Category Archives: Social Political

PRESS STATEMENT BY CIEPD

                                                                                                                              April 4, 2023

DE-ESCALATION OF LOOMING CRISIS THROUGH CONFORMITY TO DUE PROCESS

The Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development (CIEPD) with funding support from Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) implemented the Collaborative Election Violence Prevention and Mitigation Project in Rivers State in the 2023 Presidential and Gubernatorial Election.

Following the release of the Final result of the gubernatorial and state house of assembly election, held on the 18th of March 2023 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), there has been unrest in the state (Rivers State), Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development (CIEPD) with funding from PIND Foundation hereby makes the following statement:

A key attribute of a credible electoral process is the access to seek redress in court when candidates and political parties feel they have been undone by the outcome of an election. 

The 2023 gubernatorial elections in Rivers state may have come and gone but the fallout from the process has been characterized by violent triggers such as intimidation and counter-accusations from all parties involved. This has led to heightened tension in the state. As an organization that is committed to ensuring peace and nonviolent means in resolving disputes, we are concerned by recent happenings and hereby make the following calls to all stakeholders involved:

1. We condemn in its entirety the violence that took place in the wake of the protests by political parties around the Independent National Electoral Commission – Rivers State Office and calls for constitutional means and violence-free measures to resolve electoral disputes.

2. The Independent National Electoral Commission Rivers state should take actions that depict their independent status. They must act and be seen as independent to calm the brewing tension.

3. Security agencies especially the Rivers State Police Command, in dealing with post-electoral complaints should not be seen by the actions and inactions as being partial and used by politicians to witch hunt any political party. They (The police) must act fast to calm the violence to avert the loss of lives and destruction of property. 

Finally, we urge all political parties, INEC, and security agencies to play by the rule and allow the law to take its full course to avoid the looming crisis 

We stand for peace, as that is the only option.

Long live Rivers State.

Signed.

Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development.

MULTI STAKEHOLDERS FORUM ON PEACEFUL ELECTIONS IN RIVERS STATE.

Cross section of Peace Monitors, Actors, Trackers, Media, Political Aspirant and relevant stakeholders

By Smith Nwokocha

COMMUNITY INITIATIVE FOR ENHANCED PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT (CIEPD) IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FOUNDATION FOR PARTNERSHIP IN THE NIGER DELTA (PIND) Organizes a MULTI STAKEHOLDERS FORUM ON PEACEFUL ELECTIONS. At Grand Tokyu Hotel, Stadium Road, Port Harcourt. Wednesday 8th March, 2023.

The forum started at about 4:00pm, introduction of Dignitaries. Remark from the security agencies present, starting with a Goodwill message from Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Rivers State Command-DCC Dike; he said, Safety and Protection of lives is the mandate of the Security Personnel, to ensure a violent free election. The Assistant Commissioner of Police (Mamman Joseph) representing the Commissioner of Police Rivers State. He emphasized that, Rivers State was violence free compared to other states, during the Presidential Election. He advised that, Electorates should talk to their friends and families at home, to be calm. Ensure, you cast your vote peacefully.

Nathaniel Akpos (State Coordinator, Transition Monitoring Group): Supports CIEPD in ensuring peaceful and non-violent Election in the fourth coming Gubernatorial Election. Stakeholders present spoke on Peaceful and Non-violent Election. They all agreed; “We are one accord”.

Comrade Enefa Georgewill (Chairman, Rivers State Civil Society Organization), he emphasized that there is need to sign a Peaceful Accord for Non-violent Election.

PIND Rep: The central objective of Peace Programme is to achieve peace across the region through peace Actors efforts. If Election emerging conflicts are not managed, it could escalate, so with the participation of Community Influencers, it has been helpful.

The Moderator, reiterate that “Whatever we must do to avoid violence, we have to do”.

CIEPD Programme Manager, he said, CIEPD focus is  on Peace building and conflict resolution. CIEPD introduced “Conflict Watch Centres”. Since 2015 to present, CIEPD have been able to track elections (three circles of election) in Nigeria. On Saturday, 25th February, 2023, CIEPD in collaboration with PIND deployed 23 Community Stakeholders Network members and 149 Conflict Trackers to monitor the Presidential and National Assembly Elections in 8 LGAs of Rivers State that are high risk electoral violence areas. Their specific roles are to monitor and report conflict indicators and triggers to the CIEPD Situation Room which immediately report to relevant stakeholders for prompt intervention and resolution.  The Situation Room was opened on the 24th of February,2023 at 4:00pm. Personnel in the Situation Room includes the following: Egondu Ezinwoke-Ogbalor (Lead), Everest Nwankwo, Courage Nsirimovu, Anthony Abeh and Olorunsola Testimony.

The All Progressive Congress APC House of Assembly Candidate (Prof. Chuku); In his words, he said; this is the worse election filled with fraud. Though, he is an APC faithful, but Labour Party won the Election in his LGA, but at the end of the day, it was massively rigged at the Collation Centre. He emphasized, until people’s voice and choice is respected and counted, there is nothing like Free and Fair Election. If the people in Government want to get power by all means, then, there’sa big problem.  

Egondu Ezinwoke-Ogbalor Lead-CIEPD and Prof. Chuku APC House of Assembly candidate

Egondu Ezinwoke-Ogbalor (CIEPD), appreciates the Rep of the APC for honouring the invitation to be present. She equally said, after the Gubernatorial Election and State House of Assembly Elections, there will be a debriefing exercise. The Peace Accord document will be signed by all Candidates, however she read through the document to the hearing of everyone. She used the opportunity to celebrate women and mark International Women’s Day.

Closing, she thanked everyone for coming. The forum ended at about pass 6:00pm and refreshment where served.

Egondu Ezinwoke-Ogbalor Lead-CIEPD

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.

OCJ OKOCHA (SAN) CROWNED CHIEF BY HRM EZE LESLIE EKE (PhD) ALONGSIDE OTHER RECOGNIZED TRADITIONAL RULER’S IN RIVERS STATE.

History was made in Evo Kingdom by extension Obio in Obio Akpor Local Government Council. Where His Majesty King Leslie Nyebuchi Eke, Ph.D, Ezegbakagbaka, Eze Ohna Evo with other Govt . Recognized Traditional Rulers crowned an outstanding Senior COBA Member OCJ OKOCHA , SAN, DSSRS, MFR, JP. The EZE ENWA NAGBANU OBIO.

The crowning of OCJ OKOCHA (SAN) by HRM King Leslie Eke (Ezegbakagbaka of Evo Kingdom)

This indeed is historic owning to the fact that OCJ refused taking any traditional title till this day. In attendance were the the governor of Rivers State His Excellency Nyesom Wike, former governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Sir Dr. Peter Odili and his wife, among other dignitaries. Details later.

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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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

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 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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PRESS STATEMENT: EMIEFELE’S DISHONESTY, N100M FORMS, OTHER DISTRACTION AND THE LEADER NIGERIA NEEDS

CBN Gov. Emefiele Godwin

+234 (0) 708 778 4788
info@eienigeria.org

+234 (908) 333 1633
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+234 (811) 666 5321
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+234 (703) 411 8266
info@cislacnigeria.net

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

For Immediate Release

Emefiele’s Dishonesty, N100m Forms, other Distractions and the Leaders Nigeria Needs

Civil society organisations and citizens leading the advocacy for openness, accountability and effective governance in Nigeria, have called on Nigerians to stay focused on demanding the quality of leadership Nigeria requires in the 21st century to leverage its human and natural resources.

As is typical in an election season, various political players are indulging in tactics that are inconsistent with democratic values. The high cost of nomination forms, unknown form buyers, media disinformation and other political gimmicks are some ways politicians, especially the governing party, are distracting citizens from focusing on the key issues of governance and leadership that Nigeria needs at this time. At the minimum, Nigeria deserves a leader with:

  1. A strong commitment and respect for the rule of law and judicial integrity.
  2. An understanding of and respect for the separation of powers – legislative, executive and judiciary.
  3. The ability to uphold the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended) for equity and justice.
  4. A development drive in the direction of preserving the dignity of Nigerian citizens.

The collective stated that it is important to remind Nigerians of these critical issues in light of the decision by Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to contest for the office of president. The CBN Act (2007) was written to protect the CBN from external political interference, not expecting that the interference could be internal at the highest level.

Mr Emefiele joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) in February 2021 and it is significant to note that neither his party members led by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, thought this was contrary to the spirit and the letter of his terms of engagement as CBN Governor. It is also instructive that Mr President and the Presidency have not issued a statement on this unfolding drama.

If there is any doubt to the implied and expected neutrality of the CBN, Nigerians should be reminded that the materials for our elections are kept in CBN offices across the country and the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (an agency of the CBN) prints some of our election materials.

Separation of powers is at the heart of any democracy, and it is for this reason that by our laws, the CBN Governor can not be appointed or removed at will by the executive arm of government. In addition, for the same reason, two-thirds of the Senate, not a simple majority, is required for the Governor’s removal by the legislative arm. Therefore, the breach of this principle by Godwin Emefiele should not stand.

We remain resolute in our stance: Godwin Emefiele’s political ambition hinders the independent decision-making his role requires, and therefore a liability to the credibility of the Central Bank, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and our electoral process. He should therefore resign immediately to pursue his partisan interests or the National Assembly should commence the process to terminate his appointment.

Nigerians can lend their voice to this call by signing the petition here: http://www.change.org/meffymustgo

Signed
Seun Onigbinde, BudgIT
Auwal Rafsanjani, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Atinuke Odukoya, Centre for Women’s Health and Information
Ngozi Iwere, Community Life Project (CLP)
Joshua Olufemi, Dataphyte
‘Yemi Adamolekun, EiE Nigeria
Ayodeji Fadugba, Kili Ceramics
Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, Sesor Empowerment Foundation
Princess Hamman-Obels, The Electoral Hub
Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
Ayisha Osori