The House of Representatives and Civil Society Organisations disagreed on Wednesday over a bill seeking to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of donations by foreign donor agencies to voluntary organisations in the country.
The Civil Society Organisations during a public hearing on the controversial proposal, roundly condemned the bill.
They observed efforts by the House of Reps to violate the 1999 constitution and over-step its bounds by insisting that voluntary agencies must seek permission before receiving financial support from donor agencies.
The CSOs expressed their opposition to the bill as the House Committee on Donor Agencies held a public hearing to get their opinion on the bill.
The sponsor of the bill, a member of the All Progressives Congress from Imo State, Mr. Eddie Mbadiwe, however reasoned otherwise.
Mbadiwe sought to tie the acceptance of such donations to scrutiny by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission.
He also said voluntary agencies must open an account to be monitored by the ICPC, which could recommend the forfeiture of the money when found to be meant for criminal purposes.
He argued that these checks had become necessary because donor funds could be used to fund terrorist activities.
“ Donor money sponsor terrorism. Thus the need to have the bill, which will enable NGOs to give account of funds they receive and assist in addressing security problems”, he argued.
A key provision of the bill states, “Whoever accepts or assists any person, voluntary organisation in accepting any foreign financial contribution in contravention of any provision of this bill or any rule made there under shall be punished with imprisonment for two years.”
But, the CSOs condemned the proposal, saying that it violated the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the African Charter of the African Union.