Category Archives: Advocacy

PRESS STATEMENT: FROM GLOBAL RIGHT NIGERIA URGING INEC TO ENSURE EFFICIENT DISTRIBUTION OF PVC COLLECTION NATIONWIDE

By Smith Nwokocha

INEC, Guarantee Citizens’ Participation in #NigeriaDecides 2023 Through the Efficient Distribution of Permanent Voters Cards Across Nigeria
 

Global Rights calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve citizens’ access to participate in the upcoming general elections by improving the efficiency of logistics for the distribution of permanent voters’ cards (PVCs). 

Notwithstanding the fact that we commend INEC for extending the dates for the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) both at the Ward level and Local Government Secretariat levels, we are concerned that the logistics for the distribution of the cards have been hampered by hiccups in the management of the process. 

Recall that INEC had announced registered voters could pick up their PVCs between December 12th, 2022, and January 22nd, 2023, and subsequently at the 8,809 Registration Areas/Wards from the 6th of January to the 15th of January 2023 between the hours of 9am and 3pm every day, including Saturdays and Sundays. Relatedly, INEC had on January 4, 2023, revealed that no fewer than 6.7 million Nigerians were yet to collect their PVCs across 17 states. As of December 20th, 2022, 231,900 registered voters were yet to pick up their PVCs in Gombe state. As of, 2022, 1,693,963 PVCs were yet to be collected in Lagos State, and 661,783 in Edo state. Other states with a sizeable catalogue of uncollected voters cards included Oyo (700,000), Ogun (400,000), Imo (300,000), Kogi (160,966), Kwara (120,602), and Borno (80,117). In the FCT, 460,643 PVCs had not been collected as of December 24th, 2022. INEC also revealed that the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) had the highest number of uncollected PVCs in the FCT.

While we acknowledge the efforts of the Commission in ensuring that no citizen is disenfranchised in the forthcoming elections which are just a few weeks away, we are concerned about the needless hurdles Nigerians are being subjected to in obtaining their permanent voters’ cards.  In our monitoring of the situation across the nation, we noted multiple challenges which created bottlenecks in the collection process.
INEC’s failure to resolve these issues to date suggests that a sizeable number of voters may not receive their PVCs before the new deadline elapses and thus will be unable to cast their votes.
For instance, while monitoring PVCs collection centres in the Federal Capital Territory, we noted that while the collection process has been smooth in some locations, the situation in other locations, serving larger populations, leaves much to be desired. Similar trends were noted in other states, including Lagos and Nasarawa states. We, therefore, call INEC’s attention to some of the specific difficulties that several duly registered voters in the Federal Capital Territory have encountered while attempting to obtain their PVCs: For instance, while monitoring PVCs collection centres in the Federal Capital Territory, we noted that while the collection process has been smooth in some locations, the situation in other locations, serving larger populations, leaves much to be desired. Similar trends were noted in other states, including Lagos and Nasarawa states. We, therefore, call INEC’s attention to some of the specific difficulties that several duly registered voters in the Federal Capital Territory have encountered while attempting to obtain their PVCs:

Voters in the Utako Ward of the AMAC LGA have complained of sluggish PVC distribution due to understaffing.

Several voters in the Orozo Ward reported visiting their wards upwards of three times and were repeatedly told that their PVCs were not ready.

At Lugbe Primary School (the collection centre for Kabusa ward), where there are over 60 polling units which include polling units in Kabusa, Airport Road, some parts of Apo and Life Camp districts, there have been complaints about the sorting process occasioned because new voters were not separated from those with cases of lost or transferred cards; this has significantly slowed down the process, leading to massive crowds, daily queue waits of more than 700 persons, reports of raucous behaviour, stampedes, and people fainting due to exhaustion from long hours of standing on the queue. There have also been reported cases of unprinted and missing PVCs.

Despite INEC’s declaration that official collection hours are 9am to 3pm, there have been reports of INEC officials resuming at about 11 am each day at some of the collection centres, resulting in people having to wait in line for more than 4 hours before any INEC official shows up, and then having to contend with long queues due to the late commencement. 

Several people also complained of inaccuracies in the SMSs and emails sent by INEC to some registered voters, instructing them to pick up their card in a particular ward, but were then redirected to another after spending hours in long queues.

Global Rights applauds the patriotic enthusiasm displayed by citizens in collecting their PVCs which is an indication of their willingness to be active at the polls. It would be an unacceptable disservice to Nigeria’s fledgling democracy for INEC to disenfranchise willing and eligible voters due to a flawed collection process, as their continued frustration may trigger their resignation and deepen distrust for the electoral process. We, therefore, urge INEC to hastily resolve these challenges in order to enable citizens to fulfil their civic obligation as the extended PVC collection deadline draws near. This has become not only relevant but imperative to addressing the recurrent issue of voter apathy that has characterized elections in Nigeria. We will continue to monitor the process and call on Nigerians not to relent in the face of structural inhibitions but rather to demand accountability for smooth, transparent, free and fair elections in Nigeria.

COMMINIQUE FOR SDG16+

Group photographs

Communique from the Stepdown Training From SDG16 to SDG 16+: Understanding Interlinkages for Greater impact

Preamble:

The Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) is the road map developed by United Nations to drive the process of making a better live for the citizens of the world by the commitments of member nations to implement them in their different countries on their own pace to support their unique sovereignty.

 

Based on the mandate of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative(OLPHI) now Amaclare Connect & Development Initiative (ACDI) we took a step forward to cascade a stepdown training from the knowledge acquired during the Localization of Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria -Understanding the SDG16 & SDG16+ held in Ibadan, Oyo State, organized by Civil Society Coalitions on Sustainable Development (CSCSD) to CSOs in Rivers State, Nigeria.

This is a communique reached at the end of a one-day step down training of civil society organizations (CSOs) organized by SDG16+ Club in conjunction with Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development (CSCSD) anchored by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative (OLPHI), with the objective of Increasing the knowledge of SDG 16 and SDG 16+ to enhance SDG implementation and achievement among CSOs in Rivers State. The specific objective of the training was the Localization of SDGs by understanding SDG16, SDG 16+ & intersectionalities and interlinkages to other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to development & service providers.

The training held on the 21st of June 2022 in Port Harcourt had 18 organizations in attendance and the following resolutions were reached:

 

  1.  It was agreed that a communique and press statement should be crafted as one of the outcome from the training engagement.

 

  • It was agreed that advocacy visits should be taken to relevant government Ministries. Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as a way of creating the needed partnership on the SDG goals.

 

  • It was agreed that a notice of advocacy also should be sent to the Rivers State House of Assembly house committee on special duties, SDG committee and the speaker of the house to build political trust.

 

  • It was agreed that CSOs and NGOs should strategize to ensure their impacts are captured within the SDG national frameworks.

 

  • It was agreed that CSOs and NGOs should incorporate the SDG 16+ strategy into their developmental engagements.

 

  • It was agreed that CSOs and NGOs should build synergy that allows for greater working partnerships and collaborations for efficient service delivery to communities, using the SDG goals.

 

Preparation of the Comminique

Signed by the following organizations:

 

  1. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative (OLPHI), Signed Date: 21-06-2022
  • Community Resource Development Foundation (CREDEF)
  • Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta(P4P)
  • Centre for Justice(C4J)
  • Handmaid Initiative
  • Oyigbo Global Development Initiative
  • Chadal International Charity Foundation(CICF).
  • Centre for Creative Development Strategies (CCDS)
  • Voice of the Vulnerables
  1. Connecting Peace Initiative(CPI
  1. Women In Missions
  1. Rivers Indigenous NGOs(RINGOS)
  1. Centre for Social Development Initiative(CENSDI)
  1. Widows and Orphans Empowerment Organization (WEWE)

 Ofure Centre for Peace & Development(OCPD)

Centre for Social Justice & Environment Rights Protection(CESJERP).

National Association of Female Teachers (NAFET)

Ministry of Health-Sexual & Gender Based –State Program

 

 

 

 

NMCG PRESS RELEASE: PROTECTING DIGITAL RIGHTS IN CLOSING SPACE

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

 

+234 708 778 4788

team@newmediagov.ng

Abuja, Nigeria.

 

For Immediate Release

 

EIE, BudgIT and PIN are set to host the 5th Edition of NMCG Conference.

 

Enough is Enough Nigeria, BudgIT Foundation, and Paradigm Initiative are set to host the fifth edition of the New Media, Citizens and Governance conference tagged  ‘Protecting Digital Rights in Closing Spaces’ on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua centre, Abuja, Nigeria.

 

The one-day hybrid transnational conference will feature speakers and dignitaries from across Africa—Cameroon, South Africa, Zimbabwe, The Gambia, Ghana, and Kenya—with over 300 registered delegates to discuss critical topics in the new media and how they affect various facets of the society.

 

According to BudgIT’s Global Director, Oluseun Onigbinde, the year’s edition has been designed to drive conversations on Africa’s digital economic space, social media restrictions and shutdowns, data privacy, elections and public accountability, marginalization and digital security.

 

Digital rights are human rights in online spaces, which include the right to privacy, freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of information and communication, gender rights, and the right to freedom from violence, among others. Violation of digital rights in Africa has become a prevalent issue, and if proactive steps are not taken, it may persist,” Oluseun said.

 

The Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative (PIN), ‘Gbenga Sesan, described the conference as timely, as it is coming at a time when freedom in the digital space is threatened, more so with Twitter’s recent moves, which has seen the organization cutting off teams working on human rights and ethics.

The times we are living in demand that we hold honest discussions to safeguard our shrinking digital spaces, and this forum provides that platform. It is, therefore, imperative to have an intellectual conversation on safeguarding the digital rights of African citizens before, during and after elections.” he added.

Also commenting, the Executive Director of EiE Nigeria, ‘Yemi Adamolekun, noted the conference would be instrumental in providing the opportunity for various stakeholders to discuss key issues on digital rights and elections in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

“This is a good forum for both the civil society and government representatives from the continent to discuss matters of importance for the continent.” she stated.

Confirmed speakers include Ms. Anriette Esterhuysen, Senior Advisor, Internet Governance, Policy Advocacy and Strategic Planning (South Africa), Mr. Anthony Okechukwu Ojukwu, SAN, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC, Nigeria), Ms. Toyin Akinniyi, African Representative, Luminate (Nigeria)  among others.

 

 

Ends…../

Note to Editors:

BudgIT is a civic organization that applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change. A pioneer in the field of social advocacy melded with technology, BudgIT uses an array of tech tools to simplify the budget and matters of public spending for citizens, with the primary aim of raising standards of transparency and accountability in government.

 

Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE) is a movement of knowledgeable citizens that ensures our leaders serve us. EiE launched the concept of the #OfficeOfTheCitizen as part of its 5th anniversary activities in 2015 to educate Nigerians on their rights and responsibilities. EiE’s #RSVP – Register/Select/Vote/Protect is a key voter education campaign. EiE was an integral part of the #OccupyNigeria movement in 2012 and is very active in the #OpenNASS campaign. 2020 was EiE’s 10th anniversary and it has continued to drive the #OnePerson campaign to reinforce its belief that one person can make a difference in building a better society.

 

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a Pan African social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights in order to improve the livelihoods of under-served young Africans. The organization has worked in communities across Nigeria since 2007, and across Africa from 2017, building experience, community trust and an organizational culture that positions it as a leading social enterprise in ICT for Development and Digital Rights on the continent.

 

PIN, which has presence in Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Cameroon and Kenya, has built online platforms that educate and serve as safe spaces for the reporting of digital rights violations. These mediums, in the form of reports, short films, and educational online platforms, include Ayeta, Londa and Ripoti. It is also the convener of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF), a pan-African bilingual Forum that has held annually since 2013.

 

 

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BLUE ECONOMY, DIVESTMENT AND THE END OF FOSSIL AGE. ADDRESSED BY SCHOOL OF ECOLOGY, HOMEF AT UYO, NIGERIA.

Nnimmo Bassey (Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation) addressing participants

By: Smith Nwokocha

SCHOOL OF ECOLOGY (HEALTH OF MOTHER EARTH FOUNDATION) ORGANIZED A TWO-DAY WORKSHOP (26TH -27TH SEPTEMBER, 2022) ON “BLUE ECONOMY, DIVESTMENT AND THE END OF FOSSIL AGE” AT HAVILAH TOWERS GOLDEN SUITE HOTEL, UYO.

The training was moderated by Mfoniso Anita (HOMEF Team), followed by a warm welcome address by Nnimmo Bassey (Director, HOMEF). The Director of HOMEF emphasized that, the essence of this kind of training is to; “arm Africans with knowledge, so that Africa will not be a dumping ground”.

Before the shift for a “Blue Economy”, there has been emphasis on “Green Economy”, which in practice is more about placing nature in the marketplace. The idea however, was subverted. “Blue Economy”; idea looks at the Ocean as limitless. By 2050, we may have more plastics than fishes. Particularly, for those of us in the Niger Delta. The Ocean struggle is already around and pirates are on the Sea shores.

End Fossil Fuel: End War Ending the Fossil Age! By Nnimmo Bassey.

Distribution of Climate Impact. “The major driver of Climate Change is the burning of Fossil fuel”. Africa has contributed minimally to the distribution of Global warming, yet the most affected by the impact of Climate Change.

Today, Plantations are still meant for export. “Useful Africa”; it’s a territory of exploitation. Africa and a distorted rights to pollute. Ending the Oil age globally, yet digging for more fossils in Africa. Oil companies plan to sink $230billion in the next decade on new Oil and Gas projects and #1.4trillion by 2050.

“Progress that doesn’t speak with the people, will not be able to address the people”. Nnimmo Bassey. The rights to pollute or extract, is something we have to reject. At a time, when we are supposed to stop fossil fuel, the Oil industry is pumping more money. The sooner, the end of fossil fuel, the better.

Cut Emissions at Source, Climate Debt ignored, Climate Finance-Lip Service.

“If you don’t get the imagination right, you can’t get the money right”. France as a country, made a new law; you can’t get license to operate on fossil fuel.

Nature Based-Solutions. Supposed 2 trillion dollars for Climate Debt. Nature based solutions points towards fictional net-zero (nature absorbs carbon). It is a strategy to silent Africans. According to SHELL- defines “Nature based solutions as a project that protects Land”. The UNFCCC promotes negotiations between state parties and in an unfair and neo-colonial scenario, has transferred their responsibilities to the south. Carbon Market is “False Solutions”.

Simple Solution- “Leave the Oil in the Soil”. After Oil, we will flourish.

Nnimmo Bassey emphasising on the endorsement of NDAC -Niger Delta Alternatives Convergence- Niger Delta Manifesto for Socio Ecological Justice.

Ken Henshaw facilitated on “Examining Policy and Key Issues in Divestment in Nigeria”:

Since 2010, Multi-national Oil Companies have been selling off their On-Shores assets and moving further Off-shore.

Between 2010 and 2014, SHELL quietly sold off 8 Oil mining leases (OML) etc.

In February 2022, Exxon Mobil announced that it has reached an agreement to sell its equity interest etc.   

Why are Companies really Divesting?

Clearly distraught by the ruling, SHELL’s CEO declared that “development like we are still seeing at the moment means that we have to take another hard look at our position in On-shore Oil in Nigeria. We cannot solve community problems in the Niger Delta, that’s for the Nigerian Government perhaps to solve”.

Gas Flaring: the environmental dangerous and resource wasteful phenomenon of Gas flaring has been in the Niger Delta for over 6 decades. Despite several flare out date instituted by Nigeria’s Federal Government since 1979.

CLIMATE IMPACT:

A Crude Journey: British Colonialism awarded Oil exploration rights to SHELL D’Acry in 1938. The implementation of large extractive projects requires that the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people is sought and received before-hand.

‘’The Oil companies wants to leave Nigeria, the same way they came’’.

What is Nigeria’s Divestment Policy? Unfortunately, there is no Policy on Divestment by Nigeria.

 What outlook should the Divestment Policy have? a). It should be restorative and corrective of the legacy of extraction. b) It should recognize the historical injustice meted on the people of Oil producing areas and aim to correct them. c) It should recognize that the fossil Age has come to prepare for a transition. d) It should be driven by We The People and not the markets. e). It should adequately establish the link between Oil and Gas extraction and Climate Change impact. f). Strengthening Climate Change adaptation strategies for impacted communities, including in food security, and in migration and housing.

Ken Henshaw emphasising on NDAC Manifesto and the importance of Divestment .

 Olatunji Buhari, on “How to Make Corporations pay in the issue of Divestment”; he emphasized that, we need to set the agenda for Divestment and it is our responsibilities as CSO’s, Citizens and Communities impacted by fossil fuel to hold our Government accountable, so that they can hold the Multi-Nationals in regards to restoration bond.

Sofiri Peterside (Prof):  Concerning the New NNPC Ltd, it will no longer contribute to the Federal Government on Single Treasury Account. NNPC changing from State owned, now being Commercialized. The change in name will not make any difference in operation. Corruption, ethnicity is so endemic in this Company, how can it then operate efficiently.

Tijah Bolton Akpan: He covers the topic of “Does Nigeria’s PIA Establish Frameworks for a just Transition? Examining the Threats and Faults lines.” The challenges of the PIA is the “Process” and the “Corruption in the Process”. The PIA 2021, a unique opportunity but a missed one. The PIA was unique opportunity to rethink the role of the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria. The PIA ultimately fails to account for Climate Change, the Energy transition etc. What is a just energy transition? Energy transitions are about people and power. A just transition requires tackling the challenges faced by Communities and workers as they shift towards sustainable livelihoods…etc. According to Tijah, the following Steps should be adopted; Diversifying away from Oil, Investing in Clean Energy sources, Improving governance, Redressing legacy harms and addressing equity issues.

GLOBAL CONTEXT: An inevitable transition; The Oil Industry currently stands as one of the worst performing sectors in the S & P 580 Index. There are some ethical investors that are beginning to change/stop investment in the Oil Industry.

NATIONAL CONTEXT: A Petroleum predicament, Oil is big business for the Nigerian state, Defunding of Fossil fuel projects combined with the net zero carbon targets, Nigeria sits on the largest export earnings of the Oil and Gas in Sub-Saharan Africa.

What has the PIA done right with regards to the transition? Removal of dual, incestuous powers from the NNPC and transform it to a Public Limited Company. Provide two new regulators NUPRC and NMPDPRA, each for a section of the industry. Provide for transparency of contracts, licenses or leases. Attempt to create a governing framework for Community beneficiation. The Host Community Development Trust and Fund. The PIA provides for 3% OPEX to be contributed to the Community. Recommendations: Review the PIA etc.

Stephen Oduware…‘’IOC’s Divestment Moves’’: The Trilemma faced by Communities; a) Climate Change b) Pollution c) Divestment Drive. The voices of the affected Communities is very essential. Steps to achieving it is through; Advocacy visit, Mapping alliances, community dialogue, target Multilateral spaces and protest where necessary.

DAY 2

Mr. Wale gave detailed insights on “Advocacy”: Advocacy helps us to challenge the way we have done things and thought about Socio-Political, Economic and Environmental issues. Advocacy is about working with people to support them in strengthening their voice. “To be an Activist is to Speak. To be an Advocate is to Listen”…Society can’t move forward without both. Focus on those things that will bring change, not the easy way. Build coalition, timing is key and identify the windows of opportunities and then leverage on it. Communicate: Advocacy is about listening to what people are not saying and what they are saying at the same time.

Oceans, Geo-Engineering and Climate Threats by Neth Dano (Action Group on Erosion, technology and Concentration): Climate Geo-Engineering is simply a set of technologies to intentionally intervene in and after Earth systems on a mega scale. Particularly to manipulate the Climate to counteract some of the effects of Climate change. Proposed Geo-Engineering techniques to intervene in Land, Ocean and Air. Climate change will still continue. Why oppose Science Experiments? Experiments may impact the real world, place, society, environment. Are rarely for “Science”- often hardware development. Geo-Engineering is under UN moratoria. In conclusion, there is no advantage to Geo-Engineering.

Counting the Ecological Costs of the Blue Economy by Nnimmo Bassey: Terms to note are as follows;

Cross section of participants

Dipti Bhatragar Friends of the Earth International: Why Do We Call T.T Climate Justice.

Climate crisis is inherited unjustly. Challenging the Oil and Gas TNCs is critical. Transnational Corporations New escape hatch-the deception of the Net Zero.

No TO Net Zero, The Big CON! Nature based solutions: Wolf in Sheep clothing. COP 27 is another opportunity to fight back against false solutions. We want the Energy transition to be just, fair and equitable.  A just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa. Annual Investment of U.S $130 billion per year needed for this plan. Rich countries need to pay the climate debt. Political statement signed by 50 Organizations in Africa. Food and land solutions for system change. Economic justice solutions for system change. Change in the value system. Ubuntu- I am because, we are Africa.

Q & A: How do we balance Change and Energy need? We are calling for a just transition. Our African leaders, rich countries know about this development, decades ago, yet they have not done anything. So, we need to talk about the Energy Transition urgently and the transition ought to be just, fair and equitable. We need to build solidarity among each other to fight this Climate situation. We need to do this urgently, but we need to do it right.

Prof. Patrick Bond: “Unmasking the Blue Economy Concept in South Africa”.

Corruption between mega-ports of Nigeria and South Africa. Collaboration between Activists in Nigeria and South Africa. “We are losing the fight against Climate Change” …. The Status quo.

Anti-Extraction: Protest correlation.  Extractivism’s ten shortcomings- do these apply to the Blue Economy? Community genuine free, prior and informed consent denied, amidst state/capital’s divisive bulldozing or co-optation.  Local Ecology loss, degradation and pollution of land, air and water. Opposing offshore Oil and Gas drilling. Violating planetary boundaries (many in Oceans). Global Climate Risk Index.

Blue Economy deployed in Climate managerialism’s ‘’False Solutions’’. Price of natural gas volatile Russia, 2022. Blue Economy can help fight poverty and inequality. Multinational Corporate Profiteers. Rich countries must pay their Climate debt and other Climate damage to affected people. Judging UNFCCC progress by Climate justice criteria: 1. Cut greenhouse gases, adopt sufficiently ambitious and binding global greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements so as to keep temperatures below 1.5c, ensure the cuts are fairly distributed, not imposed. 2. Transition gracefully; ensure job-rich just transition from carbon=addicted economies for all affected workers and communities during carbonization …. 3. Redress social injustices; empower oppressed constituencies in racial-justice …. 4. Manage green technology as a global public good; allow dissemination of climate friendly technology and localized production technology. 5. Leave fossil in the ground. 6. Finance planetary and social survival; apply carbon taxation and pricing judiciously. Book by Prof. Patrick Bond: “Politics of Climate Justice”.  

Desmond D’sa: “Connecting the Blue Economy”.

People Power: Organizing people. Oil and Gas companies should go parking, we don’t want them in our shorelines, exploring. We must have the rights to say NO to mining, to Oil and Gas and that should be our law. Collectively, we need to walk and talk on “Divestment”. We need ethical investors and end abuse to people’s conscience that are destroying our communities and the planet at large. Repatriation, Restoration and Remediation from the Oil and Gas companies, because of the emission and damages by them that have affected our people and communities. Education is key, we need to train our people and arm them with knowledge. We need to educate our people that whatever that is proposed by the multinationals are not an alternative. Education to the communities to know how to deal with the Multinationals/Big corporations. We don’t need their Oil money, its dirty money, that kills innocent people, we need better alternatives. Leave no one behind; there is a lot of commonalities among us, we should drop our differences and work together. To fight big corporation; let the communities document facts against the activities of the big corporation. Ensure that the voices of the people on ground is strong. Ensure the constitution are for the people, work together to use it as a tactics to beat big corporation. Have regular meetings with the people. We need to integrate these struggles to our struggles to fight the common enemy.

Closing Remark:

  The Executive Director of HOMEF (Nnimmo Bassey); appreciates all the facilitators, participants for a power packed two-days engaging sessions on “Blue Economy”. Some of the takeaway; “In fighting together, we can fight better and stronger”. False Solutions on Blue Economy. “We are in for many generations of struggle for restoration to happen”. Solidarity; its love on the street, meeting together. When you say “No” to anything, say “No” to alternatives, even if its inconvenient

Group photograph

HACKATHON FOR NIGER DELTA YOUTHS BY THE GIFT NIGERIA PROJECT

Hackathon L’ACEs (Active Citizens Engaging Legislatives) – ACEs for short.
Pose after Hackathon Cohort in PH

By Smith Nwokocha

The Objectives of the Hackathon, which gathered youths from the Niger Delta region is as follows:

  • To crowd-source ideas on how to disrupt lax projects delivery and encourage satisfactory performance
  • To introduce the ConsTrack and RemTrack civic tech tools to young persons and energize their participation in the GIFT project.

During The Hackathon Activities Proper:

The report here summarizes the activities of the Hackathon that took place in Rivers State for youths and youth groups in the Niger Delta Region. The event started at about 1:30pm with an introduction and recognition of participants. This was followed by a brief presentation given by Mr. Oke, to set the tone on the programme objective. He shared a few slides on Remfact findings to stimulate better understanding of the issues on ground.
This was subsequently followed by a breakout session where participants were divided into six (6) teams made up of 5 members each. The 3 topics of ideation were shared among the groups with 2 groups handling one topic each. The topics bordered on;

  • Follow the trust (in view of the composition and incorporation of the Host Community Development Trust Fund) as well as tracking the set up.
  • Tracking remittances from the petroleum extractive sector
  • Monitoring and evaluation of funds in capital project implementation vis a vis public service delivery.
    The groups worked on their assigned topics for a period of about 30 minutes after which representatives from each group were given the opportunity to speak on what they had come up with.

The first group spoke on tracking remittances while sharing some initial steps to take for effective results. The first of these steps was to do stakeholders mapping, drft letters requesting information from the identified stakeholders based on remittances they received while requesting clarification on data provided which requires clarity. They were however unclear in their presentation on how data can be verified as a solution to tracking remittances.

The second group also made a presentation on tracking remittances. Their solution considered having a transparency plan where the agencies in charge of tracking remittances are first identified alongside the measures they have in place for this purpose. They also identified grassroot tracking as well as checks and balances with full involvement of the media. they again incorporated the use of a tracking software controlled by an independent tracking unit. At the end of their presentation, a recommendation was given for the technology to be carefully considered to avoid creating another bureaucratic system in addition to the already overburdened platforms available.

The third presentation was on Monitoring and Evaluation. Their idea was for the NGOs and CBOs operational in communities to be involved in the implementation of projects designed for those communities. Their solution was to also leverage on google map to determine service area codes of project communities. They also recommended that a Board of Trustee made up of non partisan bodies that will monitor the funds that come into the Trust.

The fourth group spoke on the composition of the HCDTF and how to track the funds. Their recommendation was for the right people to make the board composition with emphasis on inclusivity and proper orientation of these stakeholders. On their technology solution, they proffered the development of a software designed to cover tracking by host communities and operators. It would also have a feature that outlines projects, the funds allocated to these projects and the expenditure incurred. Recommendation was given for their solution to set clarity on how tracking the enactment of the Trust can be made possible and made a public data.
The fifth group in their presentation, spoke on the need to have a composition of the Trust Fund as this would foster ease in tracking the development fund. They highlighted a list of groups that could make up this composition from the community level to the federal level. They also suggested that in tracking the set up, a corporate account be opened with 3 signatories, there should be regular auditing and a monitoring system to track the projects.

Group brainstorming session

The final presentation was on Monitoring and Evaluation of capital projects. They started by giving a run down of problems that have militated against capital projects such as; personal interests, greed and avarice, lack of access to implementation documents, duplication of projects to mention a few. Their solution was streamlined to involve a strategy they called “Name-shaming”, using radio call-ins where individuals guilty of misappropriating funds for capital projects face being name shamed. They also proposed to use the print media for publishing back-up facts that reflect the origin and status of these projects. Their final solution was to promote civic advocacy and engagement on accountability with backing from the provisions of the FRA. In conclusion, they set perspective on already existing technological solutions to project M&E such as the BudgIT app as well as the Constrack and Remtrack apps by Orderpaper, while also recommending the use of USSD as a tracking measure for communities with little or no technology access.

Mr. Oke wrapped up the session by introducing participants to Orderpaper’s Constrack and Remtrack civic tech tools, while encouraging that the ideas and solutions shared, be taken beyond the organizations represented and into the grassroot communities. he gave the vote of thanks at about 5:20pm, group photographs were taken and the session was officially brought to a close.

From left: Amaka Elekwechi Rep Centre for Transparency Advocacy; Edna Ulaeto, OrderPaper, at centre Lady Ejiro Umukoro (Programme Manager GIFT NIG PROJECT) at far right (Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq) Orderpaper

GROWTH INITIATIVES FOR FISCAL TRANSPARENCY (THE GIFT NIGERIA PROJECT) HOSTED COMMUNITY COLLOQUIUM IN PORT HARCOURT

Audience at the Event at Landmark Hotel, Port Harcourt.

By Smith Nwokocha

Objectives to mark the one-year since the passage of the PIA on August 16 2021 at the National Assembly as well as hold an interactive and fact finding session with Host Communities Stakeholders and the media to identify and address perceived gaps in the PIA with a view to stimulating more community engagement for the establishment of the Host Community Trust Fund, an inclusive Board Members and tracking of the 3% due Host Comms in terms of project delivery, social investments and monitoring of infractural development for the region’s prosperity driven by the implementation of the Growth Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) Nigeria Project.
Introduce stakeholders to tools for proper tracking and call on all stakeholders to advocate and succeed in pushing for the speedy amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 which is before the National Assembly.

Opening

The event commenced at 10:00am with Mr. Bassey Bassey, ED HipCity Innovation who declared it opened with the recitation of the national anthem as prayers and a quick introduction of the cluster members of the Growth Initiatives Transparency Project, members of government, PENGASSAN and other key stakeholders from the Host Communities. Giving a quick background, he said explained Nigeria’s main revenue is from the Oil and Gas sector, yet data and baseline research shows remittances and revenues due are received from the sector.

Thereafter he introduced the Project Manager for the GIFT PROJECT NIGERIA, Lady Ejiro Umukoro for her welcome remarks. In her welcome remarks, Umukoro emphasized that the significant role and position of Niger Delta in the economic development and advancement of Nigeria. She referenced the Ogoni 9 story as a journey that should serve as a constant reminder that is not yet uhuru in terms of social and economic justice and development of the Niger Delta in terms of remittances due the communities and economic prosperity for the region. Highlighting the one-year mark since the passage of the PIA, which took over 10 years to become an ACT – with a number of deficiencies and inadequacies yet to be fully addressed – she spoke eloquently on the role and objectives the GIFT Nigeria Project is playing ti ensure every stakeholder within the region that is defined as inclusive to the Host Communities iis here to see that every stakeholders empowered to play their role for the actualisation of the PIA and FRA Acts. She raised a number of salient questions regarding: how can we determine the fiscal responsibility and why is this important? In a country where the NNPC is not producing or refining crude oil, yet is expected to remit revenue to Federal Government, what are the gaps and how are these to be addressed? Now that the NNPC is now a limited liability company, how must communities begin to see and engage with the NNPC’s new status? She explained this informed the purpose of the Colloquium of the Host Communities and Hackathon for the Niger Delta Youths holding in Port Harcourt, adding that a system only works, when the people are involved. The GIFT Nigeria Project she emphasised aims to reduce corruption in the sector and ensure transparency of projects.

Lady Ejiro Umukoro (Programme Manager-GIFT Nigeria Project)

GOODWILL REMARKS FROM DIGNITARIES:
Rt. Hon. Dumnamene. Dekor, Chairman, Committee on Host Communities, House of Representatives who was represented by …. goodwill’s message focused on the hiccups surrounding the PIA. The essence of the PIB, he explained is to ensure that the host communities are represented and their voices are heard and to know how to hold leaders accountable. He emphasised the need critical political moment in Nigeria presents an opportunity that allows Host communities and stakeholders to share their views, know their rights and demand for transparency to start from the local government level.
In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary, PANDEF, Chief Ken Robinson, thanked the organizers and all Niger Deltans at the Forums. He highly commended the role Order Paper has made in terms of inputs and recommendation in achieving the PIA. He however explained that PANDEF is disappointed by the final outcome of the PIA. He called for the need to push further demands and review on the PIA, as it lacks what he described as “resource justice”. He decried a situation where communal lives have been lost, including ecological gains and as such cannot continue to be the norm, making a strong appeal for equitable resource justice that will support and improve the standard living of the Niger Delta communities.
While Mr. Goddey Ineh who represented Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, Controller, Nigerian Upstream Sector expressed delight to be part of the GIFT Colloquium. The GIFT Nigeria Project and Order Paper including other affiliated organizations he enthused are essential to effective governance, adding that the Commission will continue to encourage all Stakeholders as well as the NGOs, as the oil sector has now become a cause for concern. With the PIA, he expressed strong hope that issues of Host Communities, the issue environment passed by the federal government will address these critical factors. He called on all to focus more on educating the Communities on the PIA to harness the full value of the implementation of the Act, adding that the onus is on the Government to make sure that the PIA is implemented in its fullness. The Environmental worthiness he emphasised is key referencing the Ogoni Clean Up by HYPREP. He called for peace in the region to be sustained to ensure that the cleanup exercise is done and completed for the benefits that will be accrued from the Oil and Gas sector to the Host Communities.
Agreeing with the representative of the Upstream Sector, Mr Tamuno Dappu, representing the Chairman of PENGESSAN Port Harcourt Zone (Peter Onita). he described as laudable the initiative by GIFT Nigeria Project. He made a firm promises that PENGASSAN will continue to collaborate with the OrderPaper and the GIFT Clusters to achieve the full implementation of the GIFT Project.
Speaking for the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Mr. Charles Abanah expressed a profound sense of fulfilment in working as partners with GIFT Nigeria Project to ensure that the impact of project is achieved. He explained that the outcome of the colloquium is to clarify issues of Transparency, pertinent issues on Revenue Remittance, Service Delivery and Project Monitoring and Evaluation in the Niger Delta region. He referenced on how some Sectors/Government Agencies have to remit deliberately not remitted accurately and the action Government is taking to ensure remittance is received accurately and when due.
In concluding the open discussion, Mr. Oke Epia, ED-Order Paper Advocacy Initiative expressed delight in, and commended Mr. Abana and the critical central role the FRC plays in the workability and implementation of the PIA. He further explained that steps were taken to unveil sections and clauses in the PIA that will affect the Communities. The purpose of the Host Community Colloquium is to stimulate conversation on how the Host Communities perceives the PIA, what the Host Communities should do to get value from the PIA then use that value to get it right. He recalled how members of the Host Communities engage in a bawl at the PIB Public hearing in the House of Representatives on January 21, 2021, showed how important implementation needs to be enforced to justify the extant PIA. According to NNPC GMD, he explained that with a 3% of annual OPEX of Oil Companies in Nigeria, which is to be paid to HostComs based on PIA valued at #205billion based on year 2020 projection, he explained that governance mechanism using both the Commission and its Authority have powers to regulate the Host Communities. On the other hand, Host Communities have the responsibilities to support existing structure: Host Community Development Plan and the Formation and Operationalization of the Board of Trustees to follow where the Money will come from, Administration and Allocation of the fund, Punishment for vandalism, Timeframe and penalty.

PANEL DISCUSSION
The Panel Discussion was moderated by the Project Manager of GIFT PROJECT, Lady Ejiro Umukoro with three panellists: Mr. Charles Abana, Chief Ken Robinson and Mr. Goddey Ineh.
Abana gave deep insights into the Fiscal Responsibility Commission Act 2007, the gaps within, and the need for a new amendment in light of blocking leakages, MTEPF, Remittances, Revenues, Allocations, prudent management of Natural Resources, securing greater transparency and accountability within the medium-term focal operation, and to set a framework on public debt management. A situation he explains where ministries spend more than 50% of what they earn/generate should discouraged some of the calls for the FRA 2007 to be amended. Goas regards the Host Community inclusiveness, he explained that there should be a guiding law for the vulnerable populace, women, and youth to be duly represented and be part of Communities engagement. The communities he emphasised must hold leaders accountable.
Ineh emphasised that the main thrust of the PIA is to provide cordial, harmonized working relationship between the Host Communities, Oil Companies and the Government.
Chief, Ken Robinson; It’s the sector that incorporate the host communities. We should go back to our communities, engage our traditional rulers, youths, women and communal groups to do things differently and better.

Colloquium Panel Discussants: from left Lady Ejiro Umukoro (Moderator); Chief Ken Robinson (Nat. Publicity Sec PANDEF); Mr. Charles Abana HOD Legal Fiscal Responsibility Commission; Mr. Goddey Ineh Rep Nig. Upstream Sector at the Gift Project Nigeria Implemented by OrderPaper.
Participants at the Forum

SDG 16+ CLUB IN COLLABORATION WITH CIVIL SOCIETY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AT A STEPDOWN MEETING IN PORT HARCOURT

By Smith Nwokocha

SDG 16+ CLUB IN COLLABORATION WITH CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT @ PIND OFFICE, PORT HARCOURT.
THEME: “UNDERSTANDING INTERLINKAGES FOR GREATER IMPACTS”.
DATE: 21ST, JUNE, 2022.


Civil Societies in Rivers State were well represented and, in a Session, presented by Mrs. Loretta Ahuokpeme of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative and the Coordinator of the forum.
She emphasized that SDG16+ contains SDGs 16 and all other factors linking to it. Peace, Justice and an inclusive society, among others.
Alternative Conflict Resolution should be considered in resolving conflicts.
Inadequate Political will and concrete commitments are challenges towards achieving the SDGs.
Shrinking Civic Space across the globe is also a limiting the engagement of SDG16+.
Lack of High-Quality, Accessible, Timely and Reliable Disaggregated data hampers the achievement of the SDG16+
Financial Support for SDG16+ is severely lacking.


SDG16+ Targets and Interlinkages:
SDG 16 = Target 1, Target 2, Target 3, Target 4, Target 5, Target 6, Target 7, Target 8, Target 9, and Target 10.
SDG 16 (a): This “Means of Implementation” (MOI) targets for SDG16 includes various ways that Government and Stakeholders can advance SDG 16+ by strengthen institutions, capacities and International Cooperation.
SDG 16 (b): This “Means of Implementation” (MOI) target ensures that SDGs 16 rest on Human Rights-based approach of non-discrimination.
One of the outcomes of the meeting, is that CSOs, have to engage Line Ministries on the linkages for development.
Then, Breakout Session were held to link the SDGs to the targets and after the breakout sessions, the meeting came to a close.

A CONVERSATION WITH DIGITAL RIGHTS ADVOCATES IN PORT HARCOURT BY TECHHERNG IN COLLABORATION WITH PARADIGM INITIATIVES

By Smith Nwokocha

TECHHER NG IN COLLABORATION WITH PARADIGM INITIATIVE
Supported by Luminate, Osiwa, MacArthur Foundation, Shehu Musa YarAdua Founation, and Ford Foundation.
Presents:
“A Conversation with Digital Rights Advocates”.
@De Edge Hotel, GRA, Port Harcourt.
24th June, 2022.
The Session were moderated by Amina and Khajidat.
Conversation that sparks the moments were centred on “Data Protection, Online safety and Internet Governance”.
Atat, a participant opened the conversation and shared his experience in the digital space, after Amina’s (TechHer NG) Opening remark. Then, Sam Oracle emphasized on Surveillance as inevitable in the digital space.
Threat to lives of the end users of social media and a follow up question was that, what will citizens do to mitigate the growing threats of social media users? In response, a legal luminary in attendance, added that; Citizens should not over shoot their activities online, as well abuse Office holders. The same way, we have rights, we should be careful to do what is right and say what is right. Citizens should know how to exercise their rights online.


A participant mentioned how the ENDSARS saga made social media platform so relevant in Nigeria politics.
Khadijat added, Cyber-Laws in the eyes of Digital Rights Activists tend to hide a lot of illegalities.
A participant said, there are some values lost for social media being in existence. Chioma, responded and said, social media did not change our values as Nigerians, Nigeria is a secular state.
Atat, said we should have video captioning for the Disabled Community, the Digital space should be all inclusive.
John Best, talk on the Code of Practice in the Digital space not favourable to the end users.
Amina re-directed the conversation, bringing pointers from Government Policies, Platform Policies and the end-users. In order words, what we as Community can do to protect ourselves, what Government policies to protect us and Platform policies to protect ourselves.
Mr. Ihueze, encouraged we form a forum, strong community of Online users, find a way to organize ourselves, being a voice for each other and support each other were necessary.
Mr. Smith, said for individual/end-users, please don’t put too much personal information online and forming a Community of Digital Rights is a way forward.
Some feedbacks from the Disabled attendees were worth-while, that they use android’s phones too and should be fully included in the laws and practices in the digital space.
Key-Points highlighted by Khajidat (Paradigm Initiative):
Surveillance
More Awareness/education on the digital space/Online
Threat to the Social/Civic Space.
Collaboration
Chioma (TechHerNG) added by saying in all, “Internal Vigilance is the price for democracy”. We are in this together, we will continue to educate ourselves in the social and civic space.

PRESS RELEASE ON ONDO MASSACRE – ANOTHER SAD DAY IN NIGERIA’S HISTORY!

“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened”.. John F. Kennedy.

Global Rights condemns in strong terms the vicious massacre of scores of worshippers at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo state during a church service on the 5 th of June, 2022. The killing of innocent worshippers in cold blood during a religious event is a sad reminder of the realities to the government of Nigeria to ensure the security and welfare of all Nigerians as mandated by Section 14(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution. We condole with the people of Ondo state, in particular, residents of the affected community in Owo, and the Catholic Church at large.

The South-West of Nigeria had till this despicable carnage had relatively been spared the intolerable level of insecurity suffered by other regions of the country. This brazen attempt to unsettle the amity of the region should therefore be greeted with strong resistance by both the Federal Government and State governments of the South-West region to forestall further deterioration of security in the region.

We note with displeasure the body language of the political class, especially the President, who within hours of the attack, feted his party leadership to a pre-primaries dinner party at the Presidential Villa. The dinner party which was attended by the Vice President, the Senate President, the leadership of the ruling APC, and other presidential aspirants of the party was a sheer display of insensitivity and further underscored the notion that Nigerian lives are cheap and the unfortunate event did not warrant sobriety and attention.

We are appalled by the continued upsurge in mass atrocities across the country in recent times. These continued acts of terrorism are an affront to the territorial integrity of the Nigerian state and a threat to its national security and must therefore not be allowed to spread any further.

We therefore call on the Nigerian government to fulfil its constitutional responsibility of protecting the security and welfare of all citizens through the implementation of a more robust approach to curbing terrorism across the country. The government must take deliberate action in addressing the immediate and remote circumstances that are exacerbating terrorism and other forms of mass atrocities across the country.

Finally, we call upon all Nigerians to remain vigilant and rise to our call to collectively resist this abnormal situation that is becoming a norm in Nigeria and demand accountability from the government knowing that no one is safe till everyone is safe.

Signed:
Abiodun Baiyewu
Executive Director, Global Right

PRESS BRIEFING: NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING 2022!

NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING

The time has come!
As we approach the National Day of Mourning – 28th May 2022, we must continue to amplify our voices about the increasing spate of mass atrocities across the country; especially as we approach a crucial decision-making period for Nigeria.

The civil society community under the auspices of Nigeria Mourns is very concerned about the prevailing insecurity and seeming lack of value for human life in Nigeria. Over the past year alone, more than 6,000 Nigerian lives were lost to mass atrocities with over 5,000 recorded cases of abductions from January to December 2021. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, we have had a major surge in mass atrocities, with the terrorist-bandits in Zamfara state opening the new year on a bloody note, the terrorist attack on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train, and an increasing spate of abductions.

The danger is even more pronounced as we enter the thick of the electioneering season, where political actors, regional and vested interests and internal/external instigators will no doubt take actions to stir up the polity and incentivize violent actors to commit violent crimes.

To address these issues, Global Rights is hosting a press briefing on the theme of this year’s National Day of Mourning: “Secure Nigeria”, where we will also be launching our Mass Atrocities Documentary titled: “Gangs of Naija”.
DATE: Friday, 27th May 2022
TIME: 10:00am
VENUE: Novare Hall, Wuse Zone 5
Please join us in solidarity by wearing BLACK, tomorrow, Friday, 27th May 2022, to remind Nigerians and the government at large that all is not well.
Together, we can make a difference.

Would like to be part of the ongoing conversations For the NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING? See details below.

27th May, 2pm

Join SBM Intelligence and Nigeria Mourns for this discussion on twitter.  @sbmintelligence

28th May, 2pm

NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING 2022. #SecureOurLives
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