The House of Representatives has set up an inquiry on allegations that some international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) domiciled in Nigeria, are providing assistance to terrorist group in Nigeria.
The House resolved to investigate activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the country; as well as reintroduce the bill seeking for monitoring of NGOs by an established commission of government. These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno) titled “need for special intervention in the security situation in Nigeria”
Leading debate on the motion, Monguno, who is the chief whip, noted that Nigeria, in recent times has witnessed an unprecedented level of insecurity, which has made national security a major issue for the government. He said the efforts of President Muhamadu Buhari towards scaling back insecurity in the country, besides other measures to roll back some possible future attacks.
Monguno explained that he was aware of the interaction between the leadership of the House and security chiefs on the worsening security situation in Nigeria.
He appreciated the efforts of the security agencies in bringing the situation under control. “Cognisant of the need for new strategies and expedited action to ensure that insecurity in Nigeria is reduced to the barest minimum”, he stated. In adopting the motion, the House also resolved that its leadership should work with lawmakers in other countries, especially the United States of America (USA) Congress with a “view to overcoming all regulations that bar Nigeria’s security agencies from purchasing arms and ammunition from those countries and the US”.
Following an amendment proposed by the minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP/ Delta), the House also agreed to investigate activities of all NGOs operating in the country, in line with the possibility of their link to the terror group Boko Haram and if possible, reintroduce the NGO regulatory bill, which was sponsored by late former deputy House leader, Hon. Buba Jibril in the 8th Assembly.
Elumelu said that “what we are discussing now has been captured in section 83. So, we should not over flog this matter. What we need to do is to inform the presidency that the security agencies need to be properly funded. “I think that it is high time we investigated the NGOs operating in Nigeria, and they should be registered and we should know where they get their funding.
Also, we should resolve to visit our brothers in other Parliaments; we complained to the executive”.
In his response, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila noted that “we will in due course, have an executive session about the security meeting we had yesterday. Last time, late Hon. Buba Jibril tried to sponsor the NGO’s regulatory bill, there was a public outcry. But after the revelation from the security chiefs yesterday, there is a need to revisit that proposed legislation. We will also be meeting with some of the NGOs because one rotten egg can spoil one basket of eggs”.
Gbajabiamila said further that, “As you’re all aware, the leadership met with the security chiefs for upward of five hours yesterday, this motion by Hon. Monguno is a part of the fallout from that meeting. More will be coming, and this motion is part of the ways to help them to do their job”
Also speaking in favour of the motion, Hon. Ahmadu Usman Jaha (APC, Borno) lamented that Boko Haram was still controlling some parts of the state. he said, although “Boko Haram constitute less than five per cent of the nation’s population”, and wondered why it was becoming difficult to end the insurgency.
According to the Whip, “out of the 10 LGs in northern Borno, only 2 are not under the control of Boko Haram”. The truth of the matter is that we must know exactly what the Boko Haram population is. Which for me, I think, is less than 5 percent of the Nigerian population”. Providing additional information, deputy speaker, Hon. Ahmed Idris said the meeting of House leadership with the security chiefs was very useful. “We also share the pains of what is going, but we have all resolved to do the right thing to get things right. You will be surprised that some NGOs have taken up hotels in Borno and paid upfront for many years ahead.
Some people are deliberately frustrating the efforts of the government”, he stated. Similarly, Hon. Ifeanyi Momoh (APGA/ Anambra) expressed dismay that “insurgency is terrible and I lack the words to describe it. It’s not an easy fighting insurgency. Whatever effort the military or security apparatus is ready to put in, let us support them. This is having in mind that people die every day from the insurgent’s activities”.
Deputy minority leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), in his submission, said “It is the duty of parliament by section 8(8) to appropriate funds. I can also understand the passion of my colleague from Chibok because the place has really gone through a lot”. The motion was unanimously endorsed when Speaker Gbajabiamila put it to question.