The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa (HRA), Commissioner Reine Alapini Gansou, has “unequivocally” condemned the proposed Nigerian Government regulation on foreign aid contribution to Nigerian civil society organizations. She explained that such a bill is a regression of the enjoyment of rights and freedoms in Nigeria and Africa. She reminded the federal government of its international obligations particularly those under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and its responsibilities under the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of Human Rights.
The bill, currently at the House of Representative and sponsored by Honourable Eddie I. Mbadiwe, contains several provisions which prohibit civil society organizations from receiving funds or other foreign contribution without prior approval of the Commission on Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences (ICPC).
The Special Rapporteur notes that the Section 3 of the said bill is a violation of freedom of association and assembly, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in Articles 10 (1) and 11 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights. Commissioner Alapini Gansou recognizes the significant strides made by Nigerian authorities in the protection and promotion of human rights and called on them to ensure that human rights defenders operate in a conducive environment which is free from administrative processes that are likely to be a constraint in the execution of their activities, and from reprisals or prosecution because of foreign funding and contribution received.