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By Sola Ogundipe

The Lagos State Civil Society Participation for Development, LACSOP, has raised concerns about the direct and indirect regulation of Civil Society Groups in some states in Nigeria.

LACSOP,  umbrella body for Civil Society Groups, CSOs, in Lagos has therefore called for strong collaboration between CSOs and government to drive positive change in the society.

LACSOP  noted that the complexities of each sector should be understood for the development of suitable strategies for collaboration in the course of interventions by organisations in their various thematic areas of operations.

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The  Executive Secretary of LACSOP, Mrs Dede Kadiri, said several attempts by Federal and State legislatures to develop laws that seek to regulate the civil society sector had been without recourse to existing legal and tax legislations in framing the sector’s overall transparency and accountability.

Kadiri, who spoke at LACSOP’s maiden general meeting for 2022, said in August 2020, the Part B and C (now Part F) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) was reviewed, repealed, and passed as part of the larger review of the country’s company regulatory framework.

“It is a known fact that CSOs are essential building blocks of development and national cohesion. As partners of both public and private sectors, CSOs make key inputs to government policies based on their experiences in communities where they work which reflects the views /opinions of the constituents.

“While the role of CSOs is crucial to facilitating the achievement of the sustainable development goals (2030 Agenda) in the nation which is now more significant in the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, CSOs are facing a herculean task in accomplishing this objective,” Kadiri stated.

She harped that government policies should not impede the work of CSOs, that are partners helping the government fulfil its mandate.

A member of the Board of Trustees, LACSOP,  Barrister Ayo Adebusoye, charged CSO members to continue to position themselves as effective tools that can help to drive development to the grassroots and not relent.

Participants generally called for a crucial need to review existing regulatory frameworks (laws, rules, and regulations by the government towards the understanding,  clarity on harmonisation, and coordination of registration of CSOs and regulations at the sub-national level.

Among others, they raised concerns over multiple regulatory processes even as they emphasised that   NGOs/CSOs are essentially not-for-profit.

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