The Rivers state House of Assembly is currently considering a CSO Registration Bill. The Bill among others requires CSOs operating in, or that have any dealings in Rivers state, to register with a ‘Registry’ of the state government, embedded in the Rivers state Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning. The head of this agency will be appointed by the state Governor, with powers to deny registration or deregister any organization. Failure to register will attract non recognition in the state and may result in non-cooperation by the state government and its agencies.
We the People has reviewed the Bill. We conclude that it is a sub-national version of the ignoble NGO Bill which was presented at the National Assembly, and will serve the same purpose- stifling dissent, intimidating civil society organizations, and curtailing the civic space.