of compliance has been majorly due to the fact that many NPOs are unaware of the laws and the changes that occur with them”, said Oyebisi B. Oluseyi, Executive Director, NNNGO. He added that NNNGO is fully committed to the protection of civic space and therefore saw the need to extend training to NPOs, across the country, on CAMA and other regulations. He expressed hope that the training would serve as an opportunity for heads of organisations present to build capacity in areas where they were previously lacking.

The star of the training was the Part F of the CAMA. CAMA sets out the legal basis by which companies are formed and managed. It also sets the rules for company boards and shareholders as well as the exercise of decisions on business growth and investment. It is, therefore, one of the most critical pieces of legislation which impacts the Nigerian non-profit and its relevance to ease of doing business cannot be overemphasized.

After 28 years since its adoption, the CAMA recently underwent a review process which resulted in the repeal and enactment of a newly amended law on May 15, 2018. The Incorporation of Trusteeship which is of principal concern to nonprofits, previously named the Part C of the CAMA was then renamed as Part F of CAMA.

Adeola Odunsi, Project Officer, Strengthening Statutory Regulations for Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, presented to participants, a sample of the toolkit created by NNNGO for nonprofits to access as a Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) registration guide.

She led discussions on the details of the reviewed CAMA while explaining that the toolkit would serve as a useful tool for engaging processes such as change of name, appointment, and removal of directors as well as how to set up a governing board within an organisational structure.

“Most NPOs cannot trace their sources of funding and this is what makes many prone to risks of being used as conduits for money laundering and terrorist financing”, said Chidinma Okpara, NNNGO AML/CFT Officer, while delivering a training on Anti-Money Laundering/Combatting the Finance of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Compliance for Non-Profits.

She recalled that the Nigerian Government has in recent times, expressed significant concerns about the rise of money laundering and terrorist financing, especially within the non-profit sector while noting that despite the large number of NPOs registered with the CAC, only, a significantly small number have registered with the Special Control Unit on Money Laundering (SCUML), in the past five years.

She maintained the need for heads of Nonprofits along with their staff, to undergo training on the amended Money Laundering Prohibition Act (MLPA) of 2011. Limitations on cash transactions and receipt as well as the process of conducting background checks on beneficiary or sponsors to ensure they are risk assessed of ML and TF before being on-board, especially on international payments relating to NPO programmes were part of points she highlighted during her training session.

“For accountability checks, every organization is required to have at the very least, a petty cash book, a cash book, a request form, and the reconciliation form”, noted Timothy Odion, Head of Finance, NNNGO. He concluded the two-day event by training participants on financial and organisational accountability while underlining the importance of daily record-keeping.

Extreme Poverty: A Threat to Human Security

It is believed that wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are typically violated.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG) is to end extreme poverty by 2030 which seeks to ensure social protection for the poor and eradicating it remains one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. The world wonders if the goals are in view, if the goals are soundly on track to sweep out poverty in line with AGENDA 2030; or if the goals are indeed extremely ambitious according to FORBES.

While poverty has been historically accepted in some parts of the world as inevitable, especially the developing nations, for the population now grows faster than the available resources, nonetheless making wealth scarce for many, which inevitably calls to action: social protection systems need an urgent implementation to help alleviate global sufferings.

During the 1970s, World Bank’s policy was meant to use funds to raise the productivity and living standards of the poor, yet in spite of these intensive reduction strategies, the poverty level in several countries of the world still remains pathetically low.  Recent researches have also demonstrated that several families are in constant dire need of basic amenities.

World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than 1.90 dollars per day, and moderate poverty as less than $3.10 a day. It has been estimated that in 2008, 1.4 billion people had consumption levels below $1.25 a day, while 2.7 billion lived on less than $2 a day. Another research estimates that 1.44 billion people live in extreme poverty as UNICEF’s figures show almost 385 million children survive on less than $1.90 a day.

Reports by World Bank data further reveals worldwide inequality and poverty, the data reveals half of the 767 million people living on less than 1.90 dollars a day in 2013 were under 18, these unarguably indicates that much effort is indeed needed to meet the SDG 1 to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.

With this year marking the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the General Assembly on 22nd December 1992, 17th October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, this years’ theme: Coming Together with Those Furthest Behind To Build An Inclusive World Of Universal Respect For Human Rights And Dignity, reaches out to all developing nations to ensure that NO ONE IS INDEED LEFT BEHIND.

Despite the tremendous progress in reducing extreme poverty, rates remain stubbornly high still in low-income countries especially those affected by conflict and political unrest.

Unless action is taken, Sub-Saharan Africa will be home to more than 86% of the world’s extreme poor, for the number of people living in extreme poverty is concentrated in some of these most unstable and populous parts of Africa, raising the risk of political violence and devastating disease outbreaks.

With global estimates of child poverty inaccurately unavailable, some reports, however, reveal that Sub-Saharan Africa houses the largest share of the world’s extremely poor children.

According to the UN, Nigeria is the third most populous country in the world. Currently, with some new report (JUNE 2018) reveals that the country with an estimated population of 198 million, has overtaken India (1.3 billion) as the country with the highest number of poor people in the world.

Nigeria has about 7 people going into poverty every minute. An obvious reason, Nigeria’s population is growing faster than its economy.

SOME CAUSES OF POVERTY

  • Little or no access to employment
  • Inadequate access to good food and clean water
  • Conflict, war and violence. Nigeria’s eight-year conflict with Boko Haram has resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 civilians. Approximately 2.1 million people have been displaced by the conflict while 7 million need humanitarian assistance.
  • World Bank estimates that climate change like drought, flood and earthquakes have the power to push more than 100 million people into poverty over the next ten years.
  • Zero education. UNESCO estimates that 171 million people could be lifted out of extreme poverty if they left school with basic reading skills cum quality education.

Today, more than one billion people live without necessary amenities, the number of people, who lived below the federal poverty line has gone way beyond the sky. With flat incomes stuck at historically high levels, one might assume that chronic economic insecurity which has obviously resulted in poverty might just be the new normal.

SOME STEPS TO CUT POVERTY AND INCREASE ECONOMIC GROWTH

  • Develop and implement rapid and sustained economic growth policies and programs, in areas such as health, education, agriculture, gender equality etc.
  • Invest in and implement agricultural programs.
  • Create and improve access to jobs and raise incomes.
  • Provide access to technology and innovation
  • Encourage countries to engage in trade as a path out of poverty, for trade is key to growth and prosperity.

FACTS ABOUT GLOBAL POVERTY

  • Nearly half of the world’s population, more than 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die every day due to poverty while another 1 billion live in poverty.
  • 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.
  • More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. Diarrhoea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kill an estimated 842,000 people every year globally and approximately 2,300 people every day.
  • In 2011, 165 million children under age 5 had stunted growth due to chronic malnutrition.
  • As of 2013, 21.8 million children under 1 year of age worldwide had not received the three recommended doses of vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
  • A quarter of the world lives without electricity, approximately 1.6 billion people.
  • According to Oxfam, it would take $60 billion annually to end extreme global poverty.

The World Food Programme says, “The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.” Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

NO GIRL! NO WOMAN!! NO LIFE!!!

NO GIRL! NO WOMAN!! NO LIFE!!!

The world’s 1.1 billion girls are a source of power, innovation, strength and creativity.

Today, 11th October 2017, Nigeria Network of NGOs joins partners all over the world in marking the International Day of the Girl to recognize the imperativeness of empowering and investing in girls.

This year focuses on the theme ‘With Her: A Skilled Girl Force’.  The world must also focus on the need to invest in healthy, skilled and resilient (girl force) a key to competing effectively in the global economy.

Many countries have records of Girl Child being denied of human rights and sometimes her basic needs. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, sets the basic human rights of children; the right to survival and development of potential; protection from harmful influences, abuses and exploitation and full participation in family, cultural and social life.

Based on their gender, girls increasingly face gender inequality. This inequality includes access to quality education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, protection from discrimination and child marriage. According to the International Labor Organization, 1 out of 3 girls will be sexually abused before they reach age 18.

The message is clear, globally, more than 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24, and more than 90% of these young people live in developing countries with the girls suffering the most. Research also reveals two-thirds of the 774 million illiterates in the world is female.

Despite transformation in the last decade, millions of girls are still denied right to education, more than 62 million girls around the world have no access to education. Of these 17 million are expected never to see nor sit in the four walls of schools. Several countries have millions of girls out of school: In Nigeria, there are almost five and a half million of them, many of them missing out on the chance to learn vital skills for employment and livelihood.

Worldwide, girls ages 5 to 14 spend more than 160 million hours more on household chores. To achieve gender equality and other SDGs, many now recognize that it is essential to support and invest in girls.

Girls deserve better and because they deserve better, the 1.1 billion girls of today’s world are beginning to challenge the status quo. The World Bank opines that girls with education grow into women who “tend to be healthier, participate more in the formal labour market, earn higher incomes, have fewer children with better health care and education.”

A substantial number of young girls in the world face various challenges that are often overlooked. Some of the risks include child marriage, early pregnancy, unsafe abortion, HIV and other STIs and genital mutilation to mention a few.

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 100 million to 140 million girls and women have undergone genital mutilation with another 3 million at risk of the practice every year.

Skills for girls are one of the best strategies for protecting girls against child marriage. UNESCO notes that 116 million women across developing countries worldwide have never completed primary school, while two-thirds of the illiterate population worldwide is female.

With 5.5million girls out of school and without skills, Nigeria leads Africa in gender inequality. 2018 records about 12 million girls under 18 will be married, and 21 million girls aged 15 to 19 years will become pregnant even in developing nations.

Nigeria, with her workforce of about 77 million people, accounts for about 42% of the total population. Between 2014 and 2015, over four million young Nigerians entered the labour market, experiencing a growth of 53% between 2011 and 2015.

However, The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) opines that Nigeria is losing out on a literate and skilled workforce, many thanks to the huge number of out of school children.

The world needs to begin to realize that girls’ education has a huge impact on all societies. Research reveals that skilled female is more likely to find work; are less likely to have children at an early age; skilled girls can save millions of lives: If all women are skilled, there would be 15% fewer child deaths.

Skilled women are less likely to die in childbirth: If all mothers completed primary education, maternal deaths would be reduced by two-thirds, saving 98,000 lives

Girls with higher levels of skills are less likely to get married at an early age, with 14% fewer child marriages.

Gender gap raises some fine questions. Why are boys more valued than girls? For the fact that  age, income, culture, ethnicity and other intersecting factors are not often times factored, then gender must be treated as such, SDG5 must come to play and stay globally.

The world could begin by drawing attention and invest on the most pressing need which is creating opportunities for girls to embrace several skills for an established SKILLED GIRL FORCE.

To have a SKILLED GIRL FORCE, the world must invest and expand access to inclusive skills aside the job and educational skills, skills like professionalism, organizational, leadership and management, team building, analytical, life-skills and personal life skills all of these put together are believed would mold and transform them into an effective and productive FORCE today and tomorrow.

The Manifestation of Development in Everyday Life

The Manifestation of Development in Everyday Life

Since the adoption of the SDGs, experts, civil society actors, and concerned intellectuals have had a lot to say about them. We have heard speeches, read articles, opinion pieces and more about what the achievement of the SDGs would mean for us as individuals, a country, a continent, and a planet. From iterating the simple meaning of the term, Sustainable Development Goals to speaking about each of the pieces that make it up, one would be inclined to think that quite a lot of discussions go on about the global goals, right?

However, I bet when you go into the streets to ask average citizens what the sustainable development goals are, 90% -95% would gift you with responses ranging from a blank stare to derisive laughter, depending on how informed your pool of respondents is. It, therefore, begs the question, who discusses what?

It seems to me that to a large extent, developmental issues and especially issues around the SDGs are in some way abstract or esoteric. I was recently embroiled in an argument about the non-abstractness of the goals and although I tried to do justice to my position, I was left feeling like not much was done. For some reason, it seems to me that developmental issues are not gaining much traction with the people that matter; citizens. If they were, shouldn’t at the barest minimum, every school-going child know what they are?

A keynote speaker at a conference I attended last year spoke about how citizens need to begin to do more in terms of having and owning their voices. She had noted that with the huge human capital in Africa, especially since majority include young people between ages 15 to 45, more concern should be given the fact that our past, presents are futures are decided by a “few old men” in a room. The speaker had been affronted by what she called the “lack of attention of youths to matters of development”. She said she found it worrisome that youths had imbibed the notion of individuality over the African Ubuntu philosophy and this could only spell doom for sustainability.

In retrospect, this kind of brings me to the #LazyNigerianYouths movement. Even though I felt insulted and unappreciated by that statement made by the President at an International gathering no less, I may now be inclined to not completely fault that statement. I sense a general air of malaise/fatigue when speaking with young people about hope for our country. We have been conditioned to manage our expectations because “the country is not smiling” and perhaps this is why many young men and women risk it all to leave the country. In my opinion, of every six young Nigerian you meet, five aspire to “escape” Nigeria to “any other country but here”, four are in the process of “arranging to leave” while two will succeed to the chagrin of the other three people. All with no intention of returning. Some may argue that these young people are cowards but sometimes I think, “can you really blame anyone for not wanting to stay?”.

When you begin to explain the SDGs in terms of food provision, access to social amenities, income generation and provision of the basic needs of a person and all these are tied to the rights a person is entitled to as a world citizen, you have the attention of people who had, minutes prior to your explanation, given you an impatient shrug as to why you are being a disturbance on a hot Tuesday afternoon. There is more than a likely chance, that this would happen when your discussants are people in rural or hard-to-reach communities but when confronted with more informed individuals, you have a harder nut to crack it would seem.

Citizens who have a more than sparse knowledge of the goals would argue that the global goals are an agenda cooked up by international communities who see the need to be the prince charming for the clueless damsel which African countries constantly prove themselves to be. Even though they make my job harder to do, can they, honestly be blamed for thinking that way?

 

African leaders are not exactly known for initiating conversation along the lines of sustainable and developmentally-inclined policies. Someone once said, “In Nigeria, it is about the now, no one really cares about the survival of future generations”. In fact, I have been privy to one or two discussions about the inability of the government to implement the goals in totality…wait, that’s a little too mild. Many people, especially youths who are now jaded by the never-ending “promise and fall” attitude of authorities have blatantly expressed derision as to the notion that any government, especially an African one could achieve complete and total development.

Regardless of what is being done about the SDGs and their implementation at the moment, I bet many people, are plagued by the question; “So what Happens after 2030?” After all, we are already three years into the adoption of the SDGs.

PART F of Companies and Allied Matters Act (Part F of CAMA)

On 7 August 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the CAMA ACT into law setting an important landmark in the ease of doing business and registration for both business and nonprofits.

On Tuesday 15 May 2018, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria passed the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990(CAP C20, LFN 2004) Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, 2018 (“the bill”). The bill consolidates the proposed amendments from two related bills: Companies and Allied Matters Act CAP C20 LFN 2004(Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Companies and Allied Matters Act CAP C20 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The new Bill has now been renamed from “Part C to the Companies and Allied Matters (Part C of CAMA) to Part F to the Companies and Allied Matters (Part F of CAMA)”.

The Bill aims to establish an efficient way of registering an organisation with ease, minimize the compliance burden of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and bringing Nigeria’s foremost commercial law in line with international best practices.

When transmitted to the President in May 2019, he withheld his assent based on sections 26 (5) which took away the powers of the Attorney General to approve the registration of Companies Limited by Guarantee. On November 28th, 2018, the President wrote to the National Assembly seeking amendments to the CAMA Bill as passed by the 8th Assembly. Specifically, the letter reads:

Pursuant to Section 58 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
1999 as amended, I hereby forward the Companies and Allied Matters and other related matters Bill 2019 for consideration and passage into law by the Senate.

“The Senate may wish to note that in this bill, Section 26(5) of the extant companies and Allied Matters Act has been amended to:

a. Preserve the powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation to approve the registration of companies limited by guarantee and
b. Reflect the ease of doing business principles in a veto order (1) of 2017 on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment.

While I look forward to the usual expeditious consideration and passage of this bill, please accept the assurances of my highest consideration”.

In March 2020, the National Assembly passed the CAMA bill based on the President’s requests in his letter above.

Please download the CAMA 2020 Act here

Please download the Part F of CAMA document here

 

Reviewing the Costed Implementation Plan for Routine Immunization in Lagos State.

Reviewing the Costed Implementation Plan for Routine Immunization in Lagos State.

LAGOS, Nigeria –/ A fully immunized child is one who has received the complete doses of the standard six antigens – BCG, Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis (DTP) (3 doses), polio (3 doses), and measles vaccines. Globally, there are about 19.5million un/under-immunized children with 18% of them live in Nigeria.

A survey conducted in 2017 using a Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) showed that only about 23% of children in Nigeria were fully immunized in the last one year leaving 77% not fully immunized. In addition, statistics from the National Immunization Coverage Survey (NICS) 2017 for Lagos State showed that 68% of children aged 12-23 months received full immunization. This implies that although RI coverage in Lagos is impressive, there is still a lot more work to be done to achieve 100% coverage with the intention of leaving no child behind.

Understanding the critical role civil society organisations can play in attaining the 100% coverage goal for RI in Lagos State, NNNGO-PAS, following up on a civil society mapping exercise in March 2018, organised a strategy meeting with the Lagos State Accountability Mechanism (LASAM) on Friday 21, 2018 to review the costed implementation work plan for RI in Lagos State and to identify areas for advocacy. Organising a strategy meeting at this time was therefore not simply timely, but key to ensuring effective implementation of the RI costed implementation plan in Lagos state especially as governments begin preparations for 2019 RI year.

“We must begin to articulate more focused areas of advocacy that would improve RI funding and coverage in Lagos State now and in the coming year-2019” said Oyebisi, B. Oluseyi, NNNGO-PAS Program Director, who noted that part of the objectives of the meeting was to engage meaningfully with government and other critical stakeholders through a technical review of the costed implementation plan for RI in Lagos State, new domestic funding schemes and conduct feasibility updates on same.

Ayo Adebusoye, NNNGO-PAS Programs Officer further explained that the meeting also aimed at identifying capacity gaps amongst accountability mechanisms in the State, setting the foundation for addressing identified gaps with a view to strengthening and amplifying civil society’s voice on RI issues.

As with many other states in the country, issues of inadequate financing for routine immunization and untimely releases is playing out strongly in Lagos, a State that prides itself as a centre of excellence. History proves that these issues have plagued reproductive health for a long time. A report released by InfoGuide Nigeria in May 2018, noted that “vaccines have always been problematic for Nigeria primarily because funds are insufficient or were not released on time”.

The aforementioned roadblocks to RI service provision and delivery are compounded by inadequate cold chain infrastructure, weak preventive maintenance system of cold chain systems leading to rapid and continuous breakdown, inadequate supportive supervision, weak monitoring and lack of data for action as well as the slow integration of private providers in RI service delivery.

Needless to say, there is an urgent need to intensify advocacy for a sustained increase in allocation to RI and timely release of such funds. Specifically, critical stakeholders must begin to tackle these issues by ensuring that governments fulfil their commitments to RI with emphasis on adequate funding.

End

Member Crush Monday (SAMI)

Member Crush Monday (SAMI)

The disease is called Sickle Cell Anaemia. The sufferers are called ‘Sicklers’ and sadly so, the disease currently has no cure.

Born September 1st 1965 to a professor of medicine (father) and a trained nurse for a mother, Toyin’s educational journey thus began at the University of Lagos staff school; Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School and then unto The Lagos State University where she graduated with a degree in Economics in 1992.

Oluwatoyin, sickle cell warrior of over 50 years, admitted that sickle cell disease can be managed and avoided and that the crisis is better imagined than experienced for they are overwhelming and often times annoyingly disrupting lives of sufferers and that of their families.

With a mission to empower and improve lives that have been attacked and ravaged by sickle cell anaemia disorder – by educating, providing support and transforming them such that sufferers begin to live healthy, positive and interesting lives even amidst their challenges.

Author of the book ‘STILL STANDING’, the book tells of the writer’s struggle, physical, psychological and emotional pains she went through and how with courage and determination she was and has been able to beat all odds.

Throwing herself into several projects, like project STILL STANDING, TOUCH A CELL, CLUB STILL STANDING, Toyin, although small in stature, she has been able to showcase massive might by going all the way to transforming lives especially people living with the sickle cell disease, she is currently the Executive Director and founder of Sickle Cell Advocacy and Management Initiative (SAMI)

Health & Chronic illness coach, author and motivational speaker, Oluwatoyin, AKA – STILL STANDING is a woman that can vividly be described as the “small girl with a big God”. She enjoys reading, writing and listening to music.

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 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.

 

— End—

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.

DOCUMENTS TO BE MADE AVAILABLE BY YOUR ORGANIZATION – NGO

DOCUMENTS TO BE MADE AVAILABLE BY YOUR ORGANIZATION – NGO

Nonprofits across the country have begun to witness a trend of routine inspection by officials of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML and Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. These visits are part of the mandate of SCUML and EFCC to determine the compliance rate of Nigerian NPOs with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Finance of Terrorism, AML/CFT regime and serve as a way for government to better keep track of the activities of NPOs. Ultimately, they help to ensure that NPOs are not vulnerable to risks of being used as conduits for Money Laundering, ML and Terrorism Financing, TF.

A routine inspection by SCUML is often heralded by an official letter stating the dates and time the visit will occur; along with a list of documents they would like to see during their visit (Below is the list). The Executive Director or whoever is the head of the organisation is expected to be available to receive them.

DOCUMENTS TO BE MADE AVAILABLE BY YOUR ORGANIZATION – NGO

  1. General/Sales transaction ledger (2014 to date)
  2. Statement of accounts for the last 12 months
  3. Organisational chart (Organogram)
  4. AML/CFT related policies/manual for staff training
  5. Summary of litigation by and against your institution, including current status and the potential impact upon conclusion
  6. List of your institution’s affiliated companies/subsidiaries
  7. Breakdown of all grants, donations, contributions and gifts made to your organisation (including material donations) above N1million from 2014 to date
  8. Summary of all completed and ongoing programmes/projects from 2014 to date
  9. List of beneficiaries of your programmes/projects in tune of N160,000 and above from 2014 to date

Note that the team will sight the originals of the documents listed above.

WPChat