The Federal Government says many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in Nigeria are working against the country’s interests.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this yesterday, when he featured on a radio phone-in programme.
The minister said Nigerians should be circumspect about the activities of many NGOs, adding that the government received reports that some of the NGOs were on the payroll of foreign agents, traducers with ulterior motives to destabilise Nigeria.
The minister gave the example of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), which sued the Federal Government when the activities of Twitter were suspended.
“There are many NGOs in Nigeria today that are not working for the interests of the people of the nation. Otherwise, why will SERAP for instance take the Nigerian government to court because it suspended the operations of Twitter, an entity that is a platform of choice for people working to destabilise the country?
“This (Twitter) is an entity that was not registered in Nigeria, did not employ any Nigerian directly and not paying tax in spite of the huge amount of money it is making Nigeria.
“The same SERAP, when we later had an agreement with Twitter, wrote to my office to ask for the details of the agreement and we obliged it”, he said.
The minister queried the intention of SERAP in filing the suit if not for ulterior motives.
The minister pointed out that “one of the fastest-growing businesses today is the NGO and the country is full of all sorts of NGOs which are being funded for ulterior motives”.
“We understand that in every case being filed by some of these NGOs, they receive subventions from their donors and sponsors and this should worry Nigerians”, he stressed.
The minister also gave the example of Borno, where the governor, Babagana Zulum, complained of the proliferation of NGOs in the State.
He said the governor observed that some of the NGOs even leased offices and paid for 10 years to 15 years as if they desired that the northeast should be in perpetual turmoil.