Fake Civil Society: The Rise of Pro-Government NGOs in Nigeria – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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The Carnegie Endowment is grateful to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office for analysis funding that helped make the writing of this paper doable. The views contained herein are these of the creator alone.

Nigeria’s dynamic and expansive civil society is one of its biggest strengths and is essential to sustaining what democratic house nonetheless exists in the nation. Yet its independence, outspokenness, and unwavering dedication to democracy, transparency, and human rights have lengthy antagonized the kleptocratic, energy-hungry—but in addition picture-acutely aware—ruling elites. To assist shield themselves from home strain and outdoors scrutiny, Nigeria’s prime powerbrokers have cultivated a brand new era of professional-authorities non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Like the pretend grassroots teams bankrolled by previous navy juntas, these surrogate organizations masquerade as genuine civil society teams, singing the praises of prime officers and attacking their critics.
A symptom of the nation’s extra elementary political ills, Nigerian elites’ rising use of civil society surrogates ought to set off alarm bells each domestically and internationally. It is each corrupting and corruptive, compounding the nation’s downward democratic trajectory. Like many international locations in Africa—and, for that matter, elsewhere in the world—Nigeria has lately skilled democratic backsliding that threatens its lengthy-time period stability and prosperity. The rise of professional-authorities NGOs is each a trigger and a consequence of this backsliding and should be addressed as half of any effort to arrest and reverse it.
Broadly outlined, Nigeria’s civil society panorama is one of probably the most expansive in the world, encompassing spiritual our bodies, ethnic and subethnic associations, village cooperatives, occupation-primarily based teams, scholar and alumni entities, charities and foundations, in addition to a broad vary of advocacy and improvement-centered NGOs, each worldwide and home.1 Even throughout lengthy durations of navy rule, the nation’s NGO sector remained surprisingly resilient and unbiased of authorities management. Since the top of navy rule in 1999, it has grown into what’s now the strongest half of the nation’s shaky democratic life.
Yet Nigeria’s civic house has shrunk in latest years as its authorities has turn out to be more and more intolerant, heavy-handed, and self-serving.2 Its kleptocratic elites have grown much less tolerant of civil society voices, particularly these pushing for higher governance, larger accountability, and respect for human rights. In a bid to shore up their legitimacy, silence their critics, and broaden their patronage networks, Nigeria’s ruling elites have fueled the rise of professional-authorities NGOs: sycophantic surrogates masquerading as civil society teams. In doing so, they resemble their uniformed predecessors who, in the Nineteen Nineties, tried to stymie democratization utilizing professional-authorities NGOs as a software.
In latest years, at the least 360 totally different professional-authorities NGOs have made headlines with their anti-democratic rhetoric and vocal reward for the regime. They represent a considerable pretend civil society working alongside authentic civil society. Roughly 90 % of these teams began working after President Muhammadu Buhari took workplace in 2015, suggesting a powerful correlation between his ascension to the presidency and their explosive development.3 The overwhelming majority are “briefcase” NGOs: unregistered entities that lack any discernible monitor document and incessantly make just one or two appearances (corresponding to a press convention or a public protest) earlier than evaporating. Moreover, most are managed by a small quantity of professional-authorities NGO “masterminds,” who’re linked to one another and to the Buhari regime by overlapping private networks (see Figure 1).

Although no two professional-authorities NGOs are the identical, many have sure trademark traits. First and foremost, they’re sycophantic, fast to reward senior authorities and navy officers and to assault their critics. Pro-government NGOs additionally incessantly champion intolerant causes, pushing again towards calls for reform, defending state repression, and absolving the federal government of duty for human rights abuses. Yet in addition they attempt to seem authentic by adopting the mannerisms and lexicon of mainstream NGOs. Pro-government NGOs are additionally, by definition, opaquely funded, almost definitely by political appointees near senior officers who search to generate media consideration for their views.
The terminology this paper makes use of to explain NGOs is tailor-made to the Nigerian context and doesn’t essentially apply to related teams working in different international locations, many of that are simply recognizable as authorities-organized NGOs. It is knowledgeable by intensive in-country analysis and two dozen interviews with educational, civil society, authorities, navy, and media sources each in and outdoors Nigeria. That mentioned, the final challenge of pretend civil society is related to many nationwide contexts, and sadly is a component of the bigger world development of democratic backsliding. It is hoped, due to this fact, that this paper could present insights concerning the phenomenon in one essential nation case that may assist analysts, activists, support suppliers, and policymakers grapple with the issue because it seems elsewhere.
Much of the evaluation herein is intentionally normative, separating mainstream NGOs (people who search to advance democratic values and defend human rights) from professional-authorities NGOs (people who, in the context of up to date Nigerian state behaviors, exist to reward officers and champion intolerant causes). This evaluation assumes that the actions of mainstream NGOs are usually constructive and contribute to good governance, sustainable improvement, and financial prosperity. It additionally assumes that professional-authorities NGOs usually behave problematically by parroting official speaking factors; undermining efforts to carry authorities accountable; and defending corrupt, insensitive, or abusive acts.
This paper additionally makes a normative distinction between briefcase NGOs (people who exist solely on paper) and authentic NGOs (these with a discernible monitor document and actual-world presence). It acknowledges, nevertheless, that these distinctions aren’t all the time clear. Many professional-authorities NGOs are briefcase entities, and but a couple of aren’t. Likewise, some mainstream NGOs could function solely intermittently or function automobiles for particular person activists. Across Nigeria, many one-individual or unregistered NGOs do essential work, deriving legitimacy from their native influence or area of interest focus. In different phrases, little-identified or small and personalised NGOs aren’t, by definition, suspect.
Indeed, many of Nigeria’s civil society startups exist exactly as a result of the barrier for entry is so low. As one observer notes, “most [Nigerian] NGOs are self-starters, and self-appointed advocates of their targets.”4 Unlike below navy rule, right this moment’s newly fashioned NGOs are comparatively free to function, construct relationships, and search assist with worldwide donors. They are additionally now capable of leverage transformative outreach and fundraising instruments corresponding to Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.5 By the identical token, nevertheless, Nigeria’s civil society sector is equally accessible to those that kind professional-authorities NGOs for political and monetary achieve. These enduring incentives, together with professional-authorities NGO trade’s deep historic roots, assist clarify why it continues to thrive and overwhelm Nigeria’s democratic improvement.
As ubiquitous as professional-authorities NGOs have turn out to be in latest years, they don’t seem to be a brand new phenomenon in Nigeria. In the Nineteen Nineties, below navy rule, professional-authorities NGOs weren’t merely noisy opponents in civil society areas, however as a substitute had been formidable antagonists capable of have an effect on actual-world politics. Several such teams—most notably Youths Earnestly Ask for Abacha (YEAA) and the Association for a Better Nigeria (ABN)—performed a distinguished function in blunting grassroots opposition to authoritarian rule. Suspiciously effectively-resourced and amplified by state-run media, these entities acted as a counterweight to professional-democracy NGOs just like the Civil Liberties Organization, Constitutional Rights Project, and the Transition Monitoring Group, many of whom had been sustained by worldwide assist.6 In the phrases of one scholar, because the Nigerian state grew to become “increasingly resentful” of these NGOs’ efforts, “it tried simultaneously to pacify and co-opt the phalanx of social forces that were ranged against it.”7
The ABN was a civilian group that advocated for the continued rule of General Ibrahim Babangida, Nigeria’s head of state from 1985 to 1993. Led by enterprise proprietor Arthur Nzeribe, the ABN functioned as a proxy for senior officers in search of to forestall Babangida’s promised 1993 transition to civilian governance.8 Allegedly bankrolled by Nigeria’s safety providers, the ABN first tried to derail the transition, acquiring a courtroom injunction to cease the 1993 presidential election.9 Although the polls proceeded, the ABN sought to discredit them, criticizing the conduct of the electoral fee and acquiring one other courtroom ruling to forestall the discharge of full election outcomes.10 The ruling supplied cowl for Babangida to annul the election, a choice that led to the appointment of a weak interim civilian authorities that was toppled by protection minister General Sani Abacha shortly thereafter. Five years later, as he defended Abacha’s self-succession bid, Nzeribe doubled down on the function he and the ABN performed, arguing that “the climate was not ripe for democracy.”11
The ABN functioned like right this moment’s professional-authorities NGOs in many respects. Opaquely funded and anti-democratic, it acted as a civilian surrogate for Nigeria’s authoritarian rulers. As such, it was capable of function one step faraway from its uniformed paymasters, lobbying and bribing newly elected legislators, planting tales in newspapers, and co-opting civil society activists.12 Along with different professional-authorities NGOs like Third Eye and New Breed, Nzeribe and his ABN developed a set of methods that he and different second-era teams would reprise and refine throughout the Abacha interval.
Perhaps Nigeria’s finest-identified professional-authorities NGO, YEAA flamboyantly championed General Abacha’s 1998 self-succession bid. The group’s chief, Daniel Kanu, was a Nigerian American health fanatic who parlayed a contract to provide gymnasium tools to the presidential villa right into a extra expansive political relationship with Abacha and his inside circle.13 YEAA shortly grew to become a multimillion-greenback operation, handing out items branded with Abacha’s identify—together with rice, cleaning soap, jewellery, and even televisions—as half of its marketing campaign.14 Kanu’s chorus that “Only Abacha can hold the country together” made him a frequent visitor at authorities capabilities and gave him privileged entry to the villa.15
In March 1998, Kanu organized a Two Million Man March to “persuade” Abacha to run for president. Together, Nigeria’s thirty-six states collectively spent as much as 9 billion naira ($414 million in 1998) to every ship 50,000 attendees to the rally.16 In addition, YEAA spent greater than 800 million naira ($36 million in 1998) on alterations to the parade floor the place it held the march, erecting eleven towers that held twenty-5 loudspeakers every and constructing ten phases on which in style musicians like King Sunny Ade carried out.17 Kanu claimed that unnamed “organizations, groups, and individuals” had helped finance the rally, although he additionally admitted that the federal government paid for at the least half of the fee.18 He later contradicted himself by claiming throughout a CNN interview that he obtained “zero . . . absolutely nil” for selling Abacha’s candidacy.19 The rally culminated in an early morning speech by Abacha’s civilian political adviser, who instructed the group that “this spontaneous and sincere outburst of affection solidarity and support is, no doubt, indicative of appreciation of General Abacha’s achievements.”20
YEAA was not the one pro-Abacha NGO-like entity. In the run-as much as Abacha’s 1998 self-succession bid, greater than 150 different such teams sprang up all throughout Nigeria, together with the National Mass Movement of Nigeria, twenty first Generation, Vision ’98, the National Movement for Peace and Stability, and the Northern Elders Forum.21 Similar to YEAA, none registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as required by legislation.22 Some sought to enhance Abacha’s picture and delegitimize professional-democracy activists, whereas others undertook barely disguised electoral campaigning or tried to penetrate the civil society motion in order to undermine its organizing capability.23 According to 1 journalist writing in February 1998:
All the teams have now converged on Abuja with lorry hundreds of employed crowds. They get permits to carry rallies anyplace in the nation and are adequately protected by legislation enforcement brokers. They organise symposia and workshops on why Abacha ought to proceed in workplace and pay visits to state navy directors, ministers, conventional rulers and people who matter in authorities. Such visits are given prominence in state-owned media. . . . Last week, eight such associations had emerged with some kind of presence in Abuja.24
Pro-Abacha teams additionally attacked potential dissenters. In May 1998, one such group, the Northern Nigerian Youth Christian Association, slammed former civilian vp Alex Ekwueme and different former politicians who opposed Abacha. According to the affiliation, the opposition criticized Abacha as a result of his candidacy “frustrated their personal ambitions to rule Nigeria.”25 Another pro-Abacha group—Project New Nigeria—piled on, dismissing Ekwueme, creator Wole Soyinka, and different professional-democracy figures as “dollar and sterling critics who did nothing for their fatherland.”26 With Abacha’s fastidiously orchestrated self-succession all however inevitable, Nigeria’s vociferous professional-authorities NGOs had been driving larger than ever earlier than. Then Abacha died all of the sudden in June 1998.
With Abacha gone, Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs misplaced each their purpose for present and their supply of financing. Most teams evaporated in a single day; others tried to reinvent themselves because the nation’s political energy networks quickly realigned. Some of their leaders ran for workplace. The ABN’s Nzeribe, for instance, joined the People’s Democratic Party and served two phrases in the Senate.27 YEAA’s Kanu ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives, and later served as a particular assistant (SA) to a governor of Imo State.28
Under presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (1999–2007) and Umaru Yar’Adua (2007–2010), the actions of professional-authorities NGOs reached a low ebb. In 2010, nevertheless, a number of briefcase NGOs—together with Ali Abacha’s Northern Patriotic Front and Ikenga Ugochinyere’s Alliance for Defense of Democracy—materialized to defend Maurice Iwu, Nigeria’s discredited elections chief.29 A partisan determine who as soon as instructed U.S. diplomats that “the worst election is better than no election,” Iwu presided over the nation’s disastrous 2007 normal election, which was characterised by political violence, voter intimidation, and proof of widespread fraud.30 Under intense strain from each home civil society teams and Washington, then president Goodluck Jonathan finally ignored Iwu’s supporters and sacked him forward of the 2011 vote.31
Another issue fueling the creation of briefcase NGOs since 1999 has been the readiness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accredit little-identified teams as official home election observers. In-depth evaluation of the 120 home teams accredited by the INEC to watch the 2019 elections reveals {that a} minority—solely fifty-4—are authentic NGOs with a discernible public profile, whereas forty-three are briefcase entities, fifteen are professional-authorities NGOs, and 9 are authorities parastatals or associations of authorities professionals.32 This discovering means that INEC conducts minimal due diligence on entities it accredits—or worse, that it knowingly permits professional-authorities entities to masquerade as unbiased election observers.
After a 15-12 months lull, professional-authorities NGO exercise has reached new heights since Buhari took workplace in 2015. Of the greater than 360 professional-authorities NGOs recognized in this analysis, 90 % started working in and across the capital, Abuja, since 2015. This surge is unlikely to be coincidental, given that professional-authorities NGOs depend on senior officers—albeit usually not directly—for steerage and funding. It can also be the consequence of a deliberate however unstated technique on the half of a handful of ruling occasion and navy elites to resuscitate a well-known political software, used throughout earlier durations of democratic retrenchment to dilute civil society and worldwide criticism.
In addition to tolerating—and maybe incentivizing—the expansion of professional-authorities NGOs, the Buhari authorities has tacitly supported legislative efforts to shrink Nigeria’s civic house. Since 2015, ruling occasion legislators have twice launched payments to strictly regulate NGOs, regardless that they’re already topic to company legal guidelines such because the Companies and Allied Matters Act.33 Claiming that some NGOs “solicit funds for selfish motives” and “[fund] the activities of insurgents,” the House deputy majority chief launched the primary such invoice in 2016, but it surely did not move earlier than the legislative session ended in 2019.34
Reiterating these unfounded assertions, House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila championed an identical invoice in 2019, declaring that NGOs wanted stricter regulation as a result of some had been aiding the Boko Haram insurgency.35 This second invoice aimed to create a civil society regulatory company with simply 4 civil society representatives on its nineteen-seat board.36 Two of these 4 could be nominated by the National Youth Council of Nigeria, a company whose president, Solomon Adodo, operates a number of professional-authorities NGOs.37 In early 2020, the invoice stalled amid sharp criticism from civil society and a few legislators, one of whom reminded his colleagues how, below navy rule, professional-democracy NGOs gave their “blood, sweat and resources to win democracy for the country.”38 Nevertheless, legislators amended the Companies and Allied Matters Act in 2020 to extend state affect over civil society teams, empowering the federal government to take away trustees from the board of an NGO when, for occasion, it deems that doing so is in the “public interests.”39
Instead of making it more durable for briefcase NGOs to function, elevated authorities regulation of civil society teams doubtless would have the other impact. Skewed by partisan bias, authorities NGO regulators virtually definitely would focus their consideration on monitoring mainstream civil society teams and deregistering these essential of authorities coverage or the safety sector. The Buhari authorities’s failure to implement present company guidelines that may preclude briefcase NGOs from working as prolifically as they do now means that new laws could be carried out in an equally selective method. Indeed, the creation of a civil society regulatory company may very well be the fruits of professional-authorities NGOs’ lengthy-working efforts to silence professional-democracy, good governance, and human rights teams.
What distinguishes Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs from its many authentic non-governmental and civil society organizations? Certain key traits and behaviors are particular to professional-authorities NGOs, and can be utilized to determine them. These traits embody sycophancy, a readiness to make use of advert hominem assaults, illiberalism, a penchant for holding identically staged press conferences, ephemerality, legitimacy-in search of, opaque funding, overt partisanship, and ties to little-identified information platforms and suppose tanks. The majority of professional-authorities NGOs lively since 2015 additionally share one other shocking attribute: hyperlinks to the southern half of Benue State, in central Nigeria.
This assortment of widespread identifiers doesn’t imply, nevertheless, that each one professional-authorities NGOs look and act the identical. Some specialize in defending the federal government’s monitor document on specific points (for instance, human rights or corruption), whereas others’ actions are extra opportunistic and disjointed. Some appear extra attuned to the information cycle than others, swiftly leaping to the protection of scandal-hit officers or authorities entities. It is unclear whether or not this responsiveness stems from their present ties to these officers or is a component of an try to domesticate excessive-stage demand for their providers by demonstrating a capability to attract consideration.
Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs aren’t refined: their effusive, over-the-prime reward of senior authorities officers and the navy units them other than mainstream civil society teams. Although authentic NGOs generally commend the Nigerian authorities for taking constructive coverage choices, appointing revered technocrats, or passing laws that aligns with their values, they typically try to make sure such suggestions is substantive and nonpartisan. Pro-government NGOs, in distinction, sign their loyalty and assist for the federal government, ruling occasion, and navy as loudly and incessantly as doable.
Since 2015, professional-authorities NGOs have showered Buhari, his authorities, the navy, and its service chiefs with adulation. In late 2020, for instance, one such group issued a press launch to “applaud the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for the giant strides recorded in the improvement of security in Nigeria” and make the false declare that the navy “has been able to restore normalcy in North West” and has incapacitated Boko Haram “in almost all the states in North-East Nigeria.”40 In early 2020, one other briefcase NGO “network” lauded Buhari for his “courageous and fearless posture in speaking the truth no matter the situation. His commitment is unwavering and an indication that, in a matter of time, the menace of Boko Haram would come to an end.”41 Around the identical time, a 3rd professional-authorities NGO likewise hailed the Nigerian Army’s extensively criticized “super camp” technique—which entailed a withdrawal from a large community of ahead working bases to a smaller quantity of extremely fortified compounds—as a “magic wand” in the battle towards Boko Haram.42
Pro-government teams additionally generally sofa their effusive reward as “policymaker recommendations,” copying the tone and format of statements made by authentic NGOs. For instance, one group that held a press convention to laud Nigeria’s corruption-susceptible National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) really useful that “[Buhari] continue in this fashion with regards to the operations of NEMA,” that the company’s director-normal doesn’t “rest on his oars,” and that “[Buhari] commends the director-general . . . for the excellent job he is doing.”43 In 2018, following a collection of navy defeats, one other professional-authorities NGO held a press convention to advocate that the Nigerian Army ought to preserve its “winning spirit” in the battle towards Boko Haram, assessing that “the Nigerian military has continued to rout the terrorists albeit with the occasional sacrifice to the fatherland.”44
Fake awards are one other software that professional-authorities NGOs use to ingratiate themselves with status-hungry senior officers or, in some circumstances, assist scandal-ridden people launder their reputations. In this manner, professional-authorities NGOs emulate opportunistic media organizations, skilled teams, and charitable foundations that incessantly bestow such spurious awards.45 By presenting awards, briefcase NGOs reveal their utility as surrogates for senior officers, significantly their potential to generate optimistic press protection for them. Award-giving additionally offers new entrants to the briefcase NGO trade with a pretext for assembly and increasing their relationship with senior officers and their SAs.
Examples of this tactic abound. In early 2021, one briefcase NGO introduced a authorities company head with an award for being “The Most Outstanding and Distinguished Director-General of the Decade in Nigeria.”46 In 2019, one other unknown NGO introduced a “Best Governor” award to a state governor who had simply weathered a serious corruption scandal.47 In one other occasion, a professional-authorities NGO introduced a Nigerian Army battalion commander with a “Peace Award for Excellence and National Unity and Professionalism.”48 Although these manufactured awards seemingly are innocent, for professional-authorities NGOs they’re half of a broader set of behaviors that assist them—and senior officers—seem extra authentic and respectable.
Even as Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs reward key members of the present regime, in addition they direct stinging advert hominem assaults on the critics or perceived opponents of Buhari, the navy, or senior authorities officers. This rhetoric has three important goals. First, it’s used to discredit and delegitimize exterior criticism by portray it as partisan, unpatriotic, or pushed by ulterior motives. Second, it’s employed to intimidate and silence authentic activists, credible home and worldwide NGOs, overseas governments, and the media. Finally, it helps to shift duty for Nigeria’s worsening safety state of affairs and different governance failures away from prime officers onto malign exterior influences.
Pro-government NGOs’ assaults, whether or not independently initiated or guided by prime officers, present a helpful window into the zeitgeist of Nigeria’s ruling elites, revealing which critiques they discover most unsettling. They have a tendency to focus on an identical set of perceived adversaries. These embody Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for their work on human rights abuses in Nigeria; Transparency International, particularly its annual Corruption Perception Index, in which Nigeria constantly ranks poorly; worldwide media organizations corresponding to CNN, the BBC, and Reuters; and anti-authorities teams such because the Islamic Movement of Nigeria and the Indigenous People of Biafra.
Pro-government NGO protest towards Amnesty International. Source: “Civil Society Group Calls for Expulsion of Amnesty International,” Television Nigerian, YouTube video, 1:19, May 23, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8Dq0nOaMXw.
In some circumstances, professional-authorities NGOs’ assaults verge on incitement, portray revered, reform-minded organizations as enemies of the state. In early 2021, for instance, one professional-authorities NGO accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Amnesty International of conspiring to overthrow the Nigerian authorities, asserting that:
The ICC, Amnesty International and their associates are collaborating with the opposition in this devilish pursuit . . . jostling for an unlawful and probably a forceful regime change to plant parts of the opposition in positions that may allow them to destroy the nation from inside. . . . It is most unlucky that the ICC and Amnesty International . . . have now constituted themselves into professional-terrorist organizations just because of their desperation to implement the evil agenda they’ve in the nation. They have additionally dedicated themselves to actively sabotaging Nigeria’s arduous-received democracy, which certified them because the nation’s main enemies. . . . [We] unequivocally demand that the Federal Government takes decisive actions to counter the threats posed to Nigeria’s democracy and safety by the ICC and Amnesty International. Things have gotten to the purpose the place these organizations, irrespective of their now abused worldwide standing, should deal with [sic] in the style they deserve. . . . [We are] warning the ICC and Amnesty International that they have to now be ready to satisfy the lots of Nigeria, whose lives they’re jeopardizing with their subversive actions.49
Another professional-authorities NGO issued an identical menace:
Nigerians should stand up and disown Amnesty International and all it stands for. They should take their future into their fingers and ship this demonic NGO out of their nation in order to have peace. . . . The group and people who implement its evil plans in Nigeria will now be handled in the identical measure they’ve handled our pricey nation. They can not anticipate to get pleasure from peace and tranquility the place they’ve sponsored terrorists to flood components of the nation with human blood.50
Likewise, the mockingly named Citizens Against Fake Activists—a staunchly professional-navy NGO—went a step additional, calling for the Nigerian authorities to
prescribe demise by hanging for anybody that helps Boko Haram in any method, together with people who conceal behind the nomenclature of activists to supply help to terrorists and people who collude with overseas entities to undermine the nationwide curiosity of Nigeria. . . . It is our view that if they are often callous to the purpose of sabotaging Nigeria for overseas pursuits and assist them to empower Boko Haram then they need to even be able to get what’s coming to them as repercussions for their treachery.51
Over the long run, professional-authorities NGOs growing use of hateful rhetoric may radicalize a couple of unwitting Nigerians, inciting them to conduct politically motivated assaults towards home civil society teams, worldwide NGOs, and journalists. In this respect, Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs and their related on-line platforms may turn out to be like far-proper media shops in different international locations around the globe: breeding grounds for intolerance, conspiracy theories, and political violence.
As the aforementioned assaults present, professional-authorities NGOs’ tendency to rail towards, reasonably than promote, values championed by their authentic counterparts is one of their most defining traits. Their dissonant stances on core points held by mainstream civil society teams—human rights, democracy, good governance, and the safety of civil liberties—are vital crimson flags.
Pro-government NGOs’ reactions to the 2020 #EndSARS protests, which decried the brutal, abusive practices of the Nigerian Police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), illustrate their anti-democratic tendencies. Even as different home and worldwide NGOs supported Nigerians’ proper to peacefully protest towards police brutality whereas additionally condemning incidences of looting and assaults on safety personnel, professional-authorities NGOs opposed the protests in their entirety. They additionally criticized worldwide media protection of the Lekki shootings (in which troopers killed at the least ten unarmed protesters), with one group calling the incident “fake news.”52 Another group slammed CNN’s protection of the Lekki killings, saying it “resorted to concocting fresh lies with its fantasy movie production” and that its protection was “patently racist” and “part of a campaign of demonization against the authorities in Nigeria.”53 In one notably ironic occasion, a professional-authorities NGO defended safety companies’ dealing with of the #EndSARS disaster by accusing the worldwide media of pay-for-play journalism:
CNN ought to get up from the blind hatchet jobs it’s contracted to do. Truth fights again. It goofed in Nigeria terribly and the world is more and more frowning at their public media mercantilism. It ought to settle for the fact that some disgruntled parts are out to destabilize the nation and recruited it to consciously water this agenda to fruition. We know CNN as satanic brokers, however Nigeria is a forbidden land to observe their commerce. Let them look elsewhere.54
For their half, mainstream civil society teams view professional-authorities NGOs and their intolerant agenda with deep distrust.55 Reputable civil society boards such because the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, a decade-outdated platform for civil society teams to coordinate and collaborate on election points, doesn’t embody any professional-authorities NGOs.56 This state of affairs means that Nigeria’s extra credible and effectively-established NGOs are capable of determine and marginalize professional-authorities NGOs, even when many media platforms aren’t. Although this “member’s club” method may very well be seen as exclusionary, it does make sure that professional-authorities NGOs’ intolerant rhetoric doesn’t contaminate authentic civil society narratives.
All NGOs convene public occasions, corresponding to displays, workshops, and report launches, occasionally. However, Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs specialize in holding identically staged “global press conferences”. Hosted on the similar two or three Abuja motels and bedecked with the identical fashion of banners, these occasions function a platform for studying—usually verbatim—equally structured press releases that many media shops then print phrase-for-phrase. Since 2015, professional-authorities teams have convened effectively over 500 such press conferences, guaranteeing that their anti-democratic assaults and professional-regime paeans incessantly make headlines.57
Many of Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs exist solely in identify, popping up for a couple of weeks earlier than disappearing altogether. Out of the 360-plus professional-authorities teams recognized via this analysis, greater than 290 held only one or two press conferences in complete.58 Fewer than 7 % are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, as all NGOs are legally required to do.59 Likewise, only a few possess any discernible digital footprint (web site, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profile) or function from a brick-and-mortar handle.
Despite their ephemerality, professional-authorities NGOs are fast to label those that criticize authorities insurance policies and actions as “fake activists.” In one such assertion, a briefcase group lamented that:
[We are] baffled on the eagerness some Nigerians housed below Nigeria’s reigning fashionable camps for idlers parading as CSOs [civil society organizations]/activists. They simply render themselves as persona assault canines and weapons of blackmail for equally doubtful characters for peanuts. They flaunt the symbol of disgusting, unscrupulous and unconscionable characters. Outside their overt partisan proclivities is the tendency of unbated exhibition of unrestrained hatred towards the anti-corruption campaigns of President Muhammadu Buhari and any of his appointee [sic] who toes this path.60
Even as this rhetoric seeks to delegitimize these civil society activists who query the conduct of Nigeria’s usually venal and more and more authoritarian ruling class, it attracts consideration to the truth that most professional-authorities NGOs are themselves ephemeral constructs.
Even Nigeria’s shortest-lived professional-authorities NGOs go to nice and sometimes apparent lengths to seem authentic. Their leaders could give themselves doubtful honorifics, corresponding to comrade, excessive chief, sir, or prince, or misuse actual-world skilled titles like ambassador or professor. Some teams try to bolster their credibility by presenting themselves because the voice of specific skilled or social teams, corresponding to attorneys, unemployed youth, or Nigerians dwelling in the diaspora.61 To convey a company identification and make their press conferences extra eye-catching, professional-authorities NGOs could make use of matching, branded, or colour-coordinated clothes for public occasions (as seen in Figure 2).
Pro-government NGOs additionally search to magnify their significance by impersonating real stakeholders or portraying themselves as nationwide coalitions of dozens—even a whole lot—of unnamed civil society teams. In doing so, they search to connect extra credibility and legitimacy to their statements, implying that they characterize the views of a wider social or geographical constituency. Out of the greater than 360 professional-authorities NGOs recognized for this paper, 96 had “coalition” in their identify.62 Identifying as a coalition additionally imitates a method utilized by authentic civil society teams, who generally kind short-term coalitions to talk collectively or foyer the federal government on particular points, particularly throughout elections.
Murky financing is one other widespread characteristic of Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs. Legitimate NGOs of all sizes want funds to function, manage occasions, conduct coaching and analysis, pay workers, and lease workplace house. Most authentic NGOs are supported both straight by grants or process-particular contracts from worldwide improvement companies and charitable foundations, or not directly by way of partnerships with bigger NGOs.63 Many disclose their funders on their web site, at their occasions, or in their annual reviews. Most worldwide donors likewise publish particulars of the initiatives and organizations they fund.
Pro-government NGOs, against this, don’t reveal their funding sources. Since these teams’ actions run counter to—and sometimes explicitly oppose—the values of worldwide donors and legit home NGOs, it may be assumed that they don’t obtain funds from these sources. Instead, they virtually definitely are bankrolled by authorities entities, the navy, or ruling occasion supporters. Although the scope and scale of this funding is a thriller, some of it doubtless originates from “security votes”—corruption-susceptible slush funds budgeted for the use of prime federal, state, and safety officers—or via public relations spending by SAs connected to prime officers.64
According to sources interviewed for this paper, SAs play a key function in doing enterprise with professional-authorities NGOs. Most senior officers have a number of such SAs, all of whom are working-stage staffers. Sometimes, briefcase NGO entrepreneurs will method an SA to market their providers.65 In most situations, nevertheless, an SA will hunt down briefcase NGO operators, having satisfied their principal that they’ve a public relations downside that may be countered utilizing surrogates.66 SAs almost definitely to interact with surrogates embody these whose portfolios cowl political affairs, media, digital/new media, home affairs, public relations, and authorized issues.67
SAs usually use funds gleaned from their ministry or company’s working funds to pay surrogates to generate optimistic media consideration or wage assaults on behalf of their principal.68 In some circumstances, they may look for people who’ve a fame for creating and successfully mobilizing briefcase professional-authorities NGOs and negotiate a payment for their providers.69 Thus, in many respects, SAs’ use of professional-authorities NGOs is akin to their use of public relations consultants, sympathetic journalists, or social media warriors to assist form narratives and refute accusations of corruption or underperformance.
The navy makes use of related strategies to interact professional-authorities NGOs, in line with protection sector sources interviewed for this paper. Like SAs, uniformed aides to Nigeria’s service chiefs are also unofficially tasked with defending their principals from unhealthy press.70 Yet in contrast to civilian officers, Nigeria’s service chiefs have a devoted official mechanism—their Directorate for Public Relations—accountable for influencing media narratives and pushing again on exterior critics, particularly worldwide human rights organizations.71 The navy pays for the providers of exterior surrogates corresponding to briefcase NGOs utilizing each off-funds money funds and inflated contracts for human rights coaching, media consulting providers, or digital promotion.72 To achieve entry to those profitable alternatives, professional-authorities NGOs should leverage their private connections to foyer senior officers and domesticate allies inside the chain of command in addition to reveal their potential to disseminate professional-navy propaganda in the press and on social media.73
Outright politicization is one other component that distinguishes briefcase NGOs—each professional-authorities and opposition-backed—from their authentic counterparts. Before Buhari’s election in 2015, Nigeria’s briefcase NGOs engaged primarily in a partisan context, making an attempt to confer legitimacy on candidates by way of effectively-publicized endorsements or claiming to vindicate politicians accused of corruption or poor efficiency. Once Buhari entered workplace, professional-authorities teams made efforts to burnish his fame and safe his maintain on energy.
Ahead of the 2019 elections, for instance, a generically named Coalition of Civil Society Organizations held a press convention to endorse Buhari for a second time period, citing his “excellent performance” in securing the nation.74 Claiming to consist of over 300 teams, the coalition was led by Okpokwu Ogenyi, a Benue South native (see beneath) and aspiring APC politician linked to at the least ten different professional-authorities NGOs.75 To justify its endorsement, the coalition pointed to a report by a professional-authorities “think tank” that “yawningly reechoes that the President has frenetically tackled the insurgency with so much vigor, energy and resources. It stamps that [he] has made the difference in counter-terrorism combat and [is] deserving of loud accolades and commendations.”76 Rather than selling a free and honest electoral course of, the purported coalition centered on championing Buhari’s candidacy.
The partisan political actions of briefcase NGOs often are slender and parochial in scope, geared toward buoying (or torpedoing) the ambitions of particular person politicians. In early 2021, for instance, the Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness—which claims, with out proof, to be a coalition of over 100 civil society teams—held a collection of press conferences in assist of a senator from Cross River State whose reelection was being challenged in the courts. Couching its rhetoric in discuss of electoral integrity and the rule of legislation, the self-described civil society community pled the senator’s case below the guise of a roundtable dialogue on “The Role of INEC and the Judiciary in Our Electoral System.”77 Its chief, an affiliate of the effectively-linked NGO figurehead Ali Abacha (see beneath), argued that the senator is a “vibrant young lawyer and a doctorate degree holder [who] should be let alone to effectively continue the representation of the good people of Cross River North.”78 This kind of overtly political intervention is attribute of pretend civil society teams.
Pro-government NGOs thrive on the protection their statements, press conferences, and public protests obtain from a dozen or so of Nigeria’s latest and least-identified media platforms. Some of these platforms are owned or operated by the leaders of professional-authorities NGOs or their shut associates. Etuk Bassey Williams, for instance, who leads the Coalition of Civil Society Groups—a distinguished professional-navy NGO—is the CEO of Al Jazirah News, a platform that affords beneficiant protection to his and lots of different professional-authorities NGOs.79
Well-established media shops additionally print articles that includes the actions of professional-authorities NGOs. It is unclear why these platforms’ profession journalists don’t perform due diligence on unfamiliar NGOs or ask robust questions on their sponsors or biases. In many situations, mainstream media platforms will publish professional-authorities NGOs’ press statements verbatim with out inserting their remarks in context or in search of opposing viewpoints. Such tales may very well be the product of brown-envelope journalism, a widespread observe in Nigeria in which reporters settle for, and even solicit, money in change for inserting tales.80 In a 2013 examine, greater than 75 % of journalists surveyed admitted to accepting such items, generally euphemistically referred to as “transport money” or “kola nut.”81
Emulating their authentic counterparts, professional-authorities NGOs additionally draw upon the work of a small quantity of sympathetic “think tanks” whose analysis—invariably unpublished—validates their views. One such entity is the Centre for International and Strategic Studies (to not be confused with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a good Washington, DC–primarily based suppose tank). The group doesn’t seem to have any full-time workers, a bodily handle, or a web site the place its evaluation and different details about it and its roster of specialists will be accessed.82 In January 2020, it hosted a e-book launch for Terrance Kuanum, an affiliate of Philip Agbese (see beneath) and spokesman for Global Amnesty Watch, a strongly professional-navy NGO.83 Another briefcase suppose tank, the Centre for Counter-Terrorism and Preventive Diplomacy, is linked to an individual named as an legal professional for the Save Humanity Advocacy Centre, one other prolific professional-navy NGO.84
Notably, a majority of professional-authorities NGOs recognized by this paper have ties to the southern half of Benue State in central Nigeria (see Figure 3). The causes behind this geographical linkage aren’t solely clear. Benue State shouldn’t be a stronghold of the ruling APC; in latest years, it has been extra of a swing state. Moreover, Benue South has returned solely People’s Democratic Party senators since 1999. The zone is overwhelmingly Christian and residential to the Idoma and Igede ethnic teams, that are overshadowed by the bigger Tiv ethnic group in state political calculations. One interviewed supply did recommend, nevertheless, that Benue’s hyperlinks to professional-authorities NGOs could stem from the truth that native politics there are sharper-elbowed, extra radical, and extra zealous than elsewhere in Nigeria.85

The likelier rationalization for the Benue South connection has to do with the function of a couple of key professional-authorities NGO leaders and their expansive, intertwined private and kinship networks. Foremost amongst these is Philip Agbese, a professional-authorities NGO entrepreneur the ultimate. Agbese and lots of of his kinsmen-turned-associates—together with Isaac Ikpa, Ogenyi Okpokwu, Solomon Adodo, and Sabo Odeh—function portfolios of professional-authorities NGOs that adjust in dimension and exercise stage. Each seems to have cultivated separate private networks of fellow NGO entrepreneurs, some of whom even have clear ties to Agbese. Nevertheless, the continuing proliferation and enlargement of Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGO trade means that its ties to Agbese and different pioneers from Benue South could regularly turn out to be much less salient over time.
Given the ephemeral nature of many of Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs, it is smart to have a look at a couple of distinguished leaders linked to some of the subsector’s most enduring teams. Analyzing their actions and behaviors will assist reveal how professional-authorities NGOs perform and the way their dangerous influence on democracy, governance, and human rights in Nigeria will be addressed.
If Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs had been a constellation, Philip Agbese could be its North Star. Dynamic, articulate, and effectively-networked, Agbese is linked both straight or not directly to greater than forty such teams. An ethnic Idoma from southern Benue State, Agbese obtained a legislation diploma from Middlesex University in the United Kingdom.86 He can be an aspiring APC politician. In 2020, he launched his 2023 marketing campaign for the House of Representatives after abandoning a mooted Senate bid.87 Agbese can be eager to earn a fame for philanthropy by donating cash to his neighborhood and pledging to pay to ship three prime undergraduates from his potential constituency to earn grasp’s levels in the United Kingdom.88
When not campaigning, Agbese writes for varied media shops, together with his personal on-line platform TheNigerian News. His articles give attention to complimenting Buhari and authorities insurance policies, lauding the navy, and needling his personal opponents.89 Agbese even wrote an grandiloquent op-ed to disclaim “blackmailing diatribes” made by “pseudo-activist[s]” that accused him of being sponsored by President Muhammadu Buhari . . . and the Chief of Army Staff and chief of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai, my most admirable Nigerian in latest occasions[,] of being commissioned to spearhead the marketing campaign towards the expulsion of Amnesty International (AI) in Nigeria.”90 He additionally claimed that he’s “not one of those publishers who will send out my reporters or go to solicit for help from anyone because I support the Nigerian Army or President Buhari’s government. I do it very honestly and from the bottom of my heart.”91
Looking at his prodigious output, it’s clear that Agbese is a wordsmith at coronary heart. In 2019, he printed a e-book, Integrity vs Power Play: Understanding the Buhari Phenomenon—which he claimed obtained over 1 million preorders—profiling Buhari as a “transformational leader and an outstanding democrat.”92 It was not, he disingenuously claimed, “the usual praise-singing or sycophantic stuff on Buhari’s administration, which is now the creed and penchant of many Nigerians who pencil down anything on public office holders.”93 Yet his e-book evidently was written with a ruling occasion major run in thoughts.
Despite Agbese’s assertion, the acknowledgments part of his e-book reads as a “who’s who” of Nigerian professional-authorities NGOs. In it, he thanks Okpokwu Ogenyi (“a true brother, friend, and partner”); Terrance Kuanum of Global Amnesty Watch; Isaac Ikpa of the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, in addition to many different briefcase coalitions; and Shuaibu Danfulani of the Centre for International and Strategic Studies.94 Agbese additionally thanked “my silent teacher” the retired Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, who served as director of the Nigerian Army’s public relations from 2015 to 2018.95 In a 2019 op-ed, Agbese mentioned of his mentor:
Usman knew, wars aren’t received with arsenals alone. Propaganda performs an ostensible function. In reality, Nazi Germany wartime propagandist, Joseph Goebbels enunciated a guideline of battle propaganda. He mentioned, “The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.” The retired Army picture maker embodied this perfection all through his service years, wherever he served.96
Something of a propagandist himself, Agbese’s admiration for others who “work invisibly” is noteworthy. If and when it happens, Agbese’s ascension to public workplace can be a boon to Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs, many of that are run by his allies and acolytes.
Princess Bosede Ajibola is maybe one of probably the most militant and extremely specialised briefcase NGO operators in Nigeria. In lower than three years, she has made a reputation for herself by aggressively defending the conduct of Nigeria’s navy, praising its service chiefs, and attacking its perceived home and worldwide critics. Nevertheless, Ajibola’s background and private connections are unclear, as she has no digital footprint past her media appearances, protest marches, and the occasional op-ed.
Ajibola first appeared in the general public enviornment in early 2019 when, below the auspices of 9 totally different briefcase NGOs, she made a collection of partisan, professional-authorities media forays.97 By early 2020, she had established her model and settled on her major mouthpiece: the professional-navy Centre for African Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER). Using CALSER as a platform, she subsequently held close to-weekly press conferences praising the military, condemning worldwide NGOs, and attacking the governor of Borno State for daring to criticize the navy’s conduct in his state.
Ajibola additionally excels at organizing demonstrations. In December 2019, for instance, she used a briefcase group referred to as the Movement Against Slavery and Terrorism to guide avenue protests towards the French authorities, accusing them of “providing logistic support under the cover of humanitarian ‘whatever’ to the Boko Haram fighters” and blaming them for the “resurgence of Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria.”98 Departing from her ready script, she additionally claimed that: “A cargo plane was intercepted . . . in Mali, and it was all African children. Some of them were Nigerian children. And they were taken there for what? For their pedophile people to destroy the destiny of these children, and then after these children die, they harvest human organs for their own children. No child is better than any other child! We say no to France!”99 This excessive rhetoric echoes that utilized by different far-proper conspiracy theorists, corresponding to Q-Anon adherents, who incessantly accuse their opponents of little one trafficking and organ harvesting.100
Since adopting CALSER as her major platform, Ajibola has escalated her rhetoric. In November 2020, for instance, she appeared to threaten to hurt Amnesty International staffers, saying that her group would perform protests on the identical “scale that innocent police men lynched by mobs were treated during the [#EndSARS] protest across the country.”101 Likewise, in April 2021, CALSER weaponized the U.S. State Department’s 2020 Human Rights Report for Nigeria—which did not confirm the October 2020 killing of unarmed #EndSARS protesters by troopers on the Lekki tollbooth—towards Amnesty International. In the State Department’s hedging, CALSER noticed a possibility to discredit civil society critics of the military’s poor human rights document. It swiftly convened a press convention to announce that Washington had “vindicated the [Nigerian Army] of any wrongdoing during the protest in Lagos” and hail the report as “a welcome development for all lovers of democracy because it has indeed exposed the conspiracy against the [army] by Amnesty International and its cohorts.”102 Looking forward, CALSER—whether or not fronted by Ajibola or another firebrand—is on monitor to turn out to be one of the military’s most tireless and vociferous surrogates.
The story of Ibrahim Kabiru Dallah—who runs a clothes store and digital printing enterprise in Nasarawa State—demonstrates the diploma to which Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs operators need to hustle and multitask to make ends meet. From his social media accounts, Dallah seems to be industrious, bold, and versatile. He aspires, he says, to turn out to be governor of his state sometime.103 Yet he additionally has an alter ego because the vocal chief of a number of briefcase professional-authorities NGOs.104
Using these NGOs as a platform, Dallah has aggressively defended the federal government’s poor human rights document and attacked its critics. On October 14, 2020, he led an indication by the vaguely named Coalition of Civil Society Groups in Abuja that referred to as on Nigerians to assist a brand new unit fashioned because the successor to the notorious SARS and finish their protests towards police brutality.105 At its demonstration, the coalition declared that the #EndSARS protests had been “totally uncalled-for and unacceptable,” to not point out “ill-conceived as the advantages and usefulness of SARS in curbing crimes in Nigeria overwhelmingly outweighed their few mistakes, therefore, such protests can be highly demoralising.”106 In a stark warning presaging the Lekki killings perpetrated six days later, Dallah himself added that “whoever sees the police as an enemy is a suspect.”107 Five days after the killings, Dallah appeared unfazed, tweeting: “It is time to get all the enemies of Nigeria arrested. Especially those working with the International Community to undermine our Country.”108
In April 2020, Dallah—below the auspices of a gaggle referred to as the Coalition Against Fake Activists—forcefully condemned Buhari’s social media critics. Calling them “pay-for-hire activist[s],” he asserted that “their decision to desecrate the highest office in the land is the height of irresponsibility regardless of how much they have been paid to distract the government of the day.”109 A couple of days later, Dallah held one other press convention to say that Buhari’s critics “would be made to pay for their sins and against Nigeria and humanity if they do not desist from such unpatriotic acts.”110 Just a couple of days later, he once more spoke out to decry “fake activists and fake news agents” who, he claimed, together with “their proxies as well as affiliated international NGOs [are] escalating the campaign of fake news and unsubstantiated stories to help Boko Haram/ISWAP resist its imminent end.”111 By tirelessly assailing its critics as stooges and enemies of the state, Dallah helps the federal government shrink Nigeria’s civic house.
Dallah’s rise from provincial clothier to nationwide propaganda warrior illustrates how the proliferation of Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs is pushed in half by hustling opportunists’ efforts to satisfy prime officers’ rising demand for civil society surrogates. It means that, over time, the quantity of half-time professional-authorities NGO operators will enhance, making it harder to determine them and counter their anti-democratic, authoritarian-pleasant messaging.
Ali Abacha—the youthful brother of former dictator Sani Abacha—is one of Nigeria’s most seasoned professional-authorities NGO leaders. Linked to at the least 5 such teams, one of his most enduring briefcase NGOs is the Northern Patriotic Front (NPF), a gaggle that continues to function twenty-three years after it first made headlines by advocating in favor of Sani Abacha’s self-succession bid.112 It often grabs headlines by praising senior officers and authorities actions. In 2011, for instance, Ali Abacha and the NPF fawned over then president Goodluck Jonathan’s cupboard picks, singling out the reappointment of petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke for particular reward by saying that she “transformed the petroleum industry.”113 Alison-Madueke has since been implicated in a number of corruption scandals, is the topic of an ongoing prison investigation in the United Kingdom, and is being tried in Nigeria—in absentia—for cash laundering.114
In early April 2014, Abacha and the NPF issued an identical flattery-laden press launch saluting “the federal government ably led by His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for the handling of the Boko-Haram issue” and commend the “doggedness of the Nigerian military and . . . their ability in restoring partial normalcy to the [conflict] zone despite the huge losses suffered.”115 A mere ten days later, Nigerian authorities and navy failures had been laid naked when Boko Haram kidnapped 276 feminine college students from a faculty in Chibok, Borno State—over 100 of whom had been nonetheless in captivity seven years later.116
In 2019, Ali Abacha weighed in—this time below the auspices of a special briefcase NGO—to reward Buhari and urge the House of Representatives to elect a speaker who didn’t have “a questionable past, tinted antecedents, and a barrage of court cases.”117 In doing so, he sought to discredit a frontrunner for the submit and increase the candidacy of one other legislator.118 Yet whilst he criticized corruption, Abacha was in the late phases of an extended-working authorized battle—which he lastly misplaced in January 2021—to unfreeze off-shore accounts traced to him and family of his late brother in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg.119 Ali Abacha’s lingering presence on the fringes of Nigeria’s NGO sector is a reminder that its ruling elites are nonetheless utilizing methods from the navy rule interval to concurrently pacify and co-choose civil society teams and silence calls for improved governance and assured primary human rights.
Riding larger than at any time for the reason that finish of navy rule, Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs aren’t a innocent nuisance or amusing political sideshow. Instead, they characterize a significant menace to Nigeria’s democratic improvement, social cohesion, and lengthy-time period stability. These teams’ infiltration of one of Nigerian democracy’s few remaining strongholds—its dynamic and unbiased civil society house—is accelerating. Its tempo and scope have reached some extent that ought to concern and immediate pushback from authentic civil society actors, accountable media practitioners, reform-minded authorities officers, and worldwide voices.
The rise of Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs issues as a result of it—
What will be executed to rein in Nigeria’s professional-authorities NGOs and disincentivize their actions, given their damaging influence? Increased regulation of civil society teams shouldn’t be the reply; prime authorities officers have already signaled that they’d use any new guidelines to limit the actions of mainstream, unbiased NGOs and permit partisan regulators to show a blind eye to the actions of unregistered, professional-authorities teams. Stricter laws would, in different phrases, empower sycophantic teams by giving the federal government new instruments to strain and punish its critics, particularly professional-democracy and human rights teams sustained by worldwide donors.
Instead of creating new guidelines, the Nigerian authorities ought to higher implement present company legal guidelines, guaranteeing that each one NGOs register with the Corporate Affairs Commission, determine a board of trustees, and submit annual monetary reviews to the fee.121 Currently, only a few professional-authorities NGOs adjust to such primary guidelines. Ensuring they accomplish that would make it harder for them to assert legitimacy as they perform verbal hit-and-run assaults on behalf of authorities officers. Nigeria’s tax enforcement and anti-corruption companies must also examine briefcase NGOs like these described right here, significantly with respect to their sources of funding, tax compliance, and relationships with politically uncovered individuals.
Donors, diplomats, and improvement professionals, in addition to authentic home and worldwide NGOs, additionally may do extra to name out professional-authorities teams’ poisonous behaviors and exert strain on their excessive-stage sponsors. When these self-proclaimed civil society allies see briefcase NGOs championing intolerant and anti-democratic causes, they need to converse out towards such actions. In their non-public conferences, Nigerian civil society’s worldwide allies must also press senior authorities officers and navy officers to cease covertly mobilizing and funding civil society surrogates. International diplomats may additionally levy visa bans on these professional-authorities NGO leaders that challenge violent threats or spew hate speech.
For their half, Nigeria’s mainstream media shops—which embody Premium Times, Vanguard, This Day, NTA (Nigerian Television Authority), and Channels—may undertake extra due diligence on the actions of civil society teams. Instead of masking professional-authorities NGOs’ cookie-cutter press conferences verbatim, they may ask why an unknown, unregistered group is heaping reward on authorities officers or attacking their critics. Journalists and their editors ought to look upon such stage-managed occasions with suspicion and refuse inducements to attend such occasions or place tales about them. Established media platforms that want to preserve their credibility have a powerful incentive to shun professional-authorities NGOs’ thinly disguised propaganda. At the very least, they need to publish such items as op-eds reasonably than factual information tales.
Nigeria’s authentic civil society organizations, in the meantime, may work collectively to undertake voluntary requirements or a code of conduct that may assist the media, authorities officers, and on a regular basis Nigerians separate reliable NGOs from briefcase and for-rent teams. Nigerian civil society’s worldwide companions may facilitate this effort by supporting the institution of an Open Civil Society Portal that would function a mechanism for each new and established NGOs to add their company registration and tax paperwork, trustee particulars, and annual monetary reviews. Longer time period, such a platform may additionally function a donor suggestions and challenge monitoring mechanism, giving larger publicity to up-and-coming NGOs that function in line with established good practices.
In conclusion, a sustainable method to mitigating the menace that professional-authorities NGOs pose to Nigerian democracy and stability doesn’t require daring diplomatic motion, jarring reforms, or costly programmatic options. It will be addressed via a mixture of casual methods, together with extra assertive counter-messaging by mainstream NGOs, media due diligence, and focused worldwide engagement. Legitimate civil society teams may additionally petition the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to research the obvious of the pretend NGOs and their leaders. From a social norms perspective, calling out professional-authorities NGOs and exposing their hyperlinks to prime officers will, over time, delegitimize them, defuse their anti-democratic messaging, and diminish their usefulness as surrogates. By doing so, these eager to advance democracy, democracy, good governance, and human rights would show what the nation’s ruling elites already know: Nigeria’s civil society sector is its strongest counterweight to their corrupt, abusive, and autocratic tendencies.

Correction: The unique model of this paper included an appendix itemizing some Nigerian organizations. In response to some feedback and questions, that appendix has been deleted pending further evaluation. The appendix erroneously included the Nigeria Network of NGOs primarily based on incorrect info. Carnegie regrets any misunderstandings that will have arisen from this mistaken inclusion.

Matthew T. Page is a nonresident scholar with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an affiliate fellow with the Africa Programme at Chatham House, and nonresident fellow with the Centre for Democracy and Development in Abuja. He does consultancy work and co-authored Nigeria: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2018). Until lately, Page was the U.S. intelligence neighborhood’s prime Nigeria skilled on the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He has additionally served on the National Intelligence Council, on the Defense Intelligence Agency, and as a global affairs fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations.


1 Stephen Akinyemi Lafenwa, “Civil Society and the Anti-Corruption Struggle in Nigeria,” International Journal of Business and Social Science 7, no. 3 (March 2016): 115–27, https://ijbssnet.com/journals/Vol_7_No_3_March_2016/12.pdf.
2 Jibrin Ibrahim, “Nigeria’s Shrinking Civic Space,” Premium Times, May 7, 2021, “https://www.premiumtimesng.com/opinion/459981-nigerias-shrinking-civic-space-by-jibrin-ibrahim.html; and Chioma Agwuebo, Reclaiming Nigeria’s Shrinking Online Civic Space: A Collective and Sustainable Civil Society Approach to Protect Liberties (Abuja: Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, 2021), https://yaraduafoundation.org/files/Reclaiming%20Nigeria’s%20Shrinking%20Online%20Space.pdf.
3 Based on evaluation of an in depth, creator-compiled information set of greater than 360 professional-authorities NGOs.
4 Darren Kew, “The Rise of Non-Governmental Organizations in the 1990s,” in Nigeria’s Struggle for Democracy and Good Governance, ed. Adigun A. B. Agbaje, Larry Diamond, and Ebere Onwudiwe (Ibadan: Ibadan University Press, 2004), 103.
5 A 2018 examine of social utilization by 1,986 Nigerian NGOs discovered {that a} small total proportion of Nigerian NGOs used social media (solely 18.4 % of teams had lively Facebook accounts and solely 7.6 % used Twitter). It is probably going, nevertheless, that the authors findings had been skewed by the inclusion of briefcase or one-individual NGOs that do not need the capability to leverage social media. The authors did discover, nevertheless, that about 40 % of social media-savvy NGOs’ tweets had been extremely interactive (vice one-method communication), a charge larger than the authors had been anticipating or discovered in related analyses of U.S. NGOs’ social media exercise. See Crystal Armstrong and Charity Butcher, “Digital Civil Society: How Nigerian NGOs Utilize Social Media Platforms,” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 31 (2018): 251–73. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10767-017-9268-4.
6 For extra on the actions and buildings of professional-democracy NGOs throughout navy rule, see: Kew, “The Rise of Non-Governmental Organizations in the 1990s”; Ebenezer Obadare, “Manufacturing Civil Society: The Abacha Junta and the Struggle for Public Space in Nigeria,” in Agbaje, Diamond, and Onwudiwe, Nigeria’s Struggle for Democracy and Good Governance, 133–52.
7 Obadare, “Manufacturing Civil Society,” 141.
8 Peter M. Lewis, Pearl T. Robinson, and Barnett R. Rubin, Stabilizing Nigeria: Sanctions, Incentives, and Support for Civil Society (New York: Century Foundation Press, 1998), 45.
9 Wole Soyinka, “The Babangida Watch,” New York Times, July 1, 1993, https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/01/opinion/the-babangida-watch.html.
10 Peter M. Lewis, “Endgame in Nigeria? The Politics of a Failed Democratic Transition,” African Affairs 93, no. 372 (July 1994): 323–40, https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.afraf.a098722.
11 Joseph Ode and Tobs Agbaegbu, “We Want Abacha: An Interview with Arthur Nzeribe,” Newswatch, June 8, 1998.
12 A. Carl Levan, “Questioning Tocqueville in Africa: Continuity and Change in Civil Society During Nigeria’s Democratization,” Democratization 18, no. 1 (February 2011): 135–59, https://doi.org/10.1080/13510347.2011.532622.
13 Kanu lists the 1998 contract to put in gymnasium tools on the Presidential Villa on his firm’s web site: http://www.dkfitnessproducts.com/gyms.html (accessed May 13, 2021).
14 Abdul Raufu Mustapha, “The Nigerian Transition: Third Time Lucky or More of the Same?,” Review of African Political Economy 26, no. 80 (June 1999): 280, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4006567.
15 Mike Akpan, “Ball in His Court: Will General Sani Abacha Succumb to Demands to Succeed Himself?,” Newswatch, February 23, 1998; and Tunde Asaju, “Abacha’s Campaigners,” Newswatch, February 9, 1998.
16 Calculated utilizing the official March 1998 change charge of $1=N22. YEAA demanded that state governments pay every attendee a N5,000 ($230 in 1998) journey stipend to cowl the fee of their journey and lodging. Wale Akin Aina and Tobs Agbaegbu, “For and Against Abacha,” Newswatch, March 16, 1998.
17 Calculated utilizing the official March 1998 change charge of $1=N22. See Aina and Agbaegbu, “For and Against Abacha”; and Olusegun Adeniyi, The Last 100 Days of Abacha (Lagos: Book House, 2005), 90.
18 Olu Ojewale, “Friends and Foes,” Newswatch, June 22, 1998; and Mustapha, “The Nigerian Transition.”
19 Adeniyi, The Last 100 Days of Abacha, 133.
20 Adeniyi, The Last 100 Days of Abacha, 133.
21 Obadare, “Manufacturing Civil Society,” 143–44; and Asaju, “Abacha’s Campaigners.”
22 Asaju, “Abacha’s Campaigners.”
23 Levan, “Questioning Tocqueville in Africa,” 144.
24 Asaju, “Abacha’s Campaigners.”
25 Mike Akpan, “Moves to Stop Abacha,” Newswatch, June 1, 1998.
26 Akpan, “Moves to Stop Abacha.”
27 “Where Is Francis Arthur Nzeribe?,” Daily Trust, February 11, 2018, https://dailytrust.com/where-is-francis-arthur-nzeribe.
28 Dickson Okafor, “I don’t regret campaigning for Abacha – Kanu, former coordinator, YEAA,” Sun News Online, April 25, 2018, https://www.sunnewsonline.com/i-dont-regret-campaigning-for-abacha-kanu-forme-coordinator-yeaa/.
29 Abbas Jimoh, “‘Iwu’s Removal Would Threaten 2011 Polls,’” Daily Trust, April 6, 2010, https://allafrica.com/stories/201004070609.html.
30 U.S. Embassy Abuja, “Nigerian Elections: Chairman Iwu Still Bobbing and Weaving,” April 10, 2007; and Tom Ashby, “Yar’Adua Declared Winner of Nigeria Poll ‘Charade,’” Reuters, April 23, 2007, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nigeria-election-idUSL2149632920070423.
31 “Nigerians Welcome Sacking of Election Head Maurice Iwu,” BBC News, April 29, 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8650764.stm.
32 Author evaluation of home observer teams accredited by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission. See “Accreditation of Domestic and Foreign Observers for 2019 General Elections,” Independent National Electoral Commission, accessed May 7, 2021, https://www.inecnigeria.org/resources/accreditation-of-domestic-and-foreign-observers-for-2019-general-elections/.
33 Nasir Ayitogo, “House Speaker Dogara Speaks on Controversial NGO bill,” Premium Times, September 26, 2017, https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/244205-house-speaker-dogara-speaks-controversial-ngo-bill.html. “If Passed, the NGO Bill Will Reduce the Ability of CSOs to Hold the Government Accountable and Ensure That Human Rights Are Respected,” Civicus, n.d., https://www.civicus.org/index.php/fr/medias-ressources/122-news/interviews/3043-nigeria-if-passed-the-ngo-bill-will-reduce-the-ability-of-csos-to-hold-the-government-accountable-and-ensure-that-human-rights-are-respected.
34 “Why House of Rep. Will Pass NGOs’ Regulation Bill – Jibril,” Vanguard, September 22, 2017, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/09/house-rep-will-pass-ngos-regulation-bill-jibril/.
35 Nasir Ayitogo, “Nigerian Lawmakers to Revisit NGO Regulatory Bill – Speaker,” Premium Times, September 24, 2019, https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/354099-just-in-nigerian-lawmakers-to-revisit-ngo-regulatory-bill-speaker.html.
36 HB 722: Civil Society Regulatory Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2020, accessed May 7, 2021, https://placbillstrack.org/upload/HB722.pdf. A earlier invoice proposed in 2016 contained related provisions; HB 585: Non-Governmental Organizations Regulatory Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2016, accessed May 7, 2021, https://placbillstrack.org/8th/upload/HB585.pdf.
37 “Emefiele’s Reappointment Will Stabilise Naira, Economy – CSOs,” News Agency of Nigeria, May 25, 2019, https://www.sunnewsonline.com/emefieles-reappointment-will-stabilise-naira-economy-csos/; Solomon Adodo, “The Rage Against Abba Kyari,” Premium Times, June 26, 2019, https://www.premiumtimesng.com/promoted/337200-promoted-the-rage-against-abba-kyari-by-comr-solomon-adodo.html; Bayo Wahab, “Group Warns Nigerians to Stop Attacks on Abba Kyari, Buhari,” Pulse NG, June 27, 2019, https://www.pulse.ng/news/local/group-warns-nigerians-to-stop-attacks-on-abba-kyari-buhari/2q21z52; “NITDA’s Roadmap Can Save Nigeria $3.8Bn Annually,” Nigeria Communications Week, May 3, 2017, https://www.nigeriacommunicationsweek.com.ng/nitdas-roadmap-can-save-nigeria-3-8bn-annually/; and “Return or Resign: Pro-Buhari Group Launches ‘Stay and Restore’ Campaign,” National Pilot, August 14, 2017, https://thenationalpilot.ng/2017/08/14/return-or-resign-pro-buhari-group-launches-stay-and-restore-campaign/.
38 Leke Baiyewu, “Reps Reject Bill to Regulate NGOs, CSOs,” Punch, March 18, 2020, https://punchng.com/reps-reject-bill-to-regulate-ngos-csos/.
39 See Section 839 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, accessed June 14, 2021, https://www.movedemocracy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/CAMA-2020.pdf.
40 “Nigerians in Diaspora Applaud President Buhari, Service Chiefs Over Improvement in Security,” Republican Nigeria, September 18, 2020, https://www.republicanng.com/nigerians-in-diaspora-applaud-president-buhari-service-chiefs-over-improvement-in-security/.
41 “Group Thanks President Buhari Over Visit to Maiduguri,” Al Jazirah News, February 14, 2020, https://aljazirahnews.com/group-thanks-president-buhari-over-visit-to-maiduguri/.
42 “Boko Haram: Group Lauds Constant Presence of Buratai on the Field,” Republican Nigeria, March 2, 2020, https://www.republicanng.com/boko-haram-group-lauds-constant-presence-of-buratai-on-the-field/.
43 “NEMA: Group Lauds Buhari, Maihaja for Restoring Transparency in Disaster Management,” Al Jazirah News, March 15, 2020, https://aljazirahnews.com/nema-group-lauds-buhari-maihaja-for-restoring-transparency-in-disaster-management/.
44 “Boko Haram: Nigerian Army Charged to Sustain Winning Spirit Against Insurgents,” Vanguard, November 11, 2018, https://aljazirahnews.com/nema-group-lauds-buhari-maihaja-for-restoring-transparency-in-disaster-management/“.
45 Aanu Adigun, “Pantami Bags Most Outstanding Minister of the Year Award,” Legit NG, May 7, 2021, https://www.legit.ng/1414818-pantami-bags-most-outstanding-minister-year-award.html.
46 Sunday Okobi, “CSO Honours Aisha Dahir-Umar with Award,” This Day, February 18, 2021, https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2021/02/18/cso-honours-aisha-dahir-umar-with-award/.
47 “100 Days: Ganduje Gets ‘Best Governor’ Award,” Vanguard, September 8, 2019, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/09/100-days-ganduje-gets-best-governor-award/.
48 “Peace Keeping: Nigerian Army Officer Bags Commonwealth Peace Award,” Vanguard, February 10, 2020, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/02/peace-keeping-nigerian-army-officer-bags-commonwealth-peace-award/.
49 “ICC/Amnesty International: Enemies of Nigeria Must Be Prepared to Meet the Masses – NDF,” Republican Nigeria, January 20, 2021, https://www.republicanng.com/icc-amnesty-international-enemies-of-nigeria-must-be-prepared-to-meet-the-masses-ndf/.
50 “Boko Haram: Human Rights Group Accuses Conor Fortune, Others of Sponsoring Blackmail Against Nigerian Military,” Al Jazirah News, February 14, 2020, https://aljazirahnews.com/boko-haram-human-rights-group-accuses-conor-fortune-others-of-sponsoring-blackmail-against-nigerian-military/.
51 “Fake Activists, Promoters of Boko Haram Should Die by Hanging, Group Tells NASS,” Vanguard, July 10, 2020, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/07/fake-activists-promoters-of-boko-haram-should-die-by-hanging-group-tells-nass/.
52 “Coalition of Oduduwa Descendants Lauds Nigerian Army’s Testimony at Lagos Panel,” The Leader NG, November 15, 2020, http://www.theleaderng.com/coalition-of-oduduwa-descendants-lauds-nigerian-armys-testimony-at-lagos-panel/.
53 “Lekki Shooting: CNN Desperate to Justify Past Errors with Fallacious Report – Nigerians in Diaspora,” The Leader NG, November 20, 2020, http://www.theleaderng.com/coalition-of-oduduwa-descendants-lauds-nigerian-armys-testimony-at-lagos-panel/.
54 “Lekki Shooting: CNN Is Nigeria’s Newest Face of Foreign Destabilisation, Coalition Says,” The Leader NG, November 20, 2020, http://www.theleaderng.com/lekki-shooting-cnn-is-nigerias-newest-face-of-foreign-destabilisation-coalition-says/.
55 Interview with veteran civil society activist, April 28, 2021.
56 “Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room – CSOs List,” accessed May 4, 2021, https://situationroomng.org/csos-list/.
57 This is a conservative estimate primarily based on an in depth, creator-compiled information set of particular person press mentions of professional-authorities NGOs in Nigeria since 1999.
58 Ibid.
59 Based on evaluation of an in depth, creator-compiled information set of over 360 professional-authorities NGOs.
60 “NDDC: Allegation Against Nunieh, Another Falsehood to Derail Ongoing Recovery of Looted Funds – Coalition,” The Leader NG, January 27, 2020, http://www.theleaderng.com/nddc-allegation-against-nunieh-another-falsehood-to-derail-ongoing-recovery-of-looted-funds-coalition/.
61 “Lawyers Vow to Sue Idris Ahmed Over Malicious Publications Against Nigerian Army,” The Leader NG, August 26, 2018; http://www.theleaderng.com/terrorism-lawyers-vow-to-sue-idris-ahmed-over-malicious-publications-against-nigerian-army/“; “Senate Presidency: Civil Society Group endorses Goje,” Nigerian Television Authority, May 9, 2019, https://www.nta.ng/news/domestic/20190509-senate-presidency-civil-society-group-endorses-goje/“; and “Nigerians In Diaspora Hail President Buhari On Buratai, Others’ Ambassadorial Nominations,” The Nigerian, February 5, 2021, https://thenigerian.news/diaspora-news/nigerians-in-diaspora-hail-president-buhari-on-buratai-others-ambassadorial-nominations-2/.
62 Based on evaluation of an in depth, creator-compiled information set of greater than 360 professional-authorities NGOs.
63 Interview with veteran civil society activist, April 28, 2021.
64 Matthew T. Page, Camouflaged Cash: How “Security Votes” Fuel Corruption in Nigeria (London: Transparency International, 2018), http://ti-defence.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/DSP_Nigeria_Camouflage_Cash_Web2.pdf.
65 Interviews with a technical assistant to a serving minister and a former particular assistant to a minister of state, April 2021.
66 Ibid.
67 Ibid.
68 Ibid.
69 Ibid.
70 Interviews with a mid-stage Nigerian Army officer and civilian protection official, March 2021.
71 Ibid.
72 Ibid.
73 Ibid.
74 “War on Terror: 300 CSOs Endorse Buhari for Second Term,” Vanguard, December 18, 2018, “https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/12/war-on-terror-300-csos-endorse-buhari-for-second-term/.
75 “APC to Ogenyi: Withdraw Allegations in 24 Hours or Face Disciplinary Action,” The Nation, November 7, 2020, https://thenationonlineng.net/apc-to-ogenyi-withdraw-allegations-in-24-hours-or-face-disciplinary-action/. In April 2018, a professional-authorities NGO linked to Ogenyi posted his governorship marketing campaign poster on its Facebook web page; see https://www.facebook.com/Conference-of-Minority-Tribes-in-Nigeria-799154823536186/photos/1623315044453489/.
76 “War on Terror.”
77 “INEC Was Compromised in Cross River North Senatorial By-Election – Dr. Nwambu,” Republican Nigeria, February 5, 2021, “. 2
78 “INEC Was Compromised in Cross River North Senatorial By-Election”; Michael Adesina, “35 Nigerian Senators Told to Go for Coronavirus Test,” PM News Nigeria, April 8, 2020, https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2020/04/08/35-nigerian-senators-told-to-go-for-coronavirus-test/; “Coalition of Civil Societies Knock AI Report on Boko Haram,” The Nation, July 2, 2015, https://thenationonlineng.net/coalition-of-civil-societies-knock-ai-report-on-boko-haram/; “Kano Emirate Probe: CSO Advises Sanusi to Submit to Anti-Graft Agency,” Nigerian Tribune, June 24, 2019, https://tribuneonlineng.com/kano-emirate-probe-cso-advises-sanusi-to-submit-to-anti-graft-agency/; and “INEC Is Out to Miscarry Justice in Cross River North Senatorial Re-Run – Democratic Watchdogs,” Republican Nigeria, March 15, 2021, https://www.republicanng.com/inec-is-out-to-miscarry-justice-in-cross-river-north-senatorial-re-run-democratic-watchdogs/.
79 Gabriel Ewepu, “Newspaper Firm Set to Join Broadcast Industry with Radio Station Launch,” Vanguard, April 20, 2021, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2021/04/newspaper-firm-set-to-join-broadcast-industry-with-radio-station-launch/.
80 Mudiaga Affe, “How ‘Brown Envelope’ Ruined Nigerian Journalism – Ihimekpen,” Premium Times, November 26, 2020, https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/428166-interview-how-brown-envelope-ruined-nigerian-journalism-ihimekpen.html; and Nic Muirhead, “Bribes and Brown Envelopes: Nigeria’s ‘Journalists,’” Al Jazeera, December 27, 2015, https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2015/12/bribes-brown-envelopes-nigeria-journalists-151227175941010.html.
81 Aderogba Adeyemi, “Nigerian Media and Corrupt Practices: The Need for a Paradigm Shift,” European Scientific Journal 9, no. 1 (January 2013): 123–24, 132, https://eujournal.org/index.php/esj/article/viewFile/698/746. The nut of the kola tree is mildly caffeinated and is historically provided as a welcome present to company.
82 The Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission information comprise a list for a non-public restricted firm with the identify “Centre for International and Strategic Studies” (RC 14938) that was registered in 2002.
83 “Book on El-Zakzaky and His Sect Launched in Abuja,” The Cable, January 15, 2020, https://www.thecable.ng/book-on-el-zakzaky-and-his-sect-launched-in-abuja; and “Boko Haram: Amnesty Applauds Buhari, Biu Emirate on Contribution to Return of Peace in Most Parts of Borno State,” The Leader NG, September 8, 2020, http://www.theleaderng.com/boko-haram-amnesty-applauds-buhari-biu-emirate-on-contribution-to-return-of-peace-in-most-parts-of-borno-state/. In 2017, Philip Agbese included a British firm, Global Amnesty Watch Limited; see https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/10637299.
84 “US, Russian Presidents, British PM, Others Asked to Save Nigeria from Terrorists,” Vanguard, July 1, 2019, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/07/us-russian-presidents-british-pm-others-asked-to-save-nigeria-from-terrorists/; and Clement A. Oloyede, “CSO Petitions ICC Over Taraba Killings,” Daily Trust, July 21, 2017, https://www.pressreader.com/nigeria/daily-trust/20170721/281668255033329.
85 Interview with a civil society activist centered on political and human rights, April 2021.
86 Treasure Orokpo, “NAIS Honours Agbese, Throws Weight Behind House of Reps Ambition,” Idoma Voice, March 11, 2021, https://www.idomavoice.com/2021/03/nais-honours-agbese-throws-weight-behind-house-of-reps-ambition.html.
87 Treasure Orokpo, “Breaking: Philip Agbese Drops Senatorial Ambition, Officially Declares Interest for House of Reps,” Idoma Voice, November 14, 2020, https://www.idomavoice.com/2020/11/breaking-philip-agbese-drops-senatorial-ambition-officially-declares-interest-for-house-of-reps.html; and “Chief Philip Agbese 4 House of Reps” (Philipagbese4reps) Facebook web page, accessed May 17, 2021, “https://www.facebook.com/Philipagbese4reps/.
88 Treasure Orokpo, “Enone 2023: House of Reps Aspirant, Philip Agbese to Send 3 First Class Graduates to UK for Masters Degrees, Train 30 Others,” Idoma Voice, December 4, 2020, https://www.idomavoice.com/2020/12/enone-2023-house-of-reps-aspirant-philip-agbese-to-send-3-first-class-graduates-to-uk-for-masters-degrees-train-30-others.html; and “COVID-19: Philip Agbese Donates 100 Bags of Rice, One Million Naira, Others to Agila Community,” Idoma Voice, April 15, 2020, https://www.idomavoice.com/2020/04/covid-19-philip-agbese-donates100-bags-of-rice-one-million-naira-others-to-agila-community.html.
89 Philip Agbese, “Insecurity: Financial Times and Its Poor Posture on Nigeria,” TheNigerian News, December 23, 2020, https://thenigerian.news/opinion-2/insecurity-financial-times-and-its-poor-posture-on-nigeria/; Philip Agbese, “Gen TY Buratai: The General Who Led From the Front,” TheNigerian News, January 27, 2021, https://thenigerian.news/opinion-2/gen-ty-buratai-the-general-who-led-from-the-front/; Philip Agbese, “Understanding Amnesty International and Nigeria’s Divorce,” Idoma Voice, November 6, 2020, https://www.idomavoice.com/2020/11/opinion-understanding-amnesty-international-and-nigerias-divorce-philip-agbese.html; and Philip Agbese, “Monguno; BBC Interview and the Gulfy Confutation,” TheNigerian News, March 14, 2021, https://thenigerian.news/opinion-2/monguno-bbc-interview-and-the-gulfy-confutation/.
90 Philip Agbese, “My Stand for Nigeria, My Beloved Country!,” TheNigerian News, November 9, 2020, https://thenigerian.news/opinion-2/my-stand-for-nigeria-my-beloved-country/.
91 Agbese, “My Stand for Nigeria, My Beloved Country!”
92 Ben Idah, “Author of Book on Buhari Gets Over 1 Million Pre-order 2 Weeks Before Launch,” Idoma Voice, December 13, 2019, https://www.idomavoice.com/2019/12/author-of-book-on-buhari-gets-over-1million-pre-order-2-weeks-before-launch.html.
93 Agbese, “My Stand for Nigeria, My Beloved Country!”
94 Philip Agbese, Integrity vs Power Play: Understanding the Buhari Phenomenon (Abuja: Mojek Dynamic Press, 2019).
95 Agbese, Integrity vs Power Play.
96 Philip Agbese, “SK Usman: Idyllic Officer, Iconic Image Maker Bows Out of Service,” Leadership, February 8, 2019, https://leadership.ng/sk-usman-idyllic-officer-iconic-image-maker-bows-out-of-service/.
97 Goodness Adaoyichie, “Onnoghen: Pro-Buhari Protesters Storm US Embassy Over Ex-CJN’s Suspension,” Pulse, January 28, 2019, https://leadership.ng/sk-usman-idyllic-officer-iconic-image-maker-bows-out-of-service/; Abel Ogwu, “Fraud: Protesters Move for Removal of CBN Deputy Gov Over Corruption,” The Signal, April 29, 2019, http://www.signalng.com/fraud-protesters-move-for-removal-of-cbn-deputy-gov-over-corruption/; Seun Opejobi, “Zamfara Killings: Civil Rights Group Names Those Behind Insecurity, Warns of Looming Food Scarcity in Nigeria,” Daily Post, May 5, 2019, https://dailypost.ng/2019/05/05/zamfara-killings-civil-rights-group-names-behind-insecurity-warns-looming-food-scarcity-nigeria/; “$2millon Arms Probe: Concerned Nigerians Want House of Reps Report on Probe Panel Released,” Metro Daily, May 28, 2019, https://metrodailyng.com/2019/05/28/2millon-arms-probe-concerned-nigerians-want-house-of-reps-report-on-probe-panel-released/; Adedayo Akinwale, “El-Zakzakky – Anti-IMN Protesters Storm National Assembly,” This Day, July 17, 2019, https://allafrica.com/stories/201907170117.html; Clement A. Oloyede, “Be Wary of Kanu, IPOB’s Plots, Group Writes US,” Daily Trust, August 27, 2019, https://www.pressreader.com/nigeria/daily-trust/20190827/281728386181300; “Boko Haram: Questionable Activities Of International NGOs Very Worrisome – Civil Rights Group,” Al Jazirah News, October 7, 2019, https://aljazirahnews.com/boko-haram-questionable-activities-of-international-ngos-very-worrisome-civil-rights-group/; “Boko Haram: Rights Group Claims International NGOs Working With Insurgents in Borno,” Metro Daily, October 8, 2019, https://metrodailyng.com/2019/10/08/boko-haram-rights-group-claims-international-ngos-working-with-insurgents-in-borno/; and “Group Accuses France of Sponsoring Terrorism,” Vanguard, December 11, 2019, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/12/group-accuses-france-of-sponsoring-terrorism/. The 9 totally different teams are Lawyers of Conscience, Awareness for Good Governance Group, Citizens’ Rights Crusade Network, Civil Rights Movement of Nigeria, Concerned Women and Africa Arise for Change Network, Concerned Citizens Forum, Coalition for Civil Rights and Good Governance, Coalition for Good Governance and Change, and the Movement Against Slavery and Terrorism.
98 “Boko Haram: Stop Sponsoring Terrorism in Africa, Protesters Tell Macron,” Viable TV, YouTube video, 4:06, December 11, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZB15uOBoTQ.
99 “Boko Haram.”
100 Talia Levin, “QAnon, Blood Libel, and the Satanic Panic,” New Republic, September 29, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/159529/qanon-blood-libel-satanic-panic.
101 Perez Brisibe, “We Won’t Be Deterred by Malicious Threats in Nigeria – Amnesty Int’l,” Vanguard, November 6, 2020, https://allafrica.com/stories/202011060463.html.
102 “Lekkilies: Group Wants AI, Others Sanctioned as US Vindicates Nigerian Army,” Blueprint, April 1, 2021, https://www.blueprint.ng/lekkilies-group-wants-ai-others-sanctioned-as-us-vindicates-nigerian-army/.
103 Dallah’s Twitter bio contains the phrase “Future Nasarawa Governor.” See Ibrahim Kabiru Dallah (@DallahOmogye), Twitter, accessed May 11, 2021, https://twitter.com/DallahOmogye.
104 These teams embody the Centre for Leadership and Development Initiative, Citizens Against Fake Activists (aka Coalition Against Fake Activists), One Voice Nigeria, Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Justice, Coalition of Civil Society Groups, and Civil Society Advocacy Groups for the Defence of Human Rights and Democracy.
105 Ibrahim Ramalan, “CSOs Declare Support for SWAT, Urge #EndSARS Protesters to Stop Distracting Police,” Daily Nigerian, October 14, 2020, https://dailynigerian.com/csos-declare-support-for-swat-urge-endsars-protesters-to-stop-distracting-police/.
106 Ramalan, “CSOs Declare Support for SWAT.”
107 Salisu Sani Idris, “CSO Urges EndSARS Protesters to Stop Distracting Police,” NNN News, October 14, 2020, https://nnn.ng/cso-urges-endsars-protesters-to-stop-distracting-police/.
108 Ibrahim Kabiru Dallah (@DallahOmogye), “It is time to get all the enemies of Nigeria arrested. Especially those working with the International Community to undermine our Country,” Twitter, October 25, 2020, 3:45 PM, https://twitter.com/DallahOmogye/status/1320451371011731458.
109 “Abusing Buhari Will Not Bring You Out of Poverty, CAFA Replies Critics,” Vanguard, April 2, 2020, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/04/abusing-buhari-will-not-bring-you-out-of-poverty-cafa-replies-critics/.
110 “Fake Activists Weaponizing Falsehood Against Buhari, Appointees for Personal Gains— CAFA,” News Headquarter, April 5, 2020, https://newsheadquarterng.net/fake-activists-weaponizing-falsehood-against-buhari-appointees-for-personal-gains-cafa/.
111 “Fake Activists, Promoters of Fake News Are Worse Than Boko Haram – CAFA,” News Headquarter, April 10, 2020, https://newsheadquarterng.net/fake-activists-promoters-of-fake-news-are-worse-than-boko-haram-cafa/.
112 Adeniyi, The Last 100 Days of Abacha, 195. Despite its longevity, the Northern Patriotic Front doesn’t look like registered with Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission.
113 Hussein Yahaya, “Group Hails Jonathan’s Ministerial List,” Daily Trust, June 29, 2011, https://allafrica.com/stories/201106290382.html.
114 “Nigerian Ex-Oil Minister Charged with Money Laundering: Crimes Agency,” Reuters, April 6, 2017, https://allafrica.com/stories/201106290382.html; “Nigeria Seizes $21m Linked to Diezani Alison-Madueke” Al Jazeera, August 28, 2017, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/8/28/nigeria-seizes-21m-linked-to-diezani-alison-madueke; and Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, “UK Govt Frustrating Corruption Trial of Diezani Alison-Madueke – Magu,” Premium Times, January 22, 2020, https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/373949-uk-govt-frustrating-corruption-trial-of-diezani-alison-madueke-magu.html.
115 “Emergency Rule Okay for North-east, Says NPF,” Blueprint, April 4, 2014, https://www.blueprint.ng/emergency-rule-okay-for-north-east-says-npf/.
116 Timothy Obiezu, “More Than 100 Chibok Girls Still Missing Seven Years Later,” Voice of America, April 15, 2021, https://www.voanews.com/africa/more-100-chibok-girls-still-missing-seven-years-later.
117 “Speakership Race: Arewa Progressive Congress Calls for Caution,” Vanguard, June 8, 2019, https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/06/speakership-race-arewa-progressive-congress-calls-for-caution/.
118 Adamu Abuh and Charles Ogugbuaja, “Arewa Group Backs Olatubosun for Reps Speakership,” The Guardian (Nigeria), June 9, 2019, https://allafrica.com/stories/201906100507.html.
119 “Supreme Court Quashes Bid to Unfreeze Abacha’s Accounts in UK, Others,” Leadership, January 23, 2021, https://allafrica.com/stories/202101230020.html.
120 Daniel Jordan Smith. “Corruption, NGOs, and Development in Nigeria.” Third World Quarterly 31, no. 2 (2010): 243–58, https://doi.org/10.1080/01436591003711975.
121 See Part F of the Corporate and Allied Matters Act (2020), accessed May 20, 2021, https://www.proshareng.com/admin/upload/report/13880-Companies%20and%20Allied%20Matters%20Act,%202020_-proshare.pdf.
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