By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The House of Representatives has continued, from where it left off last year, its inquiry into allegations that some international Non-governmental Organisations, INGOs were assisting terror groups in advancing their activities in the Northeast part of the country.
Chairman of the House Committee on Civil Society Organisations, Rep. Kabir Mohammed(APC-Kano), disclosed this on Tuesday at the press briefing in Abuja.
Mr. Kabir, who has a wealth of experience working with International humanitarian partners in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East to address humanitarian issues, made the disclosure, while fielding questions on his Committee’s delayed submission of a report on a probe set up in September 2019, assuring that the inquest will resume soon.
“We (the Committee), are going to have a meeting at 3pm, to go to Maiduguri (to conduct the enquiry). Our report is delayed, but it Is not forgotten. Take note of that”, he assured.
According to him, “There is suppose to be a synergy between the military and the INGOs, that is lacking, but we(my Committee), actually engaged them, but there was a security threat, so we were not able to engage the military, because Maiduguri was a no-go area.
“The INGOs too had pulled out and left only the local NGOs there, so we couldn’t go. It was too risky for us to go there and ask questions”.
On the delay in the passage of the NGO Regulations Commission Bill, first introduced by the 8th Assembly, the lawmaker said, the process of its introduction may have been defective, hence the stalling of the process of passage.
“There was an issue about the Bill; it was not introduced properly to members of the House. Many of us believed the Bill was to suppress the NGOs”, he stated, but assured that work was still on the piece of legislation.
He also dispelled the rumour that INGOs were leaving the country in droves, because of a lack of confidence in the government.
“I want to say that is not true. Foreign donors, need us more than we need them. They are not going out. Infact some of them are even on ground now, waiting to partner with us. One of the biggest one, still in the country, is Bill and Melinda Gates. We have been discussing with them, especially on the area of Education.
“We are also partnering on Health Care and other issues”, he said.
Recall that the House, had in September 2019, set up an enquiry into allegations that some international Non-Governmental Organisations domiciled in Nigeria, may be linked to the terror organisation, Boko Haram.
The House resolved to investigate activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the country; as well as reintroduce the bill seeking for monitoring of NGOs by an established commission of government.
These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by Rep. Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC-, Borno) titled “need for special intervention in the security situation in Nigeria”
An amendment proposed by the Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta), the House also agreed to investigate activities of all NGOs operating in the country, in line with the possibility of their link to the terror group Boko Haram and if possible, reintroduce the NGO regulatory bill, which was sponsored by late former deputy House leader, Hon. Buba Jibril in the 8th Assembly.
“I think that it is high time we investigated the NGOs operating in Nigeria, and they should be registered and we should know where they get their funding. Also, we should resolve to visit our brothers in other Parliaments; we complained to the executive”, Mr. ELUMELU, suggested.
His suggestion was adopted.