by Grace Anisulowo

The West Africa Civil Society Institute, WACSI, has called on journalists in Nigeria, not to give limelight to unregistered civil society organisations in the country.

Head of Unit, Knowledge Management, WACSI, Mr. Jimm Chick Fomunjong made the call at a maiden local fundraising training for CSOs in Nigeria. The training had 17 participants drawn from 9 CSOs who were vigorously trained on local fundraising, held in Abuja.

He urged journalists to check CSOs that churn out press releases if they are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission or not so as to foster professionalism and work ethics of the journalism profession.

According to him, “In Nigeria we have the Corporate Affairs Commission to recognise these organisations that are credible. And so while the CAC is doing their work, Nigeria is very vast so there could be limitations to identify all of this. However the onus lies on every citizen of goodwill.

“If you know an organisation that has traces of corrupt activities existing without legal authority, I’m sure the CAC will be willing to entertain such reports so that it helps them to investigate. We can use that as an opportunity to flush out these entities that are not operating under legally binding means and it will really help to sanitise the sector.

“I think we should keep some degree of sanity within the sector and everyone can play a role, if the media actors, reputable media houses and journalists receive such reports and you doubt it, don’t give them visibility and highlight such stories. They should find a way to report it to the credible and competent authorities and I’m sure the right measures will be put in place. In doing so, we are all contributing to sanitize the sector as much as possible.

“All NGOs should ensure they go for a cause, so as to get rid of greed for money. They should also ensure accountability by reporting back to the donors that sponsor them to boost their legitimacy. If they do this, we are going to eliminate the perception that NGOs are out for money and be able to identify those that are actually out for the money.”

On her part, a participant, Aver Akighir of the Hope Alive for Possibilities Initiative, said CSOs must come up with a policy document that should be sent to the federal government for approval and would checkmate non-governmental organizations.

She said, “NGOs are meant for service to humanity. You must not own an NGO before you render service to humanity, you can identify some NGOs that are working and their services align with the service you render and volunteer with them.

“If there are NGOs that are registering because of money then they are not different from the politicians they solely criticise. It’s a big burden to identify some of these unregistered CSOs, that is why CSOs are coming up with guidelines and modalities to check NGOs.

“These modalities, NGOs must follow to classify them certified. They must be registered and if they fail to register, the body will not recognise them. So when that is in place then we can be able to checkmate this. We hope before the end of the year we would be able to come up with the guidelines because the government is tired already of all these NGOs coming up everyday here and there. The government sees NGOs now like scammers, so the CSOs need to rise up now and protect their image, hence, the need for the guidelines.

“CAC is not really after monitoring your activities after giving you the certificate, the responsibility of checkmating NGOs is the responsibility of civil society organisations.

“CSOs must come up with a policy that is guiding NGOs and NGOs should also be encouraged to subscribe to those modalities to be made clean. When we submit the document to the government and they accept and adopt it, that is when we now start work on the NGOs that are operating in Nigeria”.

@Damilola Anisulowo

Related Articles

Leave a Comment