REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR CSOs: GOVT REGULATORY AGENCIES, CSOs, OTHERS DELIBRATE ON OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT
By WONNE Afronelly
The National Conference on Civil Society Regulatory Environment in Nigeria commenced yesterday September 13 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria. With about 300 on set and 1000 virtual participants comprising of CSOs, Government Regulatory Agencies, Legislators, the Media State-level Regulatory agencies, Donor Community, Private Sector, Opinion Leaders, Development Partners and other interest groups in the active interactions; a roadmap for a better functional environment for CSOs is to be birthed.
The conference which is currently ongoing in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, started out with discuss on appropriate instruments of regulation and effective processes to regulate CSOs operation in Nigeria. Welcoming all guests and participants at the three-day national conference, the National Programme Manager, ACT program Damilare Babalola said the conference is the first of its kind that brought key stakeholders to discuss critical issues affecting the CSOs to enhance their capacity and generate a perspective of ensuring development in the country.
Recognizing CSOs as partners in progress and the building blocks of every democratic society, Sam Ekwueme representing the Hon Minister of Trade and Investment- Prince Clement Agba; stressed the need for an active simplified framework summing up the over 20 laws guiding CSOs.
Also addressing the participants, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Alexandre Borgis Gomes who represented Madam Samuela Isopi Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS noted that the conference is timely ahead of general elections in Nigeria.
Mr. Jake a representative of persons with disability in his goodwill message thanked the organizers for ensuring a balance in participation taking into cognisance representation from every category in society.
In the same vein, goodwill messages from Lucy Pearson, Country Director, British Council Nigeria, and Lydia Odeh Chief of Party, USAID-SCALE Programmes amongst others highlighted the importance of a unified front for CSOs operations in Nigeria.
Edosa Oviawe, Programs Manager Global Rights Nigeria, who is the Chairman sub-committee of the conference while briefing newsmen at the venue of the event observed that the lack of a unified body that will regulate the activities of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria has put both regulatory agencies and civil society actors at loggerheads. Oviawe explained that the conference is aimed at generating shared understanding and collective perspectives by stakeholders on appropriate instruments of regulation and effective processes to regulate CSOs operation in Nigeria. He stressed that the public should be enlightened about the roles of CSOS and the need for an enabling regulatory environment that protects the sector from repressive legislation.
The maiden edition of the conference is the first of its kind in Nigeria and is supported by the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, EU-Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) Programme through a collaboration of EU-ACT Programme implemented by British Council, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and USAID-Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) aimed at improving the civil society regulatory environment in Nigeria.