Nigeria coalition condemns Bill restricting foreign funding

Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights letter page 1

Press release
Minna, Niger state
July 10 2014


Following the public hearing held at the National Assembly on Wednesday July 2 2014, the members of Coalition for the Defence of Sexual Rights (CDSR) wish to reinforce their condemnation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Bill 2013 that seeks to create an embargo in the freedom of expression of the Nigerian Civil Society.

In solidarity with other Nigerian civil society organisations, we wish to echo that the Bill seeks to re-invent the wheel of provisions and responsibilities that are being adequately carried out by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and more worryingly, overwhelm the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commissions (ICPC), which is limited in technical capacity.

Moreover, “the Bill is a clear violation of the constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of association as guaranteed under the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999, and the provisions of articles 10(1) and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and additionally contradicts Nigeria’s several international treaty and protocol obligations”, the presentation of Nigerian Civil Society at the public hearing stated.

Furthermore, “it suffice to note that the Bill contravenes Nigerian’s obligation of the provision of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which had the country’s accession on 29 July 1993.”- Dorothy Aken’Ova of INCRESE said. Precisely, The ICCPR prohibits limiting the freedom of association, except when the limitations are prescribed by law and “are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”.

Our members are agitated that “in a country with a weak culture of philanthropy and poor understanding of sexual and reproductive rights relating to women, girls and LGBTI persons, of which we advocate, foreign money is essential to sustain our voices as a civil society” said Joseph Sewedo Akoro a member of the coalition. In addition, Mr. Ugoh Thaddeus who represented the coalition at the public hearing remarked, “the provisions of the Bill are retrogressive and will only escalate existing problems in the society.”

From the foregoing we recommend that lawmakers expend their energy in enacting laws that will facilitate the restructure of, rather than exacerbating, a failing system as currently existing in the power sector, health care sector and security: ensuring environment for sustainable development, justice and democracy in Nigeria.

Signed by:
Dorothy Aken’Ova
Ashoka Fellow and Stonewall Awardee

For further information contact:
Damian Ugwu
Executive Director
Social Justice and Advocacy Initiative
Tel: +2348023299708
Email: [email protected]

Rashidi K.O. William
Founder and Director, Queer Alliance Nigeria
Phone: +2348136137852, +234 8173323829
Email: [email protected]

Dorothy C. Aken’Ova
Executive Director
International Centre for Sexual Reproductive Rights
Tel: +2348034500714
Email: [email protected]

Joseph Sewedo
Principal Consultant
JSA Consulting Group
Tel: +33(0)652690181

Organization Signatories:

  1. Advocates for Human and Sustainable Development
  2. Advocacy for Justice and Equality
  3. African Focus For Youth Development
  4. Alliance for Behavioural Change
  5. Center for Healthcare and Economic Empowerment for Women and. Youth.
  6. Center for Life Development
  7. Changing Attitude in Nigeria
  8. Development Aid International
  9. Hope Alive Initiative
  10. International Centre for Sexual Reproductive Rights
  11. Leadership Initiative for Youth Empowerment
  12. Living in Dignity
  13. People Governed by Sharia Rule
  14. Queer Alliance
  15. Social Justice Advocacy Initiative
  16. Total Health Empowerment and Development Initiative
  17. Vision Spring Initiative

Individual Signatories

  1. Joseph Sewedo
  2. Toyin Ajao
  3. Davis Mac-Iyalla
  4. Haywood Dikibo
  5. Juliet Sylvester U