The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Civil Society Organisations (NGOs) and Development Partners, Mr. Peter Akpatason, has allayed the fears that the NGO regulation bill was aimed at muzzling religious and ethnic organisations.
Akpatason, who spoke with reporters yesterday in Abuja, also faulted the notion that the proposed legislation would infringe on the rights of expression guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution as amended.
He expressed surprise that those opposed to the initiative have chosen to whip up ethnic and religious sentiments to achieve their goal.
According to him: “The bill clearly provides that anything that has to do with religious organisations or ethnic leaning is excluded from the bill. It is clearly written there. We are not going to join mischief-makers in peddling rumours or falsehood.”
The lawmaker, who assured that stakeholders would be availed the opportunity to make their inputs on the bill, said the decision to put in place an NGO regulatory commission was in line with international best practices.
He stated that the initiative would create the enabling environment for transparency and accountability in the affairs of the NGOs operating in the country.
However, Akpatason, who absolved the government of blame in the scarcity of petroleum products in the country, said that fuel marketers bent on exploiting the December Yuletide period must have hoarded the product to make fast monies for themselves to the detriment of Nigerians.