By Adedayo Akinwale
The House of Representatives Committee on Civil Societies and Development Partners has stressed the need to investigate the controversies trailing the activities of some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) which led to the shutdown of their operations by the Nigerian military in the North-east.
Its Chairman, Hon. Kabir Idris, disclosed this during an oversight function to the office of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Nigeria.
The committee chairman, in a statement issued Sunday, said the National Assembly as the third arm of government charged with the responsibilities of making laws and holding the executive arm to account for its policies and action, also has a key role to play in regulating the activities of NGOs, CSOs and to some level donor agencies and development partners.
Idris said recently, there had been a lot of controversy and misinformation relating to the activities of some of the NGOs and the funding organisations and how such funds are being expended.
He stressed that some of the fallouts of these controversies and misinformation was the shutting down of some NGO regional offices by the military.
Idris noted that the committee considered the situation as unfortunate because the country desperately needs their assistance for the people who are victims of the insurgency.
However, he stressed that such incidents could only have happened because of lack of effective monitoring, investigation and constant evaluation of the activities of CSOs and NGOs operating in the country.
Against this background, Idris said: “With the complaints from the Nigerian military on the need for the activities of NGOs and development partners to be scrutinized, the Committee on Civil Societies and Development partners therefore resolved, in line with its mandate, to take up the responsibility of carrying out necessary investigations to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of such incidents, and also gather other necessary information required for decision making.
“The key objective is to reduce, if not eliminate the various malpractices of CSOs and NGOs in the course of their operations and ensure accountability. This is where the Committee on Civil Societies and Development Partners comes in.”
The chairman stressed that understanding the mode of operation of organisations such as ICRC was imperative in order to effectively carry out its oversight mandate, hence, the visit of the committee to ICRC.
Speaking, the Deputy Head of the Delegation (Prevention), Mr. Rochus Peyer, said the ICRC would continue to expand its operations in the North-east of Nigeria to respond to the growing humanitarian needs of the people by providing assistance to the internally displaced persons.