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Odinkalu replies Umar Jibril, says NGO bill anti-democracy, inspired by military tendencies

The former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu has replied Hon. Umar Buba Jibril on the ongoing controversies surrounding the attempt to regulate Non-Government Organisations (NGO) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in Nigeria, reports ITRealms.

Odinkalu also described Jibiril attempt to justify the bill as desperate and poor as well as anti-democratic, military dictatorship inspired NGO bill

Reacting to Hon. Umar Jibril, Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Reps attempt in Abuja at the weekend and who now claimed in a press statement made available to ITRealms, that his NGO Bill is needed because NGO's are sponsoring terrorism.

“That needs an immediate response,” he said, arguing that the desperation in the release “doesn't bear thinking about. Almost every line in the release by Hon. Jibril drips with cheap mendacity. It's difficult to think that Hon. Jibril himself has even read the bill that he claims to be sponsoring.

Prof. Odinkalu decried the fact that this is coming from a supposed National Assembly, which has refused to say categorically, how much its members earn.

“It is irresponsible for the leadership of the NASS to claim that NGOs who are sponsoring terrorism or stealing money in the North East can only be dealt with after we have got a new law, surely. Or violating immigration laws? You mean there are no laws, nor means now to put them out of business? You just need to mention this to realise how specious it sounds,” he said.

Pointed out that Nigeria has a report, done by the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, no less, on the stealing by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, which is being branded under the guess of ‘grass cutting’ in the North East, which is being blocked from being released to Nigerians.

“Would the report still be vegetating on some unknown shelf if it was about some PDP villain?” he asked.

Odinkalu equally noted that in 2011, the Galtimari Report on the situation in the North East made explicit identification and recommendations on those supporting Boko Haram and what to do with them.

“The White Paper on the report explicitly recommended prosecution. Those people are still in, around or hob-nobbing with government. No one in either the Osinbajo Panel's work, or the Galtimari Report or in any of the work since then, has named any NGO as funding terrorism. Obviously, that would be beyond any pale. But the named politicians enjoy protection from the same people conducting this smear,” he observed.

Declaring that “Terrorism has become the currency of the moment” Prof. Odinkalu emphasized that looking at the models they cite: “Israel, where their law is used to target Palestinian NGOs & NGOs that work with Palestinians; Kenya where their NGO law was unlawfully used to try to de-register NGOs that blew the whistle on the rigging of the recent elections.”


The Kenyan Supreme Court decision recently vindicated the NGOs, decrying that in Uganda the NGO law is being used to oppress and de-register those advocating against President Museveni's eternal presidency project as he sets about lifting age limits that bar him from running again.

Chuks Egbune/GEE 
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