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NGOs have been active in Nigeria since the 1930s but were mostly limited to social clubs and organizations established by the various missionary institutions operating in the country. Although they were not officially classified as NGOs, the Nationalist Movements were the precursors of contemporary CSOs in Nigeria. Indeed, in terms of operational dynamics and ideological definition of sorts, contemporary CSOs borrowed a lot from the Nationalist movements.
The idea of a formalized collaboration between the Federal Government of Nigeria and NGOs was first muted at a Meeting organized by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) for NGOs active the Health Sector in 1987. Between 1990 and 1991, the FMOH held Consultative Meetings to mobilize NGOs to support the Federal Government in the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), Drug Abuse, and subsequently in the HIV/AIDS campaign, thus widening the spectrum of CSOs collaborating with the Federal Government.
In 1992, with the collaboration of the FMOH, USAID, SFH, WHO, The British High Commission, Ford Foundation, UNICEF, World Bank, USIS, British Council, Department For International Development (DFID), UNESCO, UNIC, The Friedrich Ebert Foundation and Goethe Institute, the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) was established by 60 NGOs. It is the fastest growing coordinating body for recognized NGOs/CBOs/PVOs involved in development activities in Nigeria.
THE ADVISORY GROUP
In 1993, The Advisory Group on the Development of NGOs in Nigeria was established. IT WAS RESOLVED AT A MEETING OF THE ADVISORY GROUP HELD AT THE NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION ON 1ST JULY 1994, ATTENDED BY NIGERIAN MINISTRIES OF HEALTH AND EDUCATION, MEMBERS OF THE PRESS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF UNHCR, UNESCO, BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION, WORLD BANK AND THE BRITISH COUNCIL, “THAT THE NIGERIA NETWORK OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL (NNNGO) IS RECOGNISED BY THE NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION (NPC) AS THE COORDINATING BODY FOR NGOS IN THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA’ THAT NNNGO BE INTEGRATED INTO THE PLANNING PROCESS OF THE NPC”
Unfortunately, with subsequent developments during the political turmoil engendered by the military rule in Nigeria, International Donors no longer wished to work with the Government and focused on NGOs.
Consequently, Donors created other Networks instead of working with and strengthening existing Networks and Coalitions. A disproportionate amount of donor funding focused on Human Rights/Good Governance and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This engendered a climate of division and unhealthy competition. Widespread corruption was reported and the proliferation of NGOs in Nigeria has led to a crisis of legitimacy, transparency, and accountability within Civil Society as a whole. Coordination was of course, almost impossible.
Membership of International Organizations
NNNGO is a member of various international organizations such as:
- Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
- International Council for Social Welfare (ICSW)
- National Council for Voluntary Organizations (NCVO-UK)
- International Forum of National NGO Platforms
- People in Aid