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Lagos State Civil Society Participation for Development, LACSOP, has raised concerns about the direct and indirect regulation of Civil Society Groups in some states in Nigeria.
LACSOP, an umbrella body for CSOs in Lagos also highlighted that it is high time that CS groups begin to collaborate with government, to drive positive change in the society while ,noting the need for the complexities of each sector to be understood and develop suitable strategies for collaboration in the course of interventions been carried out by organisations in their various thematic areas of operations.These were part of the highlights of the discussion at the general meeting of the group which held on the 6th of January in Ikeja, Lagos.
Speaking at the meeting, Mrs. Dede Kadiri, the Executive Secretary of LACSOP explained that there have been several attempts by Federal and State legislatures to develop laws that seek to regulate the civil society sector without recourse to existing legal and tax legislations in framing the sector’s overall transparency and accountability. She noted that, In August 2020, the Part B and C (now Part F) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) was reviewed, repealed, and passed as part of the larger review of the country’s company regulatory framework.
CSO members present raised concerns and argued that the issues of multiple regulation in states by the government has made operations of NGOs and CSOs operation weighty emphasizing the fact that NGOs/CSOs are non-profit and not profit making.
Mrs. Kadiri thereafter mentioned that, “it is a known fact that CSOs are essential building block of development and national cohesion. As partners of both public and private sectors, CSOs make key inputs to government policies based on their experiences in communities where they work which reflects the views /opinions of the constituents. “While the role of CSOs is crucial to facilitating the achievement of the sustainable development goals (2030 Agenda) in the nation which is now more significant in the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, CSOs are facing a herculean task in accomplishing this objective.”
Mrs. Kadiri stressed that government policies should not be made to impede the work of CSOs, but that CSOs should be considered as partners that can help the government to fulfill its mandate. Barr Ayo Adebusoye, member of the Board of Trustees, LACSOP, thereafter charged CSO members present at the event to continue to position themselves as effective tools that can help to drive development to the grassroot and not relent on thier numerous efforts so far.
The meeting concluded, there is therefore a crucial need to review existing regulatory frameworks (laws, rules, and regulations by the government) for purpose of understanding and clarity on harmonization and coordination of CSOs registration and regulations at the sub-national level.This as sighted by members is however important if CSOs are to continue working in the interest of nation building, promoting good governance through voice and accountability and evidenced based research. Members present at the event include representatives from NGOs, CSOs, Community based groups, disability clusters and faith based organizations.