Tony Akowe, Abuja
The House of Representatives said it will investigate controversies surrounding the activities of some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), which led to the shutdown of their operations by the Military.
Chairman of House Committee on Civil Societies and Development Partners, Kabir Idris, said this when he led members of his committee on a visit to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Abuja.
He however underscored the needs for effective monitoring, investigation, and constant evaluation of the activities of the CSOs activities for better productivity.
He said: “We are aware that there are a lot of humanitarian organisations operating in the North-Eastern part of the country, including the ICRC, and other local and international NGOs.
“We are also aware that the funding for most of these aid activities comes from international donors, and that such funds run into hundreds of millions of dollars.
“In recent times, there has been a lot of controversy and misinformation about the activities of some of these NGOs and the funding organizations, and how such funds are being expended.
“One of the fallouts of these controversies and misinformation was the shutting down of some NGO regional offices by the military. That, in our opinion, was a very unfortunate situation because the truth of the matter is that we desperately need the assistance for our brothers and sisters and children who are victims of the insurgency.
“However, such incidents could only have happened because of a lack of effective monitoring, investigation, and constant evaluation of the activities of CSOs and NGOs operating in the country.
“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 resolved 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 National Assembly as the 3rd Arm of Government charged with the responsibilities of making laws for the good governance of the people and holding the Executive arm to account for its policies, actions, and spending, also has a key role to play in regulating the activities of NGOs, CSOs and to some extent donor agencies and development partners.
“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.
“However, our understanding of the mode of operation of organisations such as yours, the ICRC, is imperative if we are to effectively carry out our oversight mandate.”