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05 Mar
0

Abdulrasheed Bawa: Sentiments on Youth Participation and Anti-Corruption in Nigeria By Ibrahim Faruk

Abdulrasheed Bawa: Sentiments on Youth Participation and Anti-Corruption in Nigeria By Ibrahim Faruk

The appointment, nomination and confirmation of Abdulrasheed Bawa as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) makes history as Mr. Bawa, born 40 years ago, is the youngest person to ever lead the organization which has been without a substantive head since November 2015.

The news of his appointment, however, was largely overshadowed by his age – as the prevailing sentiment over his experience and his capacity to serve as the Chairman of the Commission – despite meeting the legal requirement in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Establishment Act (2004) for the appointment, which states that a Chairman shall (ii) be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent; and (iii) Possess not less than 15 years cognate experience

It must be stated at this point that the youth classification, according to the Nigerian National Youth Policy is 15 – 29 and therefore the EFCC Chairman is not a youth; he is however the youngest person to ever lead the EFCC.

Opinions remain divided over his age – a typical socio-cultural mantra in many societies which equates age with experience and capacity. The age-related sentiments following the appointment of Abdulrasheed Bawa are reminiscent of the experiences of young aspirants and candidates running for elective office in Nigeria during campaign and election periods who are largely dismissed as being ‘too young’ or ‘not ready’.

Youth participation in government is not alien to the Nigerian political space. Indeed, a significant number of the founding fathers of Nigeria were in their youth when they engaged the long laborious process that birthed our independence. The military era that followed the collapse of the First Republic also threw up a significant number of leaders who, though still in their youth, firmly steered the affairs of the country. Thus, the appointment of Abdulrasheed Bawa and the emergence of young people in the decision-making process is a welcome development.

One of the loudest voices with a prevailing sentiment on the appointment of the EFCC Chairman was Prof. Itse Sagay, the chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), who expressed fears about the influence the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, may have on Abdulrasheed Bawa, either due to the fact that they are both from Kebbi State or the alleged role Malami played in the removal of Ibrahim Magu from the EFCC.

This sentiment also shares similarities with the experiences of young politicians who are perceived to be accountable to certain godfathers and not the constituency that elected them.

In a widely publicized open letter from former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka to Abdulrasheed Bawa, he wrote, ‘I support the generational shift that your appointment represents. We should remove all the clauses in our laws that create an age barrier to executive positions. It is anachronistic and against the spirit of the Not Too Young to Run Act’.

The #NotTooYoungToRun Movement would definitely agree that age limitations can no longer hold sway in a time and age of globalization, technology and the ever-evolving dynamics in global politics.

Regardless of his age, Abdulrasheed Bawa faces the same challenges his predecessors faced. While he must ensure he remains a model of public youth leadership, he must build a strong institution that does not serve any partisan or political interests as well as rebuild the trust of Nigerian citizens (especially the youth population) around the credibility of the Commission.

The Commission is also many times judged according to Nigeria’s ranking on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, which was at 149 out of 183 countries in 2020 – three places down compared to 2019 results.

According to Kurt Cobain, “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption”. Nigeria’s youth population is considered a prime audience for citizen engagement against corruption, and organizations and projects such as Yiaga Africa’s Bounce Corruption and the Strengthening Citizens Resistance Against Corruption (SCRAP-C) Projects, Connected Development (CODE)’s Follow the Money Projects, Accountability Lab and BudgIT reflect the role of youth and youth organizations in promoting citizen engagement against corruption.

A 2017 Chatham House Report on “Collective Action on Corruption in Nigeria: A Social Norms Approach to Connecting Society and Institutions” emphasizes that “messages targeted to engage Nigeria’s large youth population will be vital in inculcating a lower tolerance of corruption in the next generation. Social and community media can be effectively used to spread social norms messaging among the youth population, and over time this can have a positive influence on opinions and attitudes in wider society.

Across the continent, youth have also been mobilizing to advance an anti-corruption crusade: in 2018, the African Governance Architecture convened high-level regional youth consultations under the theme “Leveraging Youth Capacities for the Fight Against Corruption in Africa”. The programme was in line with the African Union’s theme of the year, “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.

Abdulrasheed Bawa has been presented an opportunity despite the sentiments that have surrounded his appointment, nomination and confirmation to challenge corruption and reverse the prevailing sentiment around the age of his appointment, build a strong institution, increase citizen engagement in the fight against corruption and restore citizens’ trust in the promise of this administration to fight corruption.

Ibrahim Faruk is a Program Manager with Yiaga Africa’s Governance and Development Program and is a member of the Leadership and Strategy Team of the Not Too Young To Run Movement. He can be reached via fibrahim@yiaga.org, and tweets @IbrhmFaruk

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02 Mar
0

Weekly Updates on #EndSARS Judicial Panels of Inquiry – No. 14

Weekly Updates on #EndSARS Judicial Panels of Inquiry – No. 14

15th February – 22nd February 2021

The Judicial Panels of Inquiry set up across Nigeria to investigate the excesses of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies have continued sittings in the FCT and these 12 states in the week under review – Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Ekiti, Imo, Kaduna, Lagos, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Plateau.

In the FCT and 18 states, the Judicial Panels of Inquiry have closed submission of petitions and Panels in Adamawa, Niger, Katsina, Kwara and Rivers States have concluded sittings/hearings and their recommendations are to be submitted to the government for implementation.

The ongoing Judicial Panels of Inquiry provide an opportunity for the Nigerian government at the federal and state levels to meet major yearnings of Nigerians, which is justice for all victims and survivors of police brutality and implementation of the eventual recommendations of the Judicial Panels.

On February 19, 2021 the Ekiti State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Olawale Fapohunda stated the readiness of the Ekiti State Government to pay over N7 million compensation to 24 petitioners as recommended by the Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Inquiry. The Attorney General who made this known during a visit to the Panel sitting at Ado Ekiti, expressed the gratitude of the state government to the panel members who are working assiduously on the state government mandate despite some  challenges. Fapohunda stated that the state governor, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi will not wait until the panel submits its final report before processing the implementation of the recommendations.

Similarly, on February 19, 2021, the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters presented a cheque of N10 million each to the family of Mr. Adebayo Abayomi over the murder of his mother who was killed by the bullets fired as a result of indiscriminate shooting by SARS operatives at Railway Line, Mushin and Mrs Hannah Olugbodi whose leg was badly damaged and required further surgeries as a result of indiscriminate shooting by SARS operatives at Ijesha, Lagos. Apart from the monetary award to the victims of SARS abuses, the Panel also made recommendations for the prosecution of the erring SARS operatives as well as regular training for policemen on the handling of firearms in a civilized society.

Yiaga Africa and Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE)’s observation of the Panels of Inquiry will continue to provide information to promote transparency and accountability and build citizens’ confidence in the process.

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24 Feb
0

Why Lawmakers Should Support Citizens’ Top Priorities on Electoral Amendment

 

As Nigerians anticipate the enactment of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Other Electoral Matters Act (2021), it is imperative that the content of the electoral law reflects the wishes of the people while guaranteeing the sanctity of the ballot. This informed the submission of memoranda by various Civil Society Organisations to serve as recommendations for electoral amendment.  These recommendations are mainly feedback from citizen engagements via various communication platforms as part of efforts to ensure the drive for electoral reform is citizen-driven.

For instance, Twitter polls, citizens’ town hall on electoral reform and video campaigns revealed citizens’ priority on the electoral amendment. This has informed the ongoing advocacy by Yiaga Africa to the National Assembly, especially to the members of the INEC and Electoral Matters Committee in a bid to ensure that electoral laws serve the common good of Nigerians.

Having delivered letters to all 469 members of the National Assembly to make a clarion call in support of citizens’ top 10 priorities on electoral amendment, Yiaga Africa has kicked off advocacy visits to key members to chart pathways of achieving an electoral act that befits Nigerians. In the course of the advocacy, Yiaga Africa’s Elections and Center for Legislative Engagement teams met with former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and the Chair, Women in Parliament Committee, Honorable Taiwo Oluga. The team also met with members of the Electoral Amendment Committee, Honorable Bob Solomon and Honorable Kpam Jimin Sokpo.  

Yiaga Africa Director of programs during an advocacy visit to Former deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

Yiaga Africa Director of programs during an advocacy visit to Former deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

During the meetings led by Yiaga Africa’s Director of Programs Cynthia Mbamalu, issues around election technology, reduction in the cost of nomination forms and political inclusion of women, youth and People with Disabilities were at the forefront of conversations. While commending the commitment and zeal of Yiaga Africa on electoral reform, Senator Ekweremadu said a good number of citizens’ priorities will be reflected in the electoral amendment. Speaking about electronic voting, he said that Nigerians need to be familiarized with this technology so that it becomes the norm. He also recommended proportional representation of youth and women into political office, saying this will go a long way in solving the issue of the exorbitant cost of nominations and cost of campaigns.

 

Electronic voting and transmission of election results is a critical aspect of the ongoing electoral amendment and Honorable Bob Solomon has reiterated the National Assembly’s commitment to remove every impediment to the deployment of technology for elections. According to him, the conduct of elections will be in line with the guidelines of INEC and this will provide for any system of voting the commission deems fit.

He said electronic transmission of results will limit the chaos that could mar physical transportation of election results from polling units to ward level, thereby limiting the role of security in the process. He further urged Yiaga Africa to sensitize citizens on the role of presiding officers in the deployment of electronic voting and transmission.

Yiaga Africa team during a visit to Honorable Bob Solomon

Yiaga Africa team during a visit to Honorable Bob Solomon

The recommendations for electoral amendment are still undergoing reviews as revealed by Honorable Kpam Jimin Sokpo. He also declared his readiness to work with CSOs like Yiaga Africa to push for important citizens’ priorities for the electoral amendment process, saying reform will help solve some of the ills of governance.

In her remark, Cynthia Mbamalu said that these outlined priority areas are consistent with the tenets of good governance and democratic consolidation and provide Nigerian citizens, especially young people, women and people living with disabilities, with the needed confidence in trusting our electoral outcome. According to her, adopting these priorities will elevate Nigeria’s standing globally amongst other nations using the instrumentality of the law to build their electoral democracy and achieve stability and peace.

“We, therefore, urge the 9th National Assembly to become a reference point for genuine change, through your support of these citizen’s priorities, by ensuring its reflectiveness in the proposed Electoral Amendment Bill”, she said.

 

 

 

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23 Feb
0

NATIONAL SECURITY: BUHARI HAS SO FAR, FAILED

Introduction
Nigeria is in dire straits. All over the country, Nigerian citizens, including children, are killed daily by terrorists and criminals as well as in extra-judicial killings by state actors with the government doing little or nothing about it. The government, through the Minister of Defence, has instead callously abdicated its responsibility and called Nigerian citizens ‘cowards’ and urged Nigerians to ‘defend themselves’.

Kidnapping for ransom has assumed an industrial and deadly scale never witnessed on the African continent. Our children are no longer safe in schools and Nigerian citizens and communities are now pauperised by terrorists who extort huge ransoms while murdering their hostages. We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, what has now become the government’s standard state policy of using taxpayers’ money to pay terrorists thereby funding and encouraging terrorism and criminality.

President Buhari and his government have failed in their primary duty under Section 14 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution which is ensuring the security and welfare of the Nigerian people. Instead, under their watch, Nigeria is now a catalogue of bloodletting with:

● The unending war in the North East with our troops often bearing the brunt of this government’s security failures;

● Gross injustices by President Buhari’s government against the Nigerian people such that peaceful protesters are threatened and attacked by the government’s security agents while terrorists carrying out mass murder, rape, maiming and kidnapping of Nigerians including women and children are feted, molly coddled, granted ‘amnesty’ and paid by the government. This is tantamount to funding and supporting terrorists, encouraging murder and the decimation of the Nigeria’s gallant troops and amounts to treason against the Nigerian State and people;

● Terrorist herder attacks on unarmed farming communities and reprisal attacks in the face of government inaction and failure to bring the terrorist herdsmen and their funders to justice;

● Large scale terrorist attacks in the North West irresponsibly tagged by the government as ‘banditry’ in a bid to downplay their criminality;
● Industrial scale kidnappings all across the country;
● Extrajudicial killings by State Security agents in various forms
● Inter-ethnic violence and
● Menace of political cult gangs and ethnic militia.

Furthermore, Section 14 of the Constitution has imposed a duty on the State i.e FG, States & LGs. All Governments should invest in the security of life and property of every citizen. And since, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder or culpable homicide are state offences. All arrested suspected should be prosecuted by State Attorney Generals Nigeria is completely under policed. As a matter of urgency, more security personnel should be employed, trained and motivated to defend the society. When an American citizen was recently kidnapped in Niger State no ransom was paid. Yet, a team of US troops invaded the country, killed two of the kidnappers and freed the abducted American!

Our Demands
This government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has failed to protect Nigerians as is their primary duty under Section 14 (2)b of the 1999 Constitution and we hold President Buhari solely responsible as the buck stops at his desk. As Civil Society organisations, we call on the President to take immediate steps to :

1. Provide political and moral leadership for the security crisis and ensure governmental actions are humane in tandem with Section 17 (2) ( C ) of the Constitution;

2. The Nigeria Police Council established by section 153 of the Constitution is constituted by the President, IGP, Chair of Police Service Commission and the 36 state governors. The NPC is empowered by the Construction to administer organise and supervise the Nigeria Police Force. The NPC should be called to meet regularly to address the crisis of insecurity.

3. End impunity for abuse of power and sectionalism through his appointments by balancing the need for competence with the federal character principle. In this way, he will demonstrate that every part of Nigeria matters as sectional appointments appear to fuel sectional violence;

4. Amnesty for terrorists and abductors should stop. Huge ransom paid to criminal gangs is used to purchase arms and ammunition to attack communities. As security is technology-driven the Government must acquire the necessary equipment to deal with the menace of terrorism, banditry and abduction.

5. Take responsibility and end the persecution of the media and free speech both of which are foundations of a democratic state.
6. Mobilize our rich Nigerian assets to address the insecurity situation across the country and seek international cooperation to ramp up security assets.

7. Where the President fails to fulfill his constitutional duties as stated above, we demand the steps aside or the National Assembly initiates impeachment proceedings against him on grounds of gross misconduct as provided for in Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Conclusion
We remain hopeful as citizens of Nigeria and call on all Nigerians to keep hope alive as we bond together and build a nation where true peace and justice reign.

Signed:
for Civil Society Joint Action Coalition
1. Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
2. Centre for Democratic Research and Training
(CRDDERT)
3. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
4. Media Rights Agenda (MRA)
5. Centre for Information Technology and Development
(CITAD)
6. Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project
(SERAP)
7. Zero-Corruption Coalition (ZCC)
8. Partners on Electoral Reform
9. African Centre for Media and Information Literacy
(AFRICMIL)
10. National Procurement Watch Platform
11. Praxis Center
12. Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civil
Education (CHRICED)
13. Social Action
14. Community Action for Popular Participation
15. Borno Coalition for Democracy and Progress
(BOCODEP)
16. Global Rights
17. Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE)
18. YIAGA Africa
19. Tax Justice and Governance Platform
20. Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth,
Nigeria
21. Women In Nigeria
22. African Centre for Leadership, Strategy &
Development (Centre LSD)
23. Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy
Centre(RULAAC)
24. Women Advocate Research And Documentation
Centre
25. Community Life Project
26. Nigerian Feminist Forum
27. Alliances for Africa
28. Spaces for Change
29. Nigerian Women Trust Fund
30. Corporate Accountability and Public Participation
Africa
31. BudgiT Foundation
32. State of the Union (SOTU)
33. Action International Nigeria
34. Femi Falana Chamber
35. HEDA Resource Centre
36. Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict
Resolution
37. Organization Community Civic
Engagement(OCCEN)
38. Say NO Campaign—Nigeria
39. Women In Media
40. Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)
41. Sesor Empowerment Foundation
42. House of Justice
43. Molluma Medico-Legal Center
44. Open Bar Initiative
45. Tap N’Itiative
46. Partners West Africa, Nigeria (PWAN)
47. We The People
48. Lex Initiative for Rights Advocacy and Development
(LIRAD Nigeria)
49. Centre for Impact Advocacy
50. Actionaid
51. Dorothy Njemanze Foundation
52. FEMBUD
53. Raising New Voices Initiative
54. Haly Hope Foundation
55. Centre for Liberty
56. Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and
Constitution
57. Adopt a Goal for Development Initiative
58. Education as a Vaccine
59. Stand to End Rape
60. TechHer
61. Invictus Africa
62. Dinidari Foundation
63. International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre
(IPCRC)
64. Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and
Development (FENRAD)
65. Mowalek Centre for Sustainable Community
Development
66. Silverchip Fox
67. Connected Development
68. Srarina Initiative for Peace, Justice and
Development (SIPJAD)

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22 Feb
0

Weekly Updates on #EndSARS Judicial Panels of Inquiry – No. 13

Weekly Updates on #EndSARS Judicial Panels of Inquiry – No. 13

8th February – 14th February 2021

The Judicial Panels of Inquiry set up across Nigeria to investigate the excesses of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies have continued sittings in the FCT and these 16 states in the week under review – Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau and Taraba.

In 17 states, the Judicial Panels of Inquiry have closed submission of petitions and Panels in Adamawa, Niger, Katsina, Kwara and Rivers States have concluded sittings/hearings and their recommendations are to be submitted to the government for implementation.

The ongoing Judicial Panels of Inquiry provide an opportunity for the Nigerian government at the Federal and State levels to meet major yearnings of Nigerians, which is justice for all victims and survivors of police brutality and implementation of the eventual recommendations of the Judicial Panels.

On 12 February 2021, Rinu Oduala, one of the organisers of the #EndSARS protests, resigned from the Lagos Judicial Panel on Police Brutality and Human Rights Abuse. Oduala was one of the youth representatives on the Panel. Her resignation followed a majority decision by members of the Panel on Saturday, February 6th to approve the request by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to repossess the Lekki Toll Gate (the scene of the alleged shooting on 20 October, 2020).

The decision to return the Toll Gate, which is a Lagos State asset received swift condemnation because it was out of the remit of the Panel and citizens believed it was premature. This led to the immediate call for a protest at the Toll Gate on Saturday, February 13th with the message that until the victims of police brutality had received justice, the Toll Gate should not be open. There was also a lawsuit filed by EiE Nigeria on behalf of a victim to compel the court to stop LCC.

On February 13th 2021, some protesters who convened at the Toll Gate were arrested in connection with the #OccupyLekkiProtest by the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Nigeria Police Force. The Nation newspaper confirmed that comedian Debo Adebayo, popularly known as Mr Macaroni, and 39 other arrested protesters were charged, but granted bail in the evening of the same day. The Toll Gate had been shut since October 2020.

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, representing civil society on the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry, issued a statement following the arrest, detention and dehumanization of protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on 13th February 2021. According to the statement, ‘it becomes worrisome that the security agencies have not learnt any positive lesson from those occurrences. I commend the protesters for their peaceful conduct. I cannot in good conscience continue to sit at any Panel of Inquiry to heal wounds and end police brutality when fresh assaults are being perpetrated with impunity. Consequently, I am presently consulting with my constituency within the civil society, as to my continued participation in the EndSARS Judicial Panel.’

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, in his response on 14th February 2021 stated he was “piqued by this unprofessional and inhuman act” adding that, “while the command is resolute in enforcing all laws in the state, it will not deviate from the Standard Operating Procedure of the Nigeria Police Force and provisions of the law in discharging its duties”, noting that the command will fish out those responsible for the molestation and ensure they are punished for their unprofessional conduct.

Similarly, on 14th February 2021, five members of the Anambra State Judicial Panel of Inquiry resigned. The members of the Panel, who are the youth representatives, accused the state government of lip service and indifference to the cause. The members are Mr Chijioke Ifediora, Mr Henry Ugwu, Mr. Osonwa Chukwuka, Mr Ebelechukwu Ngini and Mr Chibuike Obiwuzie.

Yiaga Africa and Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE)’s observation of the Panels of Inquiry will continue to provide information to promote transparency and accountability and build citizens’ confidence in the process.

Findings from the period under review include:

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15 Feb
0

January 2021: Breaking New grounds and Making a Difference

January 2021: Breaking New grounds and Making a Difference

Dear Friend,

This year will be defined by Leadership, Excellence, Resilience and Breaking New Grounds. Our goal for 2021 is to manifest our commitment to evolving beyond our limits as we enable citizens to reclaim power through organized collective action, electoral participation and civic engagement. Your partnership, solidarity and support will be crucial to our aspiration this year and beyond.

Yiaga Africa Brainstorming and Strategy Session for 2021

We have already set 2021 in motion at our annual brainstorming and strategy session in January as our team of experts in Governance and Development, Elections and Legislative Engagement are raring to kick off the year with impactful interventions. Amongst our agenda is to provide leadership in harnessing collective citizen action in governance as well as critically analyse development trends, challenges and its impact especially on young people across Africa. Similarly, through our center for legislative engagement, we will continue to enhance citizens’ engagement with the legislature and empower state and non-state actors with knowledge to promote legislative accountability. Also, our elections team remains committed to promoting electoral Integrity and citizens participation in the election process.

 

Beating the Odds: Experiences of Young Elected Leaders

Beating The Odds documents some of the inspiring experiences of young men and women who ran and won elections either into the House of Representatives or the State Houses of Assembly during Nigeria’s 2019 general elections. The experiences demonstrated resilience, strategy, effective communication, community and resource mobilization, persistence and faith in beating the odds faced by young men and women in the 2019 general elections. This will indeed inspire young budding citizens with competence, character and capacity to step out of their comfort zones and confront the challenges that seek to exclude the youth from political leadership on account of being too young to lead. Beating The Odds will be made available to young leaders in various arms of government, aspiring leaders and every stakeholder interested in youth participation in politics.

                     

FixElectionsNG: All Eyes on National Assembly as Citizens Demand New Electoral Act

Nigerian citizens have their eyes set on the National Assembly especially the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission and other electoral matters ahead of further deliberations on a new electoral act. The committees recently held a technical session to deliberate on recommendations for electoral amendment ahead of its proposed resumption. Having engaged citizens on electoral amendment and electoral reform in recent times, we have galvanised recommendations that should be considered as priorities to ensure improvement in Nigeria’s electoral process.

See Citizens’ top 10 priorities on electoral amendment act HERE

Citizens Top Priority on Electoral Act amendement

 

100 Days after Lekki Shooting, Justice Evading Victims

100 days since innocent protesters were reportedly shot at, by armed security men at Lekki toll gates, victims and their families cry for justice. After initial denial of involvement in the controversial incident, the Nigerian army admitted being present at the venue of the shooting but denied shooting at protesters. However, media investigations by credible media houses both in Nigeria and abroad providing intriguing incites on brutality on citizens by Armed security personnel. The report further demonstrates the role of the media in the protection of human rights and promoting accountability by the government. Despite initial effort to clampdown on some media by regulating bodies, the media has remained steadfast in reporting police brutality from the angle of victims while amplifying the need for justice.

READ MORE on EndSARS Movement through Media Lens

 

 

Updates on Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality

In our consistent effort in demanding justice for victims of police brutality in Nigeria, we continue to provide information and provide recommendations for the ongoing Judicial Panels of Inquiry to promote accountability. Our weekly report on the EndSARS judicial Panels of inquiry provides information on petitions received, information on victims of police brutality and evidence provided. We will share a policy brief with all stakeholders to follow up with implementation of citizens’ demand in a bid to end Police brutality.

Read our latest report on the Judicial Panel of Inquiry HERE

 

INEC Release Time Table for Anambra Governorship Election

The release of the elections time table for the November Anambra Governorship signifies the preparation of our election team to observe the process from the pre-election to post-election stages. Through our WatchingTheVote project, we will continue to build citizens’ confidence in the process and provide information to enable citizens to participate effectively.

 

Anambra Poll: Time is Running Out for Passage of Electoral Act – Moshood Isah

The moment the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the timetable for the 2021 Anambra Governorship Elections, one would think the National Assembly would at least show more anxiety to resume from its recess and get to work to speed-up the passage of a new electoral act. Thus, the news that the National Assembly has postponed its resumption from January 26th to February 9th, 2021 is not cheering news as far as the plight of the electoral amendment is concerned.

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Ugandan Election Debacle and Sit-Tight Syndrome of African Leaders – Chinemerem Onuorah

The violence and human rights violations that were reportedly perpetrated by the incumbent President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni against main opposition parties is a microcosm of how some African leaders react to the slightest threat to their long reign in power. Mr Museveni has just been elected as President for the 6th term in controversial circumstances but his main opposition, 38-year old Bobi Wine is still under house arrest on the orders of the President. The young legislator who dared to challenge the status-quo is still licking his wounds as state security has barricaded him and his family from the outside world. This was preceded by total shutdown of the internet amidst massive reported election rigging.

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In case you missed it

Watch a short video of our 2020 Success Story HERE, comment and share!  

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15 Feb
0

Weekly Updates on #EndSARS Judicial Panels of Inquiry – No. 12

Weekly Updates on #EndSARS Judicial Panels of Inquiry – No. 12
31st January 2021 – 7th February 2021

In October 2020, following the #EndSARS Protests across Nigeria and the diaspora, the National Economic Council (NEC), directed the establishment of Judicial Panels of Inquiry by governors in Nigeria to investigate complaints of police brutality and extra-judicial killings. Membership of the NEC comprises the 36 state governors, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and other co-opted government officials. The NEC is chaired by the Vice President.

The directive to establish the Judicial Panels of Inquiry was contained in a statement issued at the end of the NEC meeting attended by governors, as part of efforts to deliver justice to all victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police and security units. The statement added that the panel’s assignment should be concluded within a maximum of six (6) months unless it “shows convincing reasons why a state governor should allow an extension.”

NEC also decided that all state governors will set up a Victims’ Fund to facilitate the payment of monetary compensation to survivors of police brutality. However, there is no evidence to suggest that a Victims’ Fund has been opened by the governors. On 27 January 2021, both the Kwara and Adamawa State Judicial Panels of Inquiry concluded hearing the 25 and 14 petitions they had received respectively.

Cracks emerged in the Lagos State Judicial panel on 6 February, 2021 over whether the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) should repossess Lekki Toll Gate, the scene of the alleged shooting on 20 October 2020. Justice Doris Okuwobi, and four other members of the Panel agreed that LCC should take over the toll gate, while the Panel members representing civil society and the youths in the panel were absent when the ruling was delivered. The civil society and youth representatives gave divergent views in their minority rulings when they joined the panel. The Chair of the Panel claimed a quorum had been formed with five members seated. The claims by the Chairperson of the Panel are curious and inconsistent with her earlier decision to halt proceedings in November 2020 due to the absence of the youth representatives following the freezing of Rinu Oduala’s bank account over alleged sponsorship of the #EndSARS protests.

Yiaga Africa and Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE)’s observation of the Panels of Inquiry will continue to provide information to promote transparency and accountability and build citizens’ confidence in the process.

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11 Feb
0

Bounce Corruption: How Citizens are Tracking Budget Implementation at LGA Level

Local Government is the third tier of government in Nigeria that is nearest to the people at the grassroots. It is a structure that provides for goods and services needed by the people and also brings development and good governance to the local level. However, development has not thrived at the grassroots levels due to the paucity of the culture of accountability and transparency in the administration of local government in Nigeria. 

Between September 2019 and January 2020, Yiaga Africa through its Bounce Corruption trained 68 young changemakers cutting across 28 Local Government Areas in seven states on conducting social audits and demanding accountability via tracking budgets and its implementation at the Local Government level. The ongoing social audit, budget and implementation tracking in Bauchi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kogi, Kaduna and Federal Capital territory have provided more information to citizens on the procedures,  code of conduct and government impact on citizens at Local Government level. This enabled citizens to also assess the impact of government on its constituents. These change-makers are living up to our expectations of taking leadership responsibility to demand government accountability at the local level and ensuring sustainable development in their communities.

During the second batch of evaluation workshop in Abuja, young changemakers shared success stories on how they have been demanding accountable leadership, increasing the awareness of budgeting at the local government levels and how it translates to community development and mobilizing their communities to take action and employ creativity in tracking the implementation of projects at the local government level.

For instance, changemakers in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State took on the perennial problem of government contractors abandoning projects by focusing on a vital road link that had been left uncompleted. The changemakers mobilized the community to exert pressure on local government officials to ensure the contractor returned to site, and have continued to play a role in monitoring the progress of the road construction.

Another group of changemakers in Nasarawa State engaged the Chairman of Akwanga local government on the need to have a primary school in the community renovated and adequate infrastructure for improved learning. The engagement worked and the primary school did not just get renovated but got additional classroom blocks and new school furniture. These among other success stories from other state representatives highlight the need for citizens to further get involved in activities that affect them and their communities. 

While lauding the effort of young Nigerians dusting the odds to demand accountability, Yiaga Africa’s Program Manager, Ibrahim Faruk said, it is also essential that their work is well-documented so that records exist, and their success stories told properly in order to inspire others to take similar leadership responsibility to demand government accountability in their communities. According to Faruk,  aimed to increase the capacity of the BC Changemakers to harvest outcomes from their activities and lessons learned also provided an opportunity for cross-learning among the changemakers as they shared the various challenges they encountered in their work and how they surmounted these challenges. 

During the Workshop, participants were trained on how to use the results of their work gathered through the monitoring and evaluation to develop stories that clearly communicate the work that they do and which audiences will find informative, relatable, and interesting.

The capacity training given to the change-makers through the Yiaga Africa Bounce Corruption project has clearly made an impact in enabling them to conduct a social audit, budget tracking, and implementation. Together with the creativity and commitment of the change-makers, young people are being mainstreamed in ensuring open and accountable governance as part of the fight against corruption.

Through this retreat, the enthusiasm of the changemakers has increased as they are eager to continue with conducting social audits and tracking budgets and project implementation in their local government areas while also properly documenting the work that they do and turning them into inspiring stories that will motivate other people to be a part of this movement of young people in the fight for accountable governance from the grassroots level. 

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11 Feb
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Clarion Call To Vote In Support Of Citizens Top 10 Priorities On Electoral Amendment

A CLARION CALL TO VOTE IN SUPPORT OF CITIZENS TOP 10 PRIORITIES ON ELECTORAL AMENDMENT

The National Assembly through its Joint-Committee on INEC and Electoral Matters called a public hearing on the Bill for ‘An Act to Repeal the Electoral Act No 6, 2010 (As Amended) and Enact the Independent National Electoral Commission Act 2020’ on 9th December 2020. The public hearing provided citizens with a platform to outline their demands and make inputs into the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. The public hearing was another testament to the 9th National Assembly’s commitments towards reforming the nation’s electoral system and process and ensuring that a new citizen-responsive Electoral Act is activated in a considerably good time. 

We recognize and deeply appreciate your tireless efforts and that of every member of the National Assembly, particularly all members of the Senate and House of Representatives Joint-Committee on INEC and Electoral Matters in ensuring a new Electoral Act is delivered to Nigerians in the first quarter of 2021. These genuine efforts and partnership with citizens’ have culminated into various wide-ranging recommendations, amongst which are certain priorities that truly respond to our aspirations as a people working to build our electoral democracy. These Citizen’s top 10 Priorities on the Electoral Act Amendment are highlighted in the document attached. These priorities include:

  1. Strengthen the financial Independence of the Commission 
  2. Publication of polling unit level results by INEC 
  3. Protecting the voting rights of Visually impaired and Incapacitated Voters 
  4. Cost of Nomination of Candidates
  5. Promoting the inclusion of women, youth, and persons living with disability in politics
  6. Legitimize the use of technology in the electoral process through electronic accreditation of voters, electronic voting and electronic collation and transmission of results
  7. Stiffer Sanctions for Electoral Offences
  8. Regulation of the Conduct of Security Personnel on Election Duty
  9. Early voting for Nigerians on essential election duty
  10. Voting Rights for Nigerians in Diaspora

These outlined priority areas are consistent with the tenets of good governance and democratic consolidation and provide Nigerian citizens, especially young people, women and people living with disabilities, with the needed confidence in trusting our electoral outcome. Adopting these priorities will elevate Nigeria’s standing globally amongst other nations using the instrumentality of the Law to build their electoral democracy and achieve stability and peace. 

We, therefore, urge you to become a reference point for genuine change, through your support of these citizen’s priorities, by ensuring its reflectiveness in the proposed Electoral Amendment Bill.

Posterity will reckon with you as we work together to reform our Electoral Act for an electoral process that guarantees credible, free and fair elections in Nigeria. 

Please be assured of our solidarity and support in our joint quest for the democratic consolidation and development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Sincerely,

 

Cynthia Mbamalu

Director of Programs 

Yiaga Africa

 

Signed

Albino Foundation

Centre for Citizens with Disability

Center for Liberty

CLEEN Foundation

Institute for Media and Society

International Press Centre

NESSACTION

Nigeria Women’s Trust Fund

Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism

Millennials Active Citizenship Advocacy Africa

Raising New Voices

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11 Feb
0

Yiaga Africa Marks 14 Years of Civic Activism for Sustainable Democracy and Development  

 Today, 7th February 2021 we celebrate 14 years of civic activism, movement building and sustained advocacy for purposeful leadership and transformative politics. As we reflect on our purpose-driven journey that started from being a student union at the University of Jos, we have continued to evolve even beyond our limits. This is made possible through purposeful leadership, hardworking and committed staff, a solid organizational structure, strong stakeholder support and consistent learning, unlearning and relearning. Together with our communities, partners, friends, and mentors, we have been able to break boundaries and make impact through our various initiatives over the years. We have found strength in your partnership, solidarity and support.

As we mark this milestone, we are reviewing our vision as an organization to further fulfill our responsibility of bridging the gap between the citizens and the state. Henceforth, our interventions will be guided by the vision of “A Citizens’-Driven Democratic and Developed Africa”. In 2021, we remain committed to evolving beyond our limits by empowering citizens to exercise power through organised collective action, electoral participation and civic engagement. 

The year will be defined by Excellence, Leadership, Resilience and Breaking New Grounds.

Signed 

Samson Itodo 

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