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April 14, 2024
You are currently viewing NASS to reopen CSOs Liaison Office in assembly complex–Joint C’ttee
At a joint workshop for Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non- Governmental Organisation and House Committee on Civil Societies and Development Matters,organised by European Union’s Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) Programme,  implemented by British Council Nigeria

NASS to reopen CSOs Liaison Office in assembly complex–Joint C’ttee

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By Adeyemi Adeleye

The National Assembly says arrangements have been concluded to reopen the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Liaison Office at the assembly complex to further catalyse nation-building.

Sen. Victor Umeh, Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non- Governmental Organisation and Rep. Victor Obuzor, Chairman, House Committee on Civil Societies and Development Matters, disclosed this on Friday in Lagos.

The duo spoke at a two-day joint workshop for both committees organised by European Union’s Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) Programme, being implemented by the British Council Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, which had several civil society organisations and groups in attendance, is tagged: “Understanding and Sustaining Collaboration with Civil Society”.

Some participants  at a two-day joint workshop for Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non- Governmental Organisation,and House Committee on Civil Societies and Development Matters organised by European Union’s Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) Programme, implemented by the British Council Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday, March 16, 2024. (NAN).

 

Speaking, Umeh said that there was the need to create space for the civil society organisations to operate, and that the current Senate leadership was committed to achieving this.

The senator said: “We need to strengthen their (CSOs) operating space, their liberty and freedom to be able to perform their roles for the benefit of the country.

“We in the National Assembly are very much aware that there is no way we can have or drive effective development in this country without allowing the civil society organisations to be on their beat, and they become the gadfly that would keep the government constantly on their toes.

“This is the only way the country can get better.

“Aware of this need, the National Assembly under the Leadership of the present Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio will be reopening the Civil Society Organisations Liaison Office in the National Assembly.”

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

 

According to him, the office will become a processing centre because the CSOs engage in different aspects of societal life.

Umeh added:“If they have a centre in the NASS, they will be able to help in generating bills and motions that will address very critical issues of the moment in Nigeria.

“We don’t need to be looking for them. Legislators can go to the CSOs liaison office and ask them happenings in the country.

“So, at every time we sit at the chamber, we will be seeing motions that will be addressing critical issues of the moment because they would have a database.

“The centre will be a data bank for legislators to tap into what is happening”.

The chairman said that the NASS had smooth relationship with the CSOs but needed to work much closer with them  to, through legislative activities, give effect to some of their concerns.

“The civil society organisations and groups are the catalyst for social change in the society. They are the people that involve in all aspects of nation building.

“They search for the right policies that can drive development in the country. Aside from that they are also a kind of whistle blowers.

“In trying to hold the government accountable, they expose fraudulent activities in the system,” he added.

Describing the workshop as very commendable, Umeh applauded the European Union through the British Council for supporting and promoting the relationship between the National Assembly and CSOs.

He said that the workshop would provide direction on how to make use of the activities of CSOs in making progressive laws and various intervention legislations that would help curb the ills in the society.

Also speaking, Obuzor said that the House would work with the Senate to reinvent the CSOs Liaison Office at the NASS.

He said that the parliament was also coming up with technology enhancement to ensure seamless sustainability of the collaboration between lawmakers and CSOs.

According to him, the importance of CSOs cannot be overrated as they are too important to be neglected.

Earlier in her welcome address, Country Director, British Council Nigeria, Mrs Lucy Pearson, said that CSOs represented the voices of the people of Nigeria, saying the council was committed to empowering them.

Pearson said that the council had been working over the years to build capacity, confidence, skills and the tools of CSOs to be increasingly effective in the dialogues that would influence government policy in a compelling way.

“Our role is to empower the CSOs to connect with the people, connect with the Nigerian government and effectively represent the people in a way that is influential in terms of policy reforms,” she said.

Also speaking, Mr Damilare Babalola, the National Programme Manager of EU-ACT, said that the project was to support CSOs in Nigeria to be more credible, transparent and agent of sustainable development.

Babalola noted that the programmes had supported capacity building for about 233 CSOs across the six geo-political zones, with the focus on providing holistic organisational capacity development.

He said that the ACT had been able to facilitate collaborative engagement between the CSO as well as with other stakeholders which have responsibilities in enabling regulatory environment for the CSOs, including the National Assembly.

He said that the meeting was to ensure a form of alliance and synergy between the lawmakers and CSOs to be able to do the work better , saying “the ultimate goal is good governance for the common man on the street and in the rural areas”.

In his remark, Mr Harry Udoh, the Chairman, Civil Society National Self-Regulation Council (CNSRC), said that the country needed CSOs to be at the forefront, because of their critical roles in the development of any society.

“Our work and advocacy are based on research; the research we do will be beneficial to the lawmakers to enable them effect effective laws and have full understanding to have a better society,” Udoh said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Vivian Ihechu

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