COMMITTEE for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, has said that the Bill for an Act for the Establishment of the Non-Governmental Organisations Regulatory Commission, proposed by the House of Representatives, to regulate Non-Governmental Organisations, would repress the voice of the people and subjugate civil society groups in Nigeria.
The CDHR said the Bill is utterly unnecessary and not serve any public interest and therefore, should not be passed.
Besides, it argued that the right of Nigerians to a democratic society with fundamental freedoms remained inalienable and that any attempt to subjugate that right must be resisted.
In a statement on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, signed by Henry Peter Ekine, its national publicity secretary, and made available to the media, the CDHR warned that the said Bill, if allowed to become law, has the potential to threaten democratic ideals.
“Democracy succeeds on the principles of fundamental freedoms and citizens’ participation. CDHR stated that there are already sufficient provisions and legal frameworks in our body of laws that regulate the formation, registration, operations and finances of NGOs/CSOs,” the statement said.
The CDHR, thus, charged Nigerians to compel the National Assembly to rather focus on making laws that would “improve the welfare of citizens as ultimate priority; promote good-governance, eradicate all forms of servitude, stop the violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, especially economic and social rights, not undermining civil, political, as well as cultural rights.” It said that the National Assembly must make laws that demonstrate real commitment, concern and value for the lives of Nigerians anywhere and at all times, failure of which the collective capacity of citizens to enforce their inalienable rights would be activated.
According to the CDHR, the civil and political rights of citizens (the first generation rights) as well as the social, economic and cultural rights (the second generation rights) must be seen to be protected. “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, provides for the civil and political rights under Chapter IV as the Fundamental Human Rights. These rights are connected to the social, economic and cultural rights provided in the Constitution under Chapter II as the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy. The National Assembly must make only laws that improve security, safety and welfare as well as protect the rights of citizens,” the statement said.
The foremost human rights group, under the leadership of Malachy Ugwummadu, its president, therefore, called on the National Assembly to immediately heed the views of Nigerians as represented at the public hearing on the Bill. The CDHR also enjoined “Nigerians and all persons of conscience to #StandUp4HumanRights and speak out in condemnation of the Bill; remain firm and demand an immediate end to this Bill; ensure it is never passed to law.”
– Dec. 15, 2017 @ 14:36 GMT