Boko Haram: House to Probe Closure of CSOs, NGOs Offices in N’East Region

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

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 shutting down of their operations by the Nigerian military in the North-east region of the country.

The committee Chairman, Hon. Kabir Idris, disclosed this during an oversight function to the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Nigeria.

The chairman in a statement issued yesterday 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 actions also has a key role to play in regulating the activities of NGOs, CSOs, and to some extent, donor agencies and development partners.

Idris said recently, there had been a lot of controversy and misinformation relating to the activities of some of these NGOs and the funding organisations, and how such funds are being expended.

He stressed that some of the fallouts of these controversies and misinformation led to the shutting down of some NGOs’ regional offices by the military.

The lawmaker noted that the committee considered the situation as unfortunate because the country desperately needs the assistance for the people who are victims of the insurgency.

However, he stated 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 scrutinised, 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 causes of such incidents, and also gather other necessary information required for decision making.”

While speaking, the Deputy Head of the Delegation (Prevention), Mr. Rochus Peyer, said the ICRC would continue to expand its operations in the North-east region in order to respond to the growing humanitarian needs of the people by providing assistance to the internally displaced persons (IDPs).