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Pro-democracy CSOs advocate support from lawmakers

Stakeholders working for the advancement of democracy, want the 9th national assembly to create laws that will enhance the CSOs capacity to contribute meaningfully to the development of the country.

They made the call in Abuja at a multi-stakeholder review meeting on frameworks for CSOs operation organised by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) with support from the European Union Agents for Citizens-Driven Transformation (EU-ACT) and British Council.

According to them, some sections of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) contained contentious issues meant to shrink the civic space and hinder the effective operation of the CSOs that are working for the interest of the nation.

Executive Director, PLAC, Dr Clement Nwankwo, said it was wrong for the CAMA Act to mandate CSOs to report to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) twice yearly, while companies report once.

Dr Nwankwo advised the National Assembly to remove some of those burdens and ensure CSOs working within civic space are not burdened by the onerous provisions of the bill.

Founder, Albino foundation, Jake Ekpelle who advocates self regulation, pointed out that CSOs are not anti-government, but strongly behind any regulation that will bring sanity to the civic space.

“Although the need for capacity improvement and enabling regulatory environment require attention to strengthen CSO operations in Nigeria, it is, however, expedient to address the concerns around the regulatory framework as several issues embedded therein need to be clarified on current state of confusion among all concerned stakeholders.” Ekpelle said.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora and NGOs, Sen Michael Ama-Nnachi, who disclosed that the 9th senate will conclude work and pass the CAMA bill currently before the assembly into law before their tenure elapses, appreciated PLAC for its commitment in promoting good governance and citizens assets through capacity building, which he said has strengthened the nation’s democratic process.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have asked the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the National Assembly and the Presidency to resolve all contentious issues contained in the amended Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020.

Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Fany Olumoye and Muzha Kucha