REPORT OF NNNGO’S ACTIVITIES FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF THE YEAR 2018

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OVERVIEW OF CITIZENS’ REPORT SUPPORTED BY AFRICAN MONITOR

The Citizens Report is a shadow report based on citizen-driven monitoring of SDGs in seven African countries. It is a 3-year programme with a strong presence at the local, national and regional level. The project’s theory of change is that when citizens effectively hold their governments accountable for delivery, democracy is strengthened, development outcomes improve significantly for the poor, and citizens gain confidence to claim their rights and solve local problems.

Through the programme, a cohort of youth champions and civil society representatives will be trained and supported to collect citizen-generated data to monitor SDG implementation. Citizen monitoring tools used (i.e. the Governance Barometer and Citizens Hearings) will generate new qualitative data that will inform national and regional review processes.

The objective of the project is to; enhance the monitoring and review of the SDGs, facilitate policy change and improved delivery, and engage regional and global development institutions

NNNGO has ensured that a work plan on how the project will be carried out has been developed to aid implementation and monitor the progress of the work. Following this, the project was officially launched with call for application to recruit young Nigerians who would serve as Youth Champions. The call was released in January, 2018 and had 90 applicants from which four individuals were selected based on the quality of application.

In February 2018, these four individuals underwent trainings on how to conduct social research. Subsequently, three communities have been identified using purposive sampling technique and the principle of leave no one behind. Draft questions for the citizens’ hearing have been developed based on the area of interest and also putting their location and culture into perspective.

In the second quarter of the year, data gathering which includes citizens’ hearing and survey as well as analysis will commence.

OVERVIEW OF PACFaH@Scale SPONSORED BY dRPC

Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health @Scale (PACFaH@Scale) is a health accountability project which supports the implementation of routine immunization financing strategy with emphasis and inclusion of the basic healthcare provision fund and improving allocation and timely releases of family planning funding in fulfilment of the state governments’ commitments.

The programme aims to conduct research and analysis on health policy and budget, identify significant policy targets, develop policy and issue briefs to share with policy makers, hold press conferences to educate the public and raise awareness as well as train NGOs and build capacity for evidence-based advocacy engagements.

In February 2018, copies of the 2017 Contraceptive Implementation Plan (CIP) for Routine Immunization (RI) in Lagos state were obtained for review, detailed review of CIP for Lagos State RI successfully carried out and a report developed. In addition, a report of baseline assessment of Family Plan (FP) policy and financial commitments was also developed.

A stakeholder-mapping engagement was held in March 2018 to identify RI and CIP-focused Civil Society Organisations (CSO) operational in Lagos. This was to identify issues and challenges that these organisations face in their work as well as factor out ways of bridging identified gaps in order to allow effective implementation of the project.

OVERVIEW OF THE “STRENGTHENING STATUTORY REGULATIONS FOR CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS IN NIGERIA: AMENDING PART C OF CAMA” SUPPORTED BY COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION (JAN-MAR):

Activities on implementation of the second phase of the Commonwealth Foundation project started on Jan 22nd to 26th 2018 with a civil society online campaign. This was done on the NNNGO social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) for a period of one week with the participation of civil society actors who contributed observations and opinions on the amendment of the Act using #SuggestedAmendmentToCAMA.

The campaign generated questions on how Non-profits can file annual returns, the Part C of CAMA, insights and opinions to the amendment and provided an opportunity for interaction on how these issues can be effectively addressed.

On March, 22nd 2018, a letter was sent to the Corporate Affairs Commission informing them of the outcome of the campaign with details of contributions from civil society actors regarding annual returns. This was in a bid to help shape the Commission’s work especially in the review of the Part C of the CAMA in line with the present administration’s agenda for enabling ease of business.

Meetings with the National Assembly and the Corporate Affairs Commissions have also been scheduled to hold on the 24th of April 2018, the meetings will enable discussion on the review done by NNNGO and the recommendations sent to these regulatory agencies the previous year. Outcomes of these meeting would be shared with the members to update them for their review as well.

OVERVIEW OF THE EUROPEAN UNION PROJECT (JAN-MAR): “STRENGTHENING THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK AND ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR A MORE ACCOUNTABLE AND TRANSPARENT CIVIL SOCIETY IN NIGERIA”.

The project was originally scheduled to undergo a 12-month implementation plan; however, a range of activities were delayed due to several bureaucratic delays regarding the project’s visibility plan. Despite this challenge, the project succeeded in planning and developing all tools, guides and templates needed to successfully achieve expected project outcomes.

The results achieved so far under this project contributed directly to improving the debate on NGO accountability and the need for a strengthened regulatory framework and enabling environment for a more accountable and transparent civil society in Nigeria, call for a self-regulatory framework by the sector and improved mechanism for cooperation between the sector and regulators.

In addition, the understanding and knowledge including direct linkage between the work of nonprofits, regulatory bottlenecks, weak compliance with existing regulations and restrictive laws has increased amongst stakeholders. Subsequently, regulators are now active in their oversight of the operations of nonprofits as is the case with the Special Control Unit on Money Laundering (SCUML) that now conduct on the spot regulatory checks on nonprofits in the country or the ongoing reform on the ease of doing business which captures nonprofit registration and filing of annual returns.

OVERVIEW OF LIFE-LINE GRANT

The Life-line grant aims to create awareness on the NGO regulatory bill as well as provide a platform for the portrayal of civil society views regarding the bill. In the first quarter of 2018, a shadow report of happenings at the Public Hearing on the NGO regulatory Bill conducted on Wednesday, 18th December, 2017 was developed.

In addition, discussions on social media, newspaper, TV and radio interviews about the bill were collated and developed into a “what we heard” report. Both reports were then published and circulated to the legislature. This aimed at bringing several voices on the bill to the notice of the legislatures with the hope that this will provide evidence on the public’s view of the bill.

In the next quarter, it is intended that a legislative campaign will begin.  The Campaign will target legislators through SMS and letter writing campaigns to inform the legislators on the benefits of non-profits and why they should support the call for the ‘death’ of bill 585.

The campaign will involve civil society organisations signing on letters and writing separate letters to representatives of communities where they work highlighting their impact and the danger that the passage of bill 585 portends for the communities they serve. It is also intended that letters will be written to various national and religious leaders, community heads, business leaders, police chiefs, local clergy, political figures asking them to make strong public statements on the need for the bill to be stepped down.

OVERVIEW OF THE CIVIC ENGAGEMENT ON THE FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE (FATF) EVALUATION OF NIGERIA SUPPORTED BY OPEN SOCIETY INITIATIVE FOR WEST AFRICA,  

In the past 15 months, the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO), supported by the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA), has embarked on a project to create space for effective engagement of the civil society organisations in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) evaluation process for Nigeria.

To engage the civil society, NNNGO embarked on several activities such as:

Research on Nigerian laws that directly or indirectly, affect the ability of the non-profit sector to function effectively. A review of both the 2011 Money Laundering (ML) Prohibition Act and the draft Anti-Money Laundering (AML) bill submitted to the National Assembly by the Executive arm of the government.

Findings revealed that both the 2011 ML prohibition act and the draft AML bill in their current forms are contrary to the proportionate and targeted approach required by the revised FATF standards – Recommendation 8 and its Interpretative Note and discourage legitimate activities of NPOs.

In sensitizing civil society and the public about FATF, social media and web creatives were used to highlight the relevance of FATF Recommendation 8 to the work of Nigerian non-profits. Using Email, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp platforms and Short Message Services, series of FATF-focused messages were sent to over 2,377 non-profits on the NNNGO mailing list. Fifteen editions of the e-newsletter were produced and Six feature articles were published online and in print (Punch Newspaper).

The essence of these was to provide information on FATF, link its implications for Nigeria and the work of non-profits, understand the role of evaluation agencies such GIABA and the need for reforms of the AML/CFT regime amongst others. It was observed that some NPOs were not aware of the laws and agencies governing them, hence the need for this sensitization.

NNNGO was involved in engagement meetings with the National Risk Assessment Secretariat, National Assembly Committee on Civil Society and other stakeholders including the media.

These include: a meeting with the Special Adviser to the Senate President and the Clerk of the Senate Committee on Civil Society and Diaspora; meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit – the focal government agency charged with the responsibility of complying with international standards on combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and proliferation; and the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML)—the agency of government responsible for the implementation of the AML/CFT regime in Nigeria, among others.

The meetings were aimed at ensuring; that civil society engages in the upcoming mutual evaluation; the revised Recommendation 8 and its interpretation is properly implemented without targeting non-profits or shrinking civic space.

Part of the activities included the creation of an informal coalition of civil society organizations interested in working on FATF related issues. Membership of the coalition was open to all civil society organisations

interested in FATF and, NNNGO conducted two online and two physical meetings with the coalition members after its creation.

As part of efforts to connect with global efforts, NNNGO attended six online global NPO coalition on FAFTR8. It was an opportunity to learn and share best practices including building the Network’s capacity to engage well in country on FATF issues.

2 regional workshops were held in Lagos and Abuja on the 19th and 26th February 2018 respectively with 135 participants from 14 states of the country attending in total.

Organised in partnership with SCUML, the workshop has its central theme as ‘’effective implementation of AML/CFT requirements in the NPO sector in Nigeria.

The project was rounded off with a sector-wide conference organised by NNNGO, in partnership with SCUML. The conference was held on 28th March 2018 in Lagos. It was themed “Implementation of AML/CFT Standards for the Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) Sector in Nigeria” and had in attendance over 200 participants drawn from the civil society community, SCUML, NFIU, NNNGO staff and the media.

The result of these activities has further strengthened the relationship and partnership with regulators (SCUML and NFIU). Also, it has to a large extent, improved the consciousness of civil society organisations on the AML/CFT regime in Nigeria.

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Oyindamola Aramide
Article by Oyindamola Aramide
Oyindamola Aramide works as a Communication Officer at the Nigeria Network of NGOs where she provides strategic communications support on the Network’s projects and programmes. She is a young development practitioner who currently leads the African Monitor’s SDGs project on the Citizens’ Report Initiative in Nigeria. With a background in the English Language from Obafemi Awolowo University, Oyindamola has several communications products to her credit.

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