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April 19, 2024
You are currently viewing CSOs must brace up, challenge wrong actions — Sen. Umeh

CSOs must brace up, challenge wrong actions — Sen. Umeh

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By Adeyemi Adeleye
Sen. Victor Umeh, Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), says civil society groups in Nigeria must brace up with courage to challenge wrong actions.

He said that they must do so to put the nation on the path of sustainable future.

Umeh spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, in Lagos, on the sideline of a two-day joint workshop with the theme, “Understanding and Sustaining Collaboration with Civil Society”.

It was organised for the Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the House of Representatives’ Committee on Civil Societies and Development Matters.

The workshop was organised by the European Union- EU Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) Programme, being implemented by the British Council in Nigeria.

Umeh, comparing the current CSOs with the old, said that the civil societies used to be all about determination, courage to bring about positive change to the society and not tools in the hands of some politicians.

Sen. Victor Umeh, Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs)

 

The Senator said that CSOs should be propelled by people who were determined to bring about desired change in the system.

Umeh said: “It is not something those who are afraid will venture into.

“They were reputed to be die-hard people who were ready to even go to jail and risk their lives and lose their personal liberties, so.long as they were challenging wrong actions in the society.

“We want to encourage the current generation of CSOs to do same thing and know that life that is worth living now is life that is dedicated towards bringing change in the society and making necessary impacts.”

Umeh said that Nigerian CSOs must live up to expectations of engendering a country everyone would be proud of.

He said that they had to be objective in what they do and not allow themselves to be used by politicians and people who have scores to settle with others.

“When they lend themselves for misuse, they will lose relevance,” the senator said.

Speaking at the event, the Country Director, British Council in Nigeria, Ms Lucy Pearson, said that ACT was working with the civil society sector in Nigeria to strengthen their capacity and contribute to improved enabling environment for CSOs to operate.

Pearson said that the European Union had always been in support of initiatives that would promote enabling regulatory and operational environment for civil society organisations in Nigeria and around the world.

L-R: Mr Damilare Babalola the National Programme Manager EU-ACT, Sen. Victor Umeh, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), Ms Lucy Pearson, Country Director British Council Nigeria and Rep. Victor Obuzor the Chairman House Committee on Civil Societies and Development Matters at the two-day workshop organised by EU-ACT on Friday in Lagos. 

 

According to her, the workshop provides a unique opportunity for stakeholders to explore ways to strengthen the partnership between legislators and civil society organisations.

She said that such partnership would create an enabling environment where civil society thrives, legislative processes are enhanced, and the voices of all citizens are heard and valued.

“Legislators undoubtedly play a pivotal role in democratic governance, serving as the voice of the people and the custodians of the rule of law.

“However, in order to fulfil their mandates effectively, it is imperative for legislators to work collaboratively with civil society organisations.

“Civil society on the other hand serves as a crucial link between government and citizens, advocating for the rights and interests of the people, and contributing valuable insights and expertise to policy development and implementation,” Pearson said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

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