Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria hold National conferences to chart the way forward for a sustainable operational environment.

Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria hold National conferences to chart the way forward for a sustainable operational environment.

Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria hold National conferences to chart the way forward for a sustainable operational environment.

The 3-day national conference is part of the ongoing dialogue to reform the regulatory space for CSO engagement in Nigeria. It brought together actors from the civil society sector across the nation, Government (regulatory agencies, legislators) donors and other relevant stakeholders to brainstorm ideas that will formulate policies and frameworks to solve the various challenges that affect the effectiveness of the civil society sector In the country. The focal point of the Conference is to ensure a conducive regulatory environment for CSOs’ operation in the country.

ACEIDEV was represented by Ater Solomon and Farouk Aminu at the 3-day National Conference on Civil Society Operational Environment at the NAF Conference Centre, Kado Abuja. The conference is part of the ongoing dialogue to fine-tune the regulatory spacCSO’sr CSOs’ engagement in Nigeria. It hopes to harvest thoughtful suggestions and brainstorming ideas from the array of development partners, CSOs, and Regulators to form policies that continue to strengthen and enable those in the Civic Space to do their jobs for the overall interest of all who they serve.

The first day accommodated plenary sessions, panel discussions (during breakout sessions), goodwill messages and keynote addresses from eminently selected individuals across the regulators, operators, government MDAs, and Donors. The topical issues treated were CSOs self-regulation, the sufficiency of CAMA, 2020 as a regulatory framework for CSOs, the controversies around Item 34 Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the FRN, CSOs and Taxation, the legal perspective of CSOs and Profit making, amongst others.

Day 2 of the 3-day National Conference on Civil Society Regulatory Environment in Nigeria at the NAF Conference Centre and Suites, Kado-Abuja was fully packed with sessions evenly distributed amongst the relevant stakeholders in the civic space. The aim is to drive the ideas and thoughts of these eminent stakeholders toward the formation of a workable framework for CSOs in Nigeria. The program welcomed presentations, and plenary sessions on the G&SI strategy for mainstreaming G&SI in regulatory frameworks, reports on the impact of CSOs on Nigeria’s development, an overview of NPO Risk Assessment by the office of SCUML from EFCC, CAC Online Financial Statement Filing system, CSOs self-regulatory framework model, and a guide to freedom of association and assembly.

The breakout panel sessions were on thematic areas of concern such as the determination of appropriate mechanisms for CSO’s self-regulation, the status of statutory and self-regulation(are they complementary or mutually exclusive?), and the adoption and mainstreaming of CSO Self-regulation across the Civil Society Sector.

To spice up the session was the screening of a documentary (titled: We Move) on CSOs’ resilience in carrying out their activities in the country despite enormous challenges.

The 3rd and the final day of the conference on Civil Society Operational Environment took a definite step to address issues of concern for CSOs such as the need to harmonize CSOs registration at the Subnational level, the place and role of Citizens in Civil Society Regulation, the Donor perception of CSOs regulation and practice in Nigeria, and the workability of Pension Act within the Civic Space, as well as Civil Society Government Partnership and Civil Society Regulation: Strengthening the Civic Space which was discussed by a panel of eminently personified stakeholders within the Civic Space ranging from the lawmakers, regulators, Donor agencies, and the operators.

The conference didn’t end without a firm resolve to boldly take the necessary steps highlighted during the 3-day conversation. These steps amongst others include the need to adopt a self-regulation template for CSOs, the CSO Steering Committee to work closely with other stakeholders to demystify the issue of multiplicity of registration processes for CSOs at the Subnational level, the need for inclusivity in all the activities in the Civic Space, continued collaboration with development partners and regulators, the need for the sustainability of Donor funding projects, Mentorship and coaching amongst CSOs, etc.

It is hoped amongst participants that this program that gathered all CSOs together to discuss their problems and way forward will be sustained going forward.