BY KUNLE OLASANMI, Abuja –
A rights activist and former national secretary of Labour Party (LP), Dr Kayode Ajulo, has threatened legal action towards ensuring that the controversial non-governmental organisation, NGO, Bill is passed.
While speaking with newsmen in Abuja, yesterday the lawyer said human traffickers, shylock businessmen and dubious individuals have hijacked non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Nigeria, stressing that they now use NGOs to defraud hard working Nigerians.
Ajulo, in his reaction to the raging controversy over plans by the House of Representatives to create a Commission that will regulate activities of NGOs in the country, flayed Bishop Hassan Kukah, for misinforming gullible Nigerians about the Bill, stating that such was against the teaching of Catholic Church.
He wondered why he did not tell Nigerians how tugs tried to frustrate efforts by lawful citizens to attend the public hearing of the bill recently at the National Assembly.
According to him, passage of the bill only aimed at separating “wheat from the chaffs”, and not towards stifling genuine NGOs as being speculated.
The NGO bill intends to establish an agency to be known as the NGO Regulatory Commission. The body, if created, will be saddled with the responsibility of issuing licenses to all NGOs and such licenses are subject to renewal after two years of issuance.
He said, “There is the need for government to maintain control over these NGOs precisely because of their access to funds which needed to be accounted for.
“It is important for government to know the financial strength of every NGO, how funds are sourced, and the sources of the funds, what purpose it is used for and must also be audited to avoid corrupt tendencies and block funding of terrorism and civil unrest, ethnic rivalry among others.
“Today in Nigeria, we have shylock businessmen, traffickers, and dubious individuals whose sole aim is to exploit the public masquerading as owners of NGOs and labelling themselves as activists thereby using this medium to confuse, mislead and defraud unsuspecting members of the public. This ugly trend must be checked and that is why I agree with this Bill which seeks to separate the wheat from the chaffs.
“I therefore posit, without equivocation, that rather than the proposed bill being labelled as ‘the worst piece of legislation since return to democracy in 1999’, it could perhaps become the best. I urge Nigerians to please get in touch with ourselves and ask what exactly do we want from this country.
“I urge us to reach the conclusion that the greatness of Nigeria and indeed the black race, rests on how much we are ready to concede from our hardened positions. The vehement attack on the bill is, to say the least, surprising and unwarranted and leaves a bad taste in the mouth and fear in the heart. This bill which is intended to regulate the NGOs will no doubt reposition it for optimal performance.”