A Bill for an Act to establish Civil Societies Regulatory Commission for coordinated regulation of CSOs was on Tuesday, rejected by members of the House of Representatives.
The bill which was sponsored by Rep. Abbas Tajudeen (APC-Kano) seeks to monitor the financial activities of CSOs and other related matters.
Leading the debate, Tajudeen said that the bill was aimed at strengthening the capacities of CSOs to promote democracy and development in the country.
Rep Bamidele Salam (PDP-Lagos) said that the Coperate Affairs Commission Act already had everything in place to ensure credibility among SCOs.
He argued that establishing another commission will amount to duplication of agencies at a time efforts were ongoing to cut down on government spending.
The Rep said that the bill should be withdrawn as it would not affect the operations of the CSOs negatively.
Also, Rep. Nkem Abonta (PDP-Abia) said that the bill will muzzle the activities of churches and mosques in the country.
Rep. Julius Ihonvbere (APC-Edo) pointed out that the bill on the order paper wants to boost democracy but on the lead debate it wants to regulate CSOs.
He said that the bill could be used to intimidate CSOs and that the allegations that many CSOs has so much money was not true.
“While the CSOs were fighting for democracy, spending their funds and putting their lives on the line, a lot of us politicians were in exile,” he said.
The Speaker of the house while guiding members said that there are many duplicates laws aimed at addressing spectacular issues.
After quoting some sections of the constitution, Gbajabiamila made reference to the Police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) saying that there was nothing wrong to pass a bill similar to another.
Gbajabiamila also said that there was not need to bring religious angle into the bill saying that there is a problem that needed to be addressed.
The speaker told his colleagues that if there were issues, they could be resolved at committee level or at the public hearing.
While responding to the issues raised by members, the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Tajudeen moved that the bill be withdrawn.
While ruling that the matter had been withdrawn, the Speaker said that the bill could still be worked on.