The Federal Government has reiterated its position that many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) operating in Nigeria are working against Nigeria’s interests.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, re-emphasised this on Saturday when he featured on “Radio Link’’, a phone-in programme of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.
In the programme monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the minister said Nigerians should be circumspect about the activities of many NGOs.
He said government was in receipt of 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 noted that the outcome of the suspension and the agreements reached for Twitter to resume operations in Nigeria were beneficial to both parties.
He said in addition to ensuring that only wholesome contents were posted by Twitter, the micro blogging site agreed to open office in Nigeria, engage Nigerians and pay requisite taxes to government.
The minister queried the intention of SERAP in filing the suit if not 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.
“If you noticed, 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,’’ he stressed.
The minister also gave the example of Borno where the Gov. Babagana Zulum complained of proliferation of NGOs in the state.
Alhaji Mohammed 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.