Joel M. Ngugi


Professor Obiora Chinedu Okafor of Osgoode Hall School of Law, Toronto, Canada, has written a well-researched and valuable book about Human Rights Non-Governmental Organizations ("NGOs") in Nigeria. ... " Similarly, in many countries, NGOs, in their capacity as civic society, have been given official roles in some key governance institutions such as in Nigerian National Human Rights Commissions, media watchdogs, Governmental Commissions, and so forth. In chapter five of the book, Professor Okafor candidly describes the funding patterns of human rights NGOs in Nigeria. As Professor Okafor tells the story, the trail of the "popular legitimization crisis" of local human rights NGOs clearly begins with the vexing issue of foreign funding. This confirms Professor Mutua's earlier admonitions on the role of foreign funding in human rights activism in the African continent: What Professor Okafor brilliantly demonstrates from his empirical work is the dire outcomes of this legitimization crisis--consequences on the efficacy of these human rights NGOs that should make every human rights activist pause. Because of the form of external funding, and due to the absence of competing opportunities with more substantial rewards in other sectors, including the governmental sector, starting and attracting funding for NGOs in most African states is an extremely lucrative form of gainful employment.