COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF 7th NATIONAL CSOs CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON PEACE AND SECURITY ORGANIZED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) WITH SUPPORT FROM NIGERIA STABILITY AND RECONCILIATION PROGRAM (NSRP) AT TOP RANK GALAXY, UTAKO DISTRICT, ABUJA ON THE 18th DAY OF DECEMBER 2014

Preamble:

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized the 7th National CSOs Consultative Meeting on Peace and Security with the support from Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Program (NSRP). The consultative meeting focused on the strategic role of the Youths, Ethics, Values and Patriotism can play in amplifying tolerance, social justice, peace and security particularly in the North East as the country prepares towards 2015 general elections. The forum featured The Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values, Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Jubril, Chairman, Presidential Initiative for the North East, Professor Soji Adelaja, Director of Voter Education and Civil Society, INEC Barr. Osaze Uzzi, Representatives from of the Honorable Minister of Youth development as well as representative from the National Human Rights Commission. Participants who were drawn from stakeholders across the various thematic areas which include Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), Motor Cycle Association, NGOs, FBOs, Youth and Labor Organizations, Media and CBOs.

Observations:

• There is a disappearance of social mobility in Nigeria which has translated into the absence of Ethics and Values as well as preventive infrastructure that could curb violence amongst citizenry.

• Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) has remained a priority and a key driver in the design to provide emergency assistance, mobilize targeted resources to jump start the North East economy and strategically position the region long term prosperity.

• Leadership and role models are gradually eroding, influential leadership are not limited to governance, but leadership is all-encompassing, leadership in government, spiritual leadership, traditional leadership, even in the family there are leaders, the corporate leadership, all these sets of leadership have not lived up to expectations in Nigeria.

• While Government has not done much in fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policies in other to maintain stability, contribute to investor and balance of payments stabilization thereby increasing Poverty, unemployment, idleness, drug addiction, political thugerry, illiteracy, religious bigotry and a number of vices has been blamed for the violence in North Eastern Nigeria even before the advent of insurgencies.

• Weak capacity of Civil Society Groups in the North East Nigeria still remains a gap in engaging state actors on one side and educating the citizens on the other on the roles and responsibilities of every institution towards reclaiming the country from the brinks of collapse.

• Despite the challenges that are currently affecting personnel deployment from INEC to the North East, some very dynamic response mechanism is developed to mitigate those challenges through the current portal developed to recruit ad hoc staff.

Recommendations:

• The ruling class should restore social values in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) as well as provide adequate preventive infrastructure as conceived by the founding fathers of the country by strengthening state institutions, particularly in the North East.

• Without any recourse to the dwindling revenue in the country, the government should as a matter of urgency provide adequate budgetary support to the Presidential Initiative for the North East and charge the legislature to gazette it considering the critical role of the initiative in the overall national transformation.

• Rarely in the history of Nigeria, do we see the youth movement practically still to purse, reflect, recollect and strive to emulate the life of one any leader. Therefore, leaders in governance, traditional and spiritual institutions were charged to practice what they preach as a panacea for peaceful elections and beyond as well as development.

• Government should remain focused in its economic planning programs and diversify the economy to create more wealth, generate employment and further stimulate the economy by further mobilizing non oil revenue as well as reorder resources to critical sectors of the economy.

• Civil Society Organizations and media should engage more actively in capacity building to provide space to educate youth groups especially, in poor urban and rural areas, and strengthen participatory early warning and early response systems, and raise timely alerts of possible violence before, during and after the elections.

• INEC was charged to sustain its ongoing national drive in terms of developing a credible register and maintain its independence and integrity for a more robust and participatory democratic process in Nigeria.

Conclusion

Participants thanked CISLAC with the support from NSRP for providing the platform for engagement. The meeting resolved to participate more in the weekly radio programs positioned by the organizers to engage the relevant stakeholders towards ensuring a more patriotic citizenry, peace and security before, during and after the elections. CSOs thanked Madam Sarah Jibril and urged the PINE to position more strategically with the legislature for a more national visibility. INEC was applauded for all its efforts and urged to maintain its independence. The meeting hailed the proposal of the Senate to capture the IDPs in the forth coming general elections.

Signed:

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Abuja

Dr. Mrs Sarah Jubril
Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values
The Presidency
Abuja

Professor Soji Adelaja
Chairman
Presidential Initiative for the North East
Abuja

DECLARATION OF ACTION AFTER A ONE DAY STAKEHOLDER CONSENSUS BUILDING MEETING ON WOMEN POLITICAL PARTICIPATION ORGANISED BY CISLAC WITH SUPPORT FROM THE UK DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (DFID) FUNDED VOICES FOR CHANGE PROGRAMME HELD IN KADUNA ON 17TH DECEMBER, 2014

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded Voices for Change programme held a One Day Stakeholder Consensus Building Meeting on women political participation in Kaduna State. The Summit held in Chimcherry Hotel, Kaduna on 17th December, 2014, was attended by over 30 participants from political parties, youth associations, academia, State House of Assembly, civil society, developmental partners and the media. After exhaustive deliberations on the aim of the meeting which is to highlight the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders and elicit buy-in commitments towards the activities of V4C on women’s political participation in Kaduna State, we, the participants:

Recognise that several local and international instruments such as United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and African Union Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa take as priority effective participation of women in politics;

Also recognize that woman remains a role model to both man and woman, and women instill discipline and national stability;

Express our deep concern about women creating barriers against women in education and socio-political atmospheres;

Note certain barriers backpedalling women’s participation in politics including moral stigma; eagerness towards financial fulfillment; cultural, financial, education and religion limitations; and security threats;

Recommend that various threats of insecurity and socio-cultural hindering women participation are seriously discouraged;

Commit to create enabling environment through adequate counseling and skill acquisition to ensure effective participation of women in politics;

Affirm special preference be accorded women at voting centres and in politics; and adequate security for women at pre-election, election and post-election periods;

Endorse immediate presentation and passage of a Bill to legislate free and compulsory education for the girl child at all levels;

Will ensure religious leaders, traditional rulers, mass media, men and women groups, and youth groups are adequately engaged to eliminate barriers and perceptions against women participation in politics in Kaduna State;

Will also ensure more women are recruited into: institutions’ Student Union leadership, political parties’ leadership, and women association;

Shall effectively raise awareness to ensure zero level existence of stigmatization on women by women in politics; promote integration of women in politics and mainstream women in governance;

Will support full-fledged implementation of 35% Affirmative Action for Women by governments at all levels to encourage appreciative participation of women as leaders and decision-makers in political decision making in Kaduna State;

Agreed to embark on effective advocacy to encourage girl child education in Kaduna State;

We hereby nominate one participant from each organization to commit to these actions on our behalves:
1. Fatima Usman
Arewa Youth Forum
2. Hassan Adamu
State Chairman, Social Democratic Party
3. Lekan Ogedengbe
African Democratic Congress (ADC)
4. Adankat M. Innocent
Global Community Prime Initiative
5. Adejor Lilian
Community Youth Forum
6. Abdullahi Garba
Youth Leader, P.D.P Kaduna State
7. Mary Dahe Kakamor
Save Space, Kaduna State University
8. Itodo Francis Paul
Youth Men Foundation Against SGBV
9. Larai Diana Gwani
Kaduna State House of Assembly
10. Eric John
Youth, Orphan and Widows Empowerment, Kaduna State
11. Rita Sangba Manassen
P.D.P Women Leader, Kaduna State

Statement of the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security, 16 Dec 2014, AU Peace & Security Council Open Session on Women, Peace and Security, Debate on “Sources of Instability in Africa: Root Causes and Responses”

Excellency Mr. President, Permanent Representatives, Commissioner for Peace and Security, Commissioner for Political Affairs, representatives of international organizations, representatives of civil society, representatives of women’s organizations, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to deliver this statement to the Peace and Security Council during this Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, in my capacity as the African Union Commission Chairperson’s Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security. I would like to thank the Gambian Presidency for providing us the space to address the women, peace and security agenda in the first part of this session.

When the Chairperson of the African Union Commission appointed me in January 2014, she highlighted the vision of my mandate before the Heads of State and Government, “to ensure that the voices of women and the vulnerable are heard much more clearly in peacebuilding and in conflict resolution.”

As this is my inaugural address to this august body, allow me to also recall other areas of my mandate, which includes the participation of women in peace and security, ensuring that protective measures on conflict related sexual violence are put in place at all levels, promoting women’s roles in preventing conflict and in peace building, capacity building and building solidarity with African women’s organizations in identifying and amplifying efforts being made at community, national, regional and continental levels.

Africa has made tremendous efforts to ensure the adoption of laws, policies and programs to safeguard gender equality and women’s empowerment. The time is now for robust implementation to translate commitments into action. We appreciate that 16 African countries have adopted national action plans for women, peace and security and at least two regional action plans have been adopted by IGAD and the Great Lakes Region. However, much more needs to be done.

We need to accelerate the implementation of these instruments. Since my appointment, I spent the first six months as a member of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, investigating the impact of the conflict on women and children. The report, which highlights their current status, will be shared with you shortly.

I also visited countries in crisis, such as the Central African Republic on a joint mission with the Executive Director of UN Women, Madame Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. We took note of that the contributions of the African contingent and other troops were invaluable for containing the violence. Nevertheless, the situation of women, particularly in displaced camps can only be described as inhumane and degrading. As the Government and people of CAR strive towards societal transformation, they need your support to strengthen their governance mechanisms, particularly as they prepare for elections in 2015.

In Somalia, women expressed concerns over the continuing threats from Al Shabaab that has caused untold suffering. The work done by AMISOM is appreciated, but we need to adopt a zero tolerance policy and put in place protective and accountability measures to ensure compliance among our troops. In this regard, we appreciate the Chairperson’s appointment of an Independent Investigation Team to look into the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse. I also want to thank members of my delegation, the Ambassador of Namibia, Anne Namakau Mutelo and Julienne Lusenge of the DRC for contributing to the success of this mission.

Last week I was in Nigeria on a solidarity visit to women and girls in northern Nigeria. We were alarmed by the strategy of Boko Haram to kidnap girls, denying them their right to education, thereby undermining their contributions to meaningful development of their country. I would like to express my appreciation to Ambassador Amina Djibo Diallo, Justice Sophia Akuffo and Harriette Williams Bright who accompanied me on this mission. This growing phenomenon of terrorism, extremism and radicalization, targeting women, girls, men and boys is ruining our collective efforts to foster peace and stability and enable real social, political and economic development on the continent.

It is important that we all come together to holistically address these challenges. After our consultation with various actors I had a meeting with civil society organizations and women’s group on how best to implement my mandate and you will hear from them shortly. On this note allow me to thank Femmes Africa Solidarité and the Gender is my Agenda Campaign network for organizing the meeting with my Office.

I want to recognize the full support of the Chairperson in implementing my mandate. Let me also thank all the departments of the AUC, including the peace and security, political affairs and legal departments as well as partners for their collaboration in implementing the women, peace and security agenda.

We need to seize the opportunity provided by the 2015 Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Agenda 2063, the agenda to silence the guns by 2020, the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action and the 15th anniversary of the UNSC resolution 1325 to accelerate effective implementation of the women, peace and security agenda. In this respect I strongly urge the Peace and Security Council to consider establishing a continental results framework to guide implementation of this agenda. I also recommend that the Peace and Security Council institute a fixed standalone annual open debate on women, peace and security to foster interactions with civil society.

Thank you.

Source: African Union Peace and Security Department

CSOs CHARGE GOVERNMENTS ON TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE MANAGEMENT OF THE EXTRACTIVE RESOURCES FOR THE MAXIMUM BENEFIT OF CITIZENS

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, led a Delegation of Civil Society groups working on transparency in the extractive sector and media persons in an exchange and experience sharing visit to Cote D’Ivoire. The Delegation engaged various stakeholders in the Extractive sector in Cote D’Ivoire, including civil society, the Burkina Faso EITI Technical Secretariat, National Assembly and the media.

From 10th to 14th December 2014, a Nigerian delegation, led by the Senior Program officer of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC and comprising of a representative of the Centre for Democracy and Development and a journalist, has sojourned in Cote D’Ivoire to share experiences on transparency issues in the extractive industries. It was hosted by the West African Youth Network, WAYN, a civil society organization in Abidjan. The Ivorian and Nigerian delegations have in these exchange activities, met with the ITIE, NGOs, including the Publish What You Pay Coalition, West African Network for Peace Building, WANEP, Company representatives in the extractive sector, officials of the Technical Secretariat of CNITIE, relevant Committee of the national Assembly and journalists.

During the meetings, brief presentations of Nigeria’s EITI process was made and an emphasis was put on collaboration between Civil Society Organizations in the extractive sector and strengthening the autonomy of the ITIE by establishing adequate legal frameworks, provide sufficient oversight, sensitize citizens and ensure transparency and accountability.

The delegations from the two countries share mutual successes of being EITI compliant and conducting, publishing and disseminating findings of Audit Reports. They congratulated their respective countries for this feat as indications of willingness to ensure transparency and accountability in the extractive sector in their countries. They however noted that this is yet to translate into the desired results of transparency, accountability and people-oriented development.

They noted the peculiarities of their respective countries in terms of the structure of government, size of the extractive sector and the character of the industry in their countries; they however noted the similarity in the dominance of unorganized artisanal miners in the mining sector of both countries with resultant loss of huge revenues for the government and people, with the Ivorian being worse hit. The similarity on the negative environmental effect of natural resource exploitation on the environment and the deprivation suffered by resource producing communities were also highlighted

The delegations of the two country noted that the EITI process in their respective countries have similarities. These includes the persistence of secrecy in transactions in the sector, governments and citizens’ inability to independently verify the quantities of resources extracted and sold due to the absence of measurement infrastructure, secrecy in the processes of licensing, confidentiality in and non publication of the contents of contracts for citizens to see and the beneficial owners of extractive companies are not disclosed.

It was noted that the Nigeria model with a law governing the extractive sector and establishing the NEITI to guarantee its autonomy, sustainability and secure funding was also desirable in Cote D’Ivoire where the ITIE appears to be headed by the Ministry of Finance on which it also depends of funding for its activities, as it is in other Francophone countries. It was noted that while the CNITIE in Cote D’Ivoire has tried to be as autonomous as possible, it will fare better if made more autonomous.

It is noted that the Nigerian practice of conducting the three audits namely financial audit, physical audit, the process audit and the Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Audit which traces the application of the revenues from natural resources and its impacts on the welfare of the people can also benefit the people of Cote D’Ivoire.

The delegations noted the relatively low level of collaboration between civil society and the legislative arm of government in Cote D’Ivoire compared to Nigeria, especially as it related to engagement in the extractive sector. They highlighted the positive roles played by civil society organizations and the media in promoting transparency in the extractive sectors in both countries.

They also note that in the two countries, there are no ways of independently verifying the quantity of resources extracted by Companies because they lack the facilities to do so. They however noted the increasing awareness by civil society, citizens and resource rich communities. They also share the similarity that citizens in both countries are yet to truly enjoy the benefits from the natural resources in their respective countries as poverty; unemployment and poor standard of living persist.

The delegations of the two countries notes with mutual concern the need for their respective outstanding audit reports must be concluded and published by December 31, 2014 to avoid the sanction affecting their compliant status the EITI International, as this will translate to a setback in advancing transparency and accountability in the sector in their countries

In view of the discussions during the meetings, Civil Society from Cote D’Ivoire and Nigeria resolves as follows:

1. We commend the governments of our respective countries for accepting to implement the EITI and acknowledging the need to manage our Natural Resources with transparency and accountability and accepting the need for our citizens to benefit from the natural resources
2. We note that in spite of this commitment, our people are still yet to truly enjoy the benefits from the natural resources and only a few benefits from it. There is still a lot of secrecy and revenue loss to government with resultant effect on development and citizens’ welfare
3. We note with concern how companies continue to seek to undermine the efforts of our governments and citizens to get their rightful share of their natural wealth. The prevalence of unorganized artisanal mining, especially benefitting foreigners at the expense of citizens is worrisome
4. We note the limitation in capacity of relevant stakeholders, especially civil society in Cote D’ivoire to effectively engage the extractive sector considering that the sector is just emerging
Consequently we resolve as follows:

Parliament should:
1. Show commitment to the citizens of our countries and improve their legislative oversight to ensure effective regulation of the extractive sector to promote the best interest of our people
2. Create a framework for improved discussion and collaboration with civil society in Cote D’Ivoire, ensure that they are carried along at every stage of law making to boost transparency in the extractive industries;
3. Ensure that there is effective oversight of the mining code to protect the interest of host communities, guarantee their rights and prevent environmental degradation that will impact on their health, welfare and livelihoods
4. Assert its independence from the executive and enact into laws useful proclamations initiated by the president to make it binding on stakeholders. The legal status of the requirement for the publication of mining contracts in Cote D’ivoire, is an example of this as this is now a requirement under the new EITI standard.
5. Work for the passage of a law that will make the ITIE independent sources of funding to make it more autonomous and reduce the influence of the Ministry of Finance in its operations

Government should:
1. Accelerate the process of publishing the contents of all existing mining contracts in Cote D’Ivoire for citizens to see and monitor
2. Expedite the ongoing plans to organize the artisanal miners and ensure that the interests, rights and welfare of citizens of Cote’ D’Ivoire are well protected against exploitation and abuse by foreigners, while ensuring that the government derives maximum revenue from the natural resources for the development of Cote D’Ivoire.
3. The Government in the respective countries should also ensure that they implement the recommendations that have been made in the various audit reports as this is the only way to improve transparency in the sector and make the resources benefit the people
4. Introduce openness and transparency in the process of awarding mining licenses and concessions to mining companies and make public disclosures of contracts entered into. They should also create opportunity for civil society to participate in the contract award process.
5. Commence the process of establishing the mechanisms for independently measuring and ascertaining actual quantities of resources extracted and sold by extractive companies so as to capture actual revenues for use in development and improving the welfare of the citizens of the Burkina Faso and Nigeria
6. Put machineries in place for a comprehensive scoping study and survey of the mineral deposits in Cote D’Ivoire, rather than allow companies to have complete and sole control of the information and data related to such as this is detrimental to national survival and security
7. Commence the process of fully complying with the new EITI standards which includes, among others, determining and publishing the holders of licenses, ultimate beneficial owners of extractive companies, and disclosure of production figures to further strengthen transparency and accountability in the extractive sector

Civil Society should:
1. Continue to demand for increased transparency and accountability in the extractive sector
2. develop research, advocacy and networking skills to be able to constructively engage the EITI process, undertake evidence based advocacy, sensitize and mobilize citizens to demand for accountability in the extractive sector
3. Participate actively in the process of dissemination of information, findings of audit reports and education of the citizens
4. Develop effective ways of working with the media and other stakeholders in the academia, professional bodies to provide credible and objective support of the EITI implementation in Burkina Faso

Conclusion
The CSOs in both countries commended their government for signing unto the EITI process and making efforts to ensure transparency in the extractive sector and management of natural resources. They called on their respective governments not to relent on the revenues from natural resources translate to development, wealth, and good living standards for their citizens. They thanked the people and government of Cote D’Ivoire for providing an atmosphere conducive for this exchange and experience sharing visit to hold without hitches. They also thanked Oxfam Novib for providing support for CISLAC and the Nigerian Delegation. They pledged to continue to seek ways of collaboration between them and their respective countries.

Signed:
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director, CISLAC

Kouassi hyacinthe
Vice-Coordinator, PWYP-Cote D’ivoire

Drissa Soulama
President, West African Youth Network

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF MEDIA INTERACTION ON REMIDIATION AND INTER MINISTERIAL TASK TEAM (IMTT) ACTIVITIES ORGANIZED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) WITH SUPPORT FROM OXFAM NOVIB AT TOP RANK GALAXY, UTAKO DISTRICT, ABUJA ON THE 8th DAY OF DECEMBER 2014

Preamble:

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a one day Media Interaction on Remediation and Inter Ministerial Task Team Activities (IMTT) with the support from Oxfam Novib. The interaction on Remediation focused on the opacity in the oil and gas industry as well as the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) audit reports. The interaction featured 34 participants drawn from members of the Media in the Extractives Industry, Civil Society Organizations, NEITI, representative of the CSO Chair on the Civil Society Steering Committee, NGOs.

 

Observations:

  • NEITI has conducted and published four cycles of audit reports and the Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement (FASD) audit in the oil and gas sector and each of these reports have made profound revelations and also identified several processes and governance lapses in the sector as well as provided appropriate recommendations on how to fix the problems in the sector.
  • Poverty index in Nigeria has grown in geometric progression since the domestication of the EITI process raising concern on the on the veracity and courage of the NEITI audits.
  • The issue of remediation has been of concern to all stakeholders in the industry as poor implementation of remedial issues in its finding is capable of undermining the chances of Nigerians reaping the benefits of the global initiative. 
  • The role of the National Assembly is central to the implementation of the NEITI recommendations through various platforms such as public hearings as well as adequate budgetary allocation to the agency for efficiency. 
  • The activities of the IMTT however, are greatly hindered due to lack of political will, resistance by regulatory bodies, poor human resources development and Non-passage of the Petroleum Industries Bill (PIB). 
  • The success of any social accountability and transparency initiative is dependent on the extent of interaction, synergy and deliberate interface between the civil society and the government. Public accountability is the magic wand that can transform natural resource wealth into sustainable development and revenue transparency into efficient public financial management. 

Recommendations:

    • All Stakeholders in the Extractive Industry including members of the Inter Ministerial Task Team, CSOs, Media should take up the challenge of providing strong partnerships, cooperation and collaboration with NEITI towards full implementation of already developed comprehensive remediation plan.
    • The Executive should as a matter of urgency give accent policy arrangements for monitoring and measuring gas and liquids  from well-heads to export terminals as a panacea for a more sustainable development, wealth creation and poverty reduction amongst all citizen
    • The Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMIT) composing of heads of some Federal Government Ministries, Departments and agencies, regulators, financial institutions and extractive industries operators (companies) should activate its responsibility of implementing the findings and recommendations.
    • The Legislature should demonstrate commitment towards remedial issues identified in the NEITI Audits such as physical, financial and process lapses and provide necessary legislative interventions. This is in addition to the use of information and data in the report as tools for debate in both chambers.  It is therefore important for legislators at all level especially those at the 8th National Assembly to be fully briefed on NEITI objectives, processes, benefits, challenges and the provisions of NEITI. 
    • The Civil Society Steering Committee as the clearing House of NEITI, especially on Remediation issues, need to partner and engage with funding agencies to accomplish the set objective of addressing the six prioritized Remedial issues within the next two years.
    • There should be some collective efforts by civil society organizations and media by building synergy and advocacy messages that will name and shame those undermining efforts of public accountability and transparent Public Finance Management.

Conclusion

Participants thanked CISLAC with the support from Oxfam for providing the platform for engagement. The meeting resolved to continue to respond to weak arrangement around the domestic crude Oil allocation, Opaque and discretimary license and lease awards process. CSOs and media urged NEITI to increase its efforts towards ensuring a more robust industry.

Signed: 

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Executive Director

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)

Abuja 

Collins Olayinde

The Guardian

Abuja 

Obiagelli Onuorah

Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI)

Abuja

Vivian Bellonwu

Social Action

Abuja

PRESS RELEASE: “Break the corruption chain”

The Zero Corruption Coalition today marked the International Anti-Corruption Day with a call on the federal and states governments to make special efforts to detect corruption in their businesses in order to achieve meaningful development.  International Anti-Corruption Day is a time for political leaders, governments, legal bodies and CSOs groups to work together against corruption by promoting the day and the issues that surround this event. On this day anti-corruption advocates organize events to engage the general public to effectively fight against corruption and fraud in communities.

Corruption is an issue that affects all countries around the world. It can refer to the destruction of one’s honesty or loyalty through undermining moral integrity or acting in a way that shows a lack of integrity or honesty. It also refers to those who use a position of power or trust for dishonest gain. Corruption undermines democracy, creates unstable governments, and sets countries back economically. Corruption comes in various forms such as bribery, law-breaking without dealing with the consequences in a fair manner, unfairly amending election processes and results, and covering mistakes or silencing whistleblowers (those who expose corruption in hope that justice would be served).

By resolution 58/4 of October 31, 2003, the UN General Assembly designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day. This decision aimed to raise people’s awareness of corruption and of the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in combating and preventing it. The solution to Preventing and combating corruption requires a comprehensive approach, but only in a climate of transparency, accountability and participation by all members of society. Such as; governments, the private sector, the media, civil society organizations and the general public need to work together to curb this crime.

 

Recently, the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Hans Hodel, said “his country had discharged its legal obligations to Nigeria by returning all the Abacha loot, estimated at more than $700 million dollars. We must praise the cooperation extended to Nigeria since 1999 by the Swiss government to return the Abacha loot. Seven hundred million dollars (about N112bn) is not small money by any standard anywhere. This heavy cash would have dealt with basic challenges of good healthcare or education in Nigeria. In fact, in a country where public office holders are accountable, such recovered funds could have made a significant impact on the socio/economic well-being of the citizens”. According to Global Integrity Group, a Washington – based corruption monitoring organization, $129 billion was “fraudulently transferred out of Nigeria in 10 years.” Converted into naira, this figure stands at N20.6 trillion stolen from Nigeria by public office holders in 10 years.

However, corruption is a crime against development which thrives in the shadows. International Anti-Corruption Day is an opportunity to shed light on the damage it does, and to reaffirm our commitment to act against it. The impact of corruption is greater than just the diversion of resources – significant as this is. Corruption is also corrosive of societies and contributes to a justified lack of trust and confidence in governance. The worst consequences of corruption are borne by poor and vulnerable groups. Bribes, for example, can make basic services available only to those able to pay.

 

As the poor are more reliant on public services, they are disproportionately harmed by what may be, in financial terms, small-time corruption. Research suggests that poor women are often the worst affected by corruption. The poor also have the most to lose from rapid degradation of natural resources stemming from corruption which enables laws and regulations to be circumvented. Illegal logging to which corrupt officials turn a blind eye, for example, can threaten the ecosystems on which poor people depend for their livelihoods, and lead to revenue losses for governments too.

 

Anti-corruption measures need to be integrated into development planning processes. The development partner’s work on governance around the country aims to strengthen the national institutions and processes needed to build trust, improve responsiveness and accountability, and mobilize resources for development. Taking back what was lost to corrupt practices is everyone’s responsibility – governments and civil society organizations, the private sector and the media, the general public, and youth who will play a pivotal role in seeing this agenda through so that their future is built on solid and honest foundations.

ZCC therefore is demanding as follows:

  1. That the President Goodluck Jonathan should not only take note, but also take a stand and live by example on the fight against corruption in the country by “Breaking the corruption chain “.
  2. We are calling on Mr. President to declare his asset as reference to other public officer in Nigeria.
  3. That government must take strong measures to prevent corruption in our country by adopting the draft strategy to combat corruption in Nigeria, so that it will serve as working policy document.
  4. That government must cut down waste and duplication of resources as contained in our budget as a measure of detecting corruption risks in governance.
  5. We are calling on the government of President Jonathan to see to meeting the basic needs of Nigerians by prioritizing and demonstrate its expressed commitment to fight corruption.
  6. That as a matter of seriousness urgently ensuring the effective prosecution of those suspected of massive corruption in the fuel subsidy reports
  7. That all outstanding corruption reports, including the House Committee report on the subsidy racket must be fully implemented and perpetrators effectively punished.
  8. We therefore, call on Nigerian government to exercise full-fledged transparency and accountability by publicly declare all the looted sums returned to Nigeria government following their repatriation and set up appropriate committee including credible Civil Society Organizations to ensure judicious utilization of the fund for maximum benefit of the country so the funds do not get recycled.   

 

Signed:

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Chair Steering Committee Zero Corruption Coalition

WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE AG. GENERAL SECRETARY OF WACSOF, AUWAL MUSA (RAFSANJANI), AT THE FIRST ANNUAL WEST AFRICA CIVIL SOCIETY CONFERENCE IN ACCRA, GHANA ON 8TH DECEMBER 2014

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this timely event, “the first Annual West Africa Civil Society Conference” which is one of its kinds.

This event with the theme “STRATEGIZING FOR THE POST 2015 AND ECOWAS VISION 2020 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA FOR WEST AFRICA” is coming at no other better time than now that we are close to the MDG timeline which is just few months away. Despite the fact that the timeline to achieve these goals is near, a lot of them are yet to be accomplished in most regions especially in West African countries. This is why this conference is not only pertinent but is being organized at the most appropriate time to remind us that a lot have to be put in place in less than a year from now.

Obviously, collaboration on the post-2015 agenda in West Africa is weak and uncoordinated on a regional scale, and this is where WACSOF has got a role to play. Given its mandate and position as the West African regional focal point for civil, discourse on post-2015, it is exceptionally placed to promote civil society ownership and active involvement in pushing forward the new agenda.[1] There is increasing recognition of the need for West African civil society to work toward greater synergy to ensure coherent outcomes that reflect regional and continental priorities.

Civil society in West Africa is an essential part of the proper functioning of the state and possesses a wide range of knowledge, experience and expertise that could be of great benefit to states. By virtue of its flexible, multidimensional and non-rigid structure, it has the capability to adapt to rapid global changes, helping to initiate, promote and strengthen comprehensive and objective dialogue between governments and their people. In this way, civil society fosters conflict resolution, advances human rights and promotes better democratization processes. A strong West African civil society will contribute meaningfully to the successful design and implementation of development policies. However, in spite of its many advantages, civil society organizations (CSOs) are operating with serious challenges, some of which include low capacity to carry out their mandate fully, the lack of recognition and respect from governments and the unavailability of financial resources to develop innovative approaches to regional development challenges. All of this has deprived stakeholders of critical civil society perspectives and is ultimately stagnating regional development.

In light of the above, there is thus a strong case to be made for empowering Western African civil society through WACSOF to secure its place at the core of development in the region by creating a path towards political renewal and the deepening of democracy and good governance.

To address the numerous development challenges in the region, the West African Civil Society constituency represented by WACSOF in partnership with WACSI through the support of Commonwealth Foundation, collaborated to bring together civil society organizations, Institutions in Governance, Development Partners and other relevant stakeholders to strategize and design a Post 2015 regional development Agenda framework that will be mainstreamed into the ECOWAS regional development agenda.

The Objectives of this conference are as follows:

  • To institute an annual platform for CSO to discuss development issues;
  • To review CSOs participation in post-2015 and devise strategies to influence ongoing discourses at the regional level;
  • To discuss the strategies that civil society can use to effectively engage with ECOWAS  and the vision 2020 through WACSOF;
  • To highlight key capacity building areas to enable the effective engagement.

It is expected that at the end of the event,

  • A detailed report that captures the richness of debates on the various topics that will be discussed here, as well as the key aspects of the presentations and identified ways forward are made available;
  • Post-2015 and ECOWAS Vision 2020 Development Agenda Regional Strategy Interventions for Civil Societies to engage ECOWAS is developed;
  • Key capacity building areas and regional advocacy strategy for CSOs to effectively engage ECOWAS on post-2015 and ECOWAS Vision 2020 Development Agenda would have been identified.

We are optimistic that at the end of the conference, West African CSOs would be able to engage with ECOWAS, national governments and Development partners on the realisation of the ECOWAS vision 2020 and the Post 2015 Regional Development Agenda; also Local/regional issues identified by civil society would be reflected in the ECOWAS Development Agenda.

It is pertinent to note that WACSOF is seriously concerned in working with the governments of west Africa and ECOWAS in key areas of Democracy and Governance, Peace and Security, Migration and Freedom of Movement, Natural Resources and Economic Development, Agriculture and Food Security, Trade and Investment, Women and Gender, Regional and Continental integration, health, and Youth and Employment

We urge the national focal persons of ECOWAS in all its states to closely work with all the WACSOF national platforms in supporting the implementation of ECOWAS vision 2020, as we are committed to making sure that ECOWAS moves from ECOWAS of states to ECOWAS of the people.

The West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) as the official hub for the coordination and synergizing of West African civil society initiatives and activities, as well as the interface with the ECOWAS nomenclature and processes, will be delighted to continue to work with other regional organizations in creating enabling environment for civil society to engage effectively and constructively in the development of West Africa.

We call on all civil society groups to identify themselves with WACSOF’s national platforms in all the West African countries, to work towards greater synergy to ensure proper engagement with the ECOWAS Commission in achieving the vision 2020. Our vision is with the ultimate aim of facilitating building of  networks, promotion of solidarity, trust and reciprocity among CSOs such that they can better enhance the efforts of the ECOWAS towards fostering regional integration and development in West Africa.

We thank the Commonwealth Foundation for their support and urge them to continue to strengthen our engagement with the regional institution of ECOWAS by providing us with enabling support to effectively coordinate the civil society organizations in the region.

We also thank WACSI for its full support in organizing this conference, the Institute has been of immense backing in ensuring that this conference is a reality, we also thank other development partners, journalists here present, and all other participants for gracing this occasion.

We hope that next year we will gather again to evaluate the performance of our engagement.

Thank you and God bless you all.

CISLAC condemns Bloodshed of Innocent Citizens

Following the most recent bombardments leading to the death of innocent Nigerians in Kano, Adamawa and Borno States, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) seriously condemns the lackadaisical, selfish and nonchalant attitudes of Nigerian ruling class towards resolving the ongoing heightening insecurity in the country arising from attacks, kidnapping and bombardments.

It worrisome that despite the intensity of attacks in various parts of the country, the ruling class has refused to engage in constructive dialogue to bring end to insurgency; as their family members and relatives are excluded from the attacks. Instead of making sincere effort towards constructive dialogue, they are caught in various conspiracies to make live unbearable for innocent citizens. This among other things validates the reports that the attacks are reinforced by political battle triggered by continuous bloody struggles towards sustaining their miserable positions in 2015 and beyond.

In addition to the aforementioned, Former Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, and Former Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika who were indicted in Steven Davis’s report for sponsoring the insurgents are brazenly found in political reckoning and supported to deliberate on national issues. It is shameful that despite such serious indictment, the Former Governor is leading the front to campaign for the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP). This shows lack of sincerity by the government in fighting the insurgents.

CISLAC finds continuous massacre—under the pretense of religion, of innocent men, women and children from both Muslim and Christians’ communities totally obnoxious and undesirable; as both religious strongly forbade unjustified attacks against innocent individuals and preach peace and unity.

While in the last four years, huge financial resources are committed to security and defence annually from national budget, yet the fight against the insurgents rages on with deadly consequences. It is regrettable that the insecurity has been reportedly remained persistent and intensified by bloody interests accrued to some unpatriotic parties, who benefit largely from security vote; as well as rampant corrupt practice and mismanagement flooding the security sector.

It is embarrassing that in several occasions, the State Security Service has told Nigeria deceptive stories of thousands insurgent members it has arrested without useful information so far to curtail subsequent attacks; as well as lack of sincere effort to thoroughly investigate Sheriff and Ihejirika for their contributions towards the insecurity. Similarly, Nigerian security forces have made series of scandalous claims to have killed leader of the insurgents with his subsequent resurface in new videos.

Giving the daily massacres and destruction of property across the country by the insurgents, various reports are of opinion that upgrading arms and ammunition for the nation’s Armed Forces to tackle the insurgents would be of no benefit without constructive strategy to end the unwary attacks.

As concerned communities declared readiness by exploring the idea of Civil Joint Task Force to strategically brainstorm on the effective medium and collaborate with Nigerian security forces towards combating the insurgents, government has denied them adequate support to bring insurgency to an end.
Consequently, the communities remain the worst hit by attacks by insurgents.

Apart from being the victims of regular attacks, security personnel are not adequately equipped, fortified and compensated to curtail the attacks; and the degree of attacks by the insurgents have clearly indicated they are well positioned to be at advantage of the ongoing calamity.

While the Armed Forces groan in midst of poor working conditions and inadequate equipment, the Government has showed no appreciative effort to call to account the natural and artificial persons who have mismanaged various security contracts resulting in failure in national security

Meanwhile, the recurring nature of numerous attacks have rendered thousands homeless without means of livelihood to suffer a lot of depravity and other forms of hardship including loss of income from inability to work in places where they are relocated as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the country. The vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and the aged are persistently kept under trees and in uncompleted houses and left uncared for. Also, victims and communities of previous attacks have not been adequately compensated, rehabilitated nor reintegrated into their communities

RECOMMENDATIONS:

CISLAC therefore calls on National Assemble for prompt declaration of State of Emergency in Nigerian security sector; for the unresolved massacre of innocent citizens and mismanagement of national security vote. CISLAC calls on immediate support and intervention by international community into the ongoing mischievous and bloodshed of innocent citizens.

CISLAC demands immediate and patriotic efforts to recover and return the mismanaged and looted various security funds back to the treasury; thorough and exhaustive audit of defence spending since the return to civil rule in 1999 by National Assembly and other relevant stakeholders; constructive and sincere efforts by all levels of government and relevant stakeholders to strategically dialogue with the insurgent and bring the merciless attacks to an end; rapid provision of sufficient means of livelihood in terms of food supplies and medicine to mitigate the plights of internally displaced persons, especially women, children and the elderly.

Signed
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director, CISLAC