NNNGO- Uyo, Akwa Ibom February 2022
CSOs Develop Self-regulatory Framework for Improved Accountability and Transparency.
As part of efforts to improve credibility, accountability and transparency in the operations of Civil Society Organisations, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), and Business Membership Organizations (BMOs), the Nigeria Network of NGOs in partnership with Palladium under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)- supported project, Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagements (SCALE ), gathered 31 delegates in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital on Tuesday – January 25th to drive, coordinate and review existing “models” self-regulatory framework that Nigerian CSOs can adopt.
This CSO Consultative Meeting on Self-Regulation which is part of a round of consultations after the southwestern consultation held in Ibadan in December 2021 hosted by the Network, reviewed 37 extant statutory laws and policies as they affect the overall operations of CSOs/BMOs/Professional Associations, taking note of the level of implementation of these laws across the different states of the country. Delegates gauged the effectiveness of implementation in line with the impact of regulations on civil access to government data, engagement in policy and governance processes and citizen participation.
The meeting discussed the need to encourage self-regulation within the Nigerian civil society and reviewed the work of the National Technical Committee on Civil Society Self-Regulation (NTC), a working group comprising civil society organisations from different areas of the country. The NTC which has the mandate to articulate a collectively acceptable and adaptable Self-Regulatory Framework for CSOs in Nigeria, has through regional and national consultations conducted in 2021 and indepth research on global realities has it pertains to regulations, identified self-regulatory models that could possibly be adapted into the Nigerian civic space, as: Code of Conduct/Ethics, Information System, Award System, Certification, Self-Assessment, Working Group and Minimum Operating standards.
“It has now become crucial for us as civil society organization operating in Nigeria to play our part in shaping national policy and to efficiently do that, we must begin to hold themselves accountable by ensuring that the sector has its own set standards that we all comply with.” Said Oyebisi Oluseyi, Executive Director, Nigeria Network of NGOs. “These consultations are pivotal to achieving a sound self-regulatory system for our sector because everyone within the sector is involved and we are coming together to pitch in insights, knowledge and experience from every part of the country”. He added.
Speaking at the meeting, Harry D. Udoh, Cochair of the National Technical Committee on Self-Regulation in Nigeria in his presentation stated that CSOs realise the importance of working within statutory regulatory framework as legitimate citizens of the country and noted that the work of the NTC is aimed at ensuring an enabling environment of Nigerian CSOs while assuring the public of credibility, accountability, and transparency in their practices. He added that stakeholders should have confidence in what CSOs do and CSOs should also be able to question the government when they come up with certain policies and actions. He further stressed that the work of the NTC was voluntary and its had been tested so that CSOs can own the process.
“The meeting has been enlightening because we have not only been made aware of statutory laws guiding or sector which we did not necessarily know all about prior to this meeting, it has also allowed the Networks the opportunity to share our thoughts on how these laws affect us in reality and include our input in the work of the NTC in terms of self-regulation for our sector” said Activist Rex Anighoro, Special Assistant to the Delta State Government on civil society, one of the delegates.
Delegates at the meeting included leaders of civil society Networks in the south-south and south-eastern parts of the country, representative of Association of people living with Albinism, legal practitioners within the Akwa Ibom civic space and CSOs with Akwa Ibom state.
Further consultations will be held in Kano, Abuja and Yola in the following months to gather insights from civil society network leaders in the North-East, North-West and North-Central zones of the country in other to allow for more robust outcomes.