Leaders of a group of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria have said that the frameworks that regulate the affairs of their organisations are not well understood by many Nigerians.
Development Diaries gathered that the heads of CSO made this known during a webinar tagged, ‘CSOs in Nigeria: A Journey Through Time-History, Impact, and Regulation’.
The online gathering was organised by the European Union’s Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT); Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and the British Council.
The session was moderated by the Executive Director of Sesor Empowerment Foundation, Ier Jonathan-Ichaver.
The leaders of the CSOs said that their activities predate Nigeria’s independence, adding that there was a lack of understanding of the history, impact, and typologies of civil society activities in the country.
The heads of CSOs said that the frameworks that regulate the affairs of their organisations were not well understood, hence, according to them, had been badly administered by the regulators on the one hand, and very poorly complied with by the CSOs, on the other hand.
‘This general lack of knowledge and understanding of the sector has resulted in various misperceptions and malpractices. For example, many people within and outside the Nigerian society hold the perception that Nigerian CSOs mainly receive large donations from foreign donors and that Civil Society actors are living large off these donations
without being sufficiently accountable’, they said in a statement.
‘Added to this, there are allegations from some government agencies that some NGOs are anti-Nigerian government and aiding Boko Haram by giving humanitarian aid to all sides in conflict’.
Going forward, participants said that they expected a better understanding of the sector, its impact, the critical role it plays and its challenges.
They urged the CSOs to adapt to regulatory measures, and strengthen multi-stakeholder engagement with a view to ensuring regulatory frameworks that work for the sector and society.
Other participants included the Programme Manager, Civil Society and Local Authorities, EU Delegation in Nigeria and ECOWAS, John Onyeukwu; the Executive Director of Adolescent
Health and Information Projects (AHIP), Hajiya Mairo Bello; and the Executive Director, Widows and Orphans Empowerment Organisation (WEWE), Dr. Josephine Ogazi.
Photo source: The Sun