Invitation to CISLAC’s Side Event to the UN 59th Session on the Commission for the Status of Women

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) invites you to its 2nd Side Event during the UN 59th session on the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW), as part of its fulfillment of its mandate as an organisation with the UN ECOSOC status.

This year’s event is very important because CISLAC is collaborating with Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH) to promote civil society advocacy to government on Child and Family Health in Nigeria. Though the general theme for this year’s event borders on Implementing the Beijing Platform for Action in Africa, CISLAC intends to utilize this window of opportunity to explore certain underlying themes of the Beijing Platform as it relates to the health of women and children, which it believes when fully implemented will go a long way towards achieving the Beijing Platform for Action in Nigeria, specifically and generally in Africa.

PACFaH is a consortium of seven (7) indigenous non-governmental organizations in Nigeria working to address government of Nigeria’s reluctance to fulfill existing commitments on policies, budgets, and guidelines implementation of child and family health and also pushing for transparency and accountability in the budgetary processes on health.

This year’s event will feature panelists from different works of life addressing issues on family health, the implementation of the National Health Act, Post 2015 Agenda and women in leadership position and legislative roles on Beijing Platform for Action in Africa.

The itinerary below refers:

Theme:
“Post 2015 Agenda Imperative for Implementing the Beijing Platform for Action in Africa”

Date: Monday 16, 1015

Time: 6:15pm

Venue: 777 UN Plaza, 44 St by 1st Ave UN Quarters, NY 10017

For more information, contact: Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), on 202 651 1142 or Dr. Ada Okika, Coordinator Africana Women Working Group, on 516 943 3174.

Be assured of our warmest regards as you create time to attend.

Yours Sincerely,
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director,
CISLAC

A CALL TO ACTION PRESENTED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) AND INDICATED ACTION POINTS DURING ADVOCACY VISIT ON MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH TO LIBERTY RADIO AND TELEVISION, FREEDOM RADIO AND KADUNA STATE MEDIA CORPORATION IN KADUNA STATE ON 10TH AND 11TH MARCH, 2015.

Preamble

Since December 2013, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from MacArthur Foundation has been implementing series of activities in Kaduna State primarily to strengthen the capacity of relevant stakeholders—Legislature, Executives, Civil Society, and the Media in the State and interrogate issues around maternal and child health. Among such activities were CSOs-Legislative-Executive Roundtable on Maternal Health, Media Training for Legislative Reporters on Maternal Health and Town-Hall Meeting on Strengthening Existing MDGs Committee in the Kaduna State Assembly, Town-Hall Meeting on Understanding Legislative Oversight Function on Maternal Health organized between 11th – 12th and 21st – 22nd May 2014, respectively.

As part of the efforts to ensure relevant stakeholders are held accountable to their roles and responsibilities and take well-informed decisions in planning, policy formulation and domestication of National Health Act to provide for effective maternal and child health services in the State (as observed and recommended throughout the aforementioned engagements), CISLAC found it essential to further engage the media so as to sustain its existing tempo of advocacy. This primarily informed the decision by CISLAC to pay an advocacy visit to Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Liberty Radio and Television, Freedom Radio and Kaduna State Media Corporation in Kaduna State on 10th and 11th March, 2015. During the visits,
CISLAC made the following calls:

Call to Action to Kaduna State’s Legislature
• Workable collaboration among various stakeholders on health including members of the State House of Assembly, Executives, CSOs and Media to enable achievement on maternal health.
• Prompt domestication and implementation of the National Health Act by Kaduna State House of Assembly.
• Effective oversight of the State House of Assembly towards maternal and new born issues.
• Enhanced effort to build and sustain progress in human and women development particularly by the State House of Assembly.
• Increased oversight on budgetary allocation to social services with significant focus on maternal and child health.
• Proactive efforts by legislature, CSOs, media and various stakeholders to create well-informed citizens and violent-free society as a panacea for a sustainable delivery on maternal and child health.
• Development and implementation of robust legal framework on maternal and child health by the legislature; and increased legislative oversight to stem corrupt practices.
• Continuous training and retraining programmes to promote proactive legislature and enhance legislative capacity to identify developmental related issues affecting various committees.
• Strengthening working relationship among legislators, legislative aides and civil society in compliance to international standards on legislative practice.

Call to Action to Kaduna State’s Executives
• Adequate healthcare infrastructural facilities to restore human dignity, rights and provide accountability for maternal health; and massive recruitment of additional skilled health manpower.
• Effective implementation of the National Health Act for maximum benefit of the citizens.
• Adequate provision of medical facilities; judicious utilization of budgetary allocation to health sector; and full-fledged political commitment towards health care services in the state.
• Adequate supervision of various health facilities and Primary Healthcare Centres across the State.
• Focus attention of corporate social responsibility to support maternal health in the State; and enhanced government-private sector partnership to ensure effective delivery of existing facilities.
• Prompt efforts to boost human capital through enabling environment and enhance access to medical facilities.
• Adequate incentives to medical personnel, especially at grassroot level to discourage continuous migration of health workers from rural to urban areas.
• Adequate remuneration and rewards for civil servants to avert unnecessary administrative delay in delivery on maternal health.
Call to Action to Kaduna State’s Civil Society
• Massive advocacy for effective utilization of available resources, using Freedom of Information Act to engage relevant stakeholders, and encouraged self-sustained citizens in the State.
• Well-informed citizens with enhanced interest to properly understand and effectively utilize the national constitution in engaging policy makers and hold them accountable to their mandates.
• Committed efforts by communities in collaboration with legislature and other policy makers to demand accountability on the provision sustainable maternal health facilities.
• Good governance, independent and effective judiciary, people-oriented legislature and evidence based CSOs to achieve transparency and accountability health sector.

Call to Action to Kaduna State Media
• Aggressive and sustainable public sensitization and awareness programmes among the people, especially women on maternal health care.
• Increased focus on social media to drive health related reportage; and integration of the various media into a common platform.
• Effective media reportage, publicity and support on CSOs-Legislative related activities on maternal health as a catalyst to create well-informed society.
• Well-informed media reportage and investigative journalism on health related matters.
• Aggressive demand by the media for continuous political commitment, transparency and accountability in the health sector; and developmental journalism using the provision of Freedom of Information Act.
• Increased media and social media familiarity to budgetary advocacy and engagement on maternal health
• Continuous demand by the media from the State’s Executives for equipped Primary and Secondary health facilities to provide comprehensive medical attentions, especially at grassroots level.
• Enhanced synergy between legislature and the executive through joint sessions to promote coordination for sustainable budgetary allocations to key development sectors.

Action Points by CISLAC, the CEOs of Liberty Radio and Television, Freedom Radio and Kaduna State Media Corporation:
After presentation of the Call for Action by CISLAC, the CEOs of Liberty Radio and Television, Freedom Radio and Kaduna State Media Corporation agreed as follows:
• Established working collaboration with CISLAC to further enhance and sustain advocacy and sensitization towards maternal and child health in the state.
• Agreed that Liberty Radio and Television, and Freedom Radio shall further intensify advocacy for the domestication of National Health Act and ensure well-informed citizens to effectively utilize the Act to demand accountability on maternal and child health.
• Liberty Radio volunteered to provide CISLAC with enabling platform to further engage policy and legislation on maternal and child health, using existing programmes such as ‘Health Matter’, ‘Likita Liberty’ (in Hausa language), ‘Chiwom Harmodari’ (in Hausa language), ‘Following the Means’, ‘Frontline’ and one-off programme on issues and events.
• Liberty Radio offered CISLAC with platform for persistent advocacy on adequate budgetary allocation and effective implementation on health by the State government, with special invitation to Executive Director of CISLAC to come up and open the discussion on Radio and Television Programme as related to policy and legislation on maternal and child health.
• In order to effectively cement the new partnership, Liberty Radio and Television shall table all issues discussed and agreed before Chairman of Atar Communications Nigeria Limited (which comprises Liberty Radio and Television).
• They declared readiness to support CISLAC and ensure the partnership intensified for the better interest of the public.
• Kaduna State Media Corporation commended CISLAC for its commitment towards ensuring effective maternal and child health; and invited CISLAC to promptly utilize its existing programmes on health such as ‘Health is Wealth’ (English), ‘Lafiyan ka Jarinka’ (Hausa), ‘What’s Up’ (English), ‘Hantsi Health Segment’ on Tuesday and ‘Top of the Day Health Segment’ on Wednesday to further galvanize issues on maternal and child health in the state.
• In fulfillment in part of their commitments, Freedom Radio instantly provided CISLAC with free 30 minutes radio airtime on Wednesday; Liberty Television, 30 minutes free appearance on Tuesday; and Kaduna State Media Corporation proposed free appearance in both radio and television to communicate and sensitize the stakeholders about its findings and recommendations from various engagements on maternal and child health so far in Kaduna State.

DECLARATION OF ACTION AFTER A ONE DAY COMMUNITY TOWN HALL MEETING ON PEACEFUL ELECTIONS ORGANIZED BY THE CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) IN COLLABORATION WITH INSTITUTE FOR PEACE AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION (IPCR) WITH SUPPORT FROM NIGERIA STABILITY AND RECONCILIATION PROGRAM HELD IN BWARI, BWARI AREA COUNCIL ON THE 12th DAY OF MARCH, 2015

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)) in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) with support from Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Program ((NSRP) held a One Day Town Hall meeting on Peaceful Elections in Abaji Area Council, FCT. The Town Hall Meeting was attended by HRH. The Emir of Bwari, Political Parties, Nigeria Police Force, IPCR, Okada Riders Association, Teachers, Union of Road Transport Workers, Clergy Men, Traditional Heads, Artisans, Community influence and opinion Leaders, Council Officials, Youth Groups, Market Women Associations, Students and Community Based Organizations. After exhaustive deliberations on the aim of the Town Hall which is to ensure non-violence elections before, during and after the elections. We, the participants:

Recognize Education and Information remains the very critical instrument to avoid peer pressure and persuasion that often leads to violence as the cloth of unity the country has enjoyed for years is dislocated by the falling standard to civic education.

Also Recognize The need for electorates to observe laid down voting processes such as staying away from the polling units when not in possession of a PVC or name(s) not on register, stay 50 meters away from the polling unit after accreditation, stay patient and observe technology compliance with card readers and finally, there is no need to go the polling unit with any sharp object or weapon.
Express our Deep Concern over the attitude of politicians causing confusion at polling units by sharing money, convincing and confusing orderliness on the queue or threatening electorates to vote for a particular candidate or face attacks in their homes.

Note conflict in Nigeria has brewed owing to huge injustice in the society, inequality and mostly non implementation of white paper reports of reconciliation committees set up by the government such as the Lemu report. The need therefore to build the nexus between governance and elections.

Also Note Violence undermines individual and social development weakens the Strengthening democratic institutions and full participation in the development process.

Further Note the need to address the sharp division of followership of most political parties along the fault lines of ethnicity, religion and regionalism using the Abuja Peace Accord as a tool. This motivation must be countered by all stakeholders’ particularly traditional rulers.

We Commit that all political parties, religious leaders and traditional chiefs as well as security agencies will be noble and adhere to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, cultural diversity, dialogue and understanding at all levels of society and among people irrespective of their political affiliations.

We Affirm that our youth will be the vanguard for our peaceful coexistence in the community and amongst the people of Nigeria as they remain most vulnerable in the peace process and they have the zeal, drive and energy to preach peace in all localities including homes, places of worships, markets, motor parks, tribal town meetings even beyond the elections.

We Endorse peaceful elections and ask all youth within the community and the capital and Nigeria at large to Vote for Peace and report any form and/or act of perceived violence to the ward or traditional head, Police Station or Civil defense offices closest.

Will ensure that Bwari Area Council and the surrounding communities does not record any incidence of violence as proper civic education will be carried out for peaceful electoral participation.

Shall Effectively set up a group known and shall be referred to as Partnership Against Electoral Violence to engage all stakeholders and monitor events and provide any early warning.

Will Support any peace project that enables people at all levels to develop skills of dialogue, negotiation, consensus building and peaceful resolution of differences long after the 2015 general elections.

Agreed to Vote for Peace and make contribution no matter how little to drill down peace and security beyond 2015 elections.

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

Alh. Danbaba Ango
Madakin Bwari
Bwari Traditional Ruling Council
Bwari Area Council,
Abuja

Hon. Chief Anyiam Ugona
Chairman, Igbo Community
Bwari Area Council
Bwari
Abuja

A.G. Mohammed
Chairman, Yoruba Community
Bwari Area Council
Bwari
Abuja
Saleh Gambo
Chief of Hausa Community
Bwari Area Council
Bwari
Abuja

ASP M.K. Kudu
Rep: Divisional Police Officer
Nigeria Police Force
Bwari
Abuja

Hon. Folorunsho Olushola Emmanuel
All Progressive Congress
Bwari Area Council
Bwari
Abuja

Communiqué Issued at the end of the South-East Zonal Consultation on the Draft National Policy on Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria Organized by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with Support from the Ford Foundation Held at Bayview Resort & Hotels Limited, Enugu State on the 26th of February 2015.

Preamble

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a zonal consultation in South East Nigeria on the draft National Policy on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria with support from the Ford Foundation. The Consultation which targeted stakeholders working across diverse sectors including the Government, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in humanitarian assistance and the media drew over 30 participants from the 5 South Eastern states in Nigeria.

The Zonal Consultation which was organized to create awareness and sensitization on the need for the adoption of the existing draft policy on IDPs in Nigeria also served as a capacity building platform for Civil Society Organizations on their roles during implementation stages of the policy. Upon exhaustive deliberations, the following observations and recommendations were made:

Observations
1. That the non-adoption of the policy on IDPs continues to be a major source of worry and concern as disaster management and humanitarian assistance are tackled on a rather ad-hoc basis without any coordinating/ legally binding government policy.
2. The non-adoption of the policy on IDPs leaves Nigeria lagging behind in activating all legal instruments for effective implementation of the Kampala Convention which the country has been a signatory to since 2012
3. An implementation strategy had not so far been included in the draft policy
4. That the rate of displacement of persons across the country is on an astronomical rise with the major cause being violence conflicts.
5. That the Draft Policy does not succinctly reflect the position of the displacement issues as the situations on ground appear more dire than they have been captured, especially grammatically as the language is on one hand is not user-friendly and also ambiguous hence unable to convey in very clear terms certain issues and abuses.
6. The Land Use Act which specifies that Government is the legitimate owner of all lands runs contrary to the rights of those that have been displaced as a result of developmental projects across the country
7. That the roles of security agencies in the Camps appear overlapping and ambiguous.
8. Certain Rights of IDPs have not been adequately captured in the draft policy.
9. That Host Communities are seemingly not adequately captured by the Draft Policy
10. Availability of comprehensive data relating to IDPs makes for very challenging intervention for humanitarian assistance and intervention during displacement.
11. That the National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons has in recent times not lived up to its mandate.

Recommendations
1. The Federal Government mandates all of the relevant agencies working on the Draft Policy to accelerate their inputs and present same to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for immediate adoption.
2. That the Federal Government also activates all necessary machineries for the presentation of a Bill to the National Assembly which will be in compliance to the Kampala Convention which the Federal Government signed unto.
3. The need to develop and include a strategy for implementing the policy when adopted as this will go a long way in effective implementation and assigning responsibilities and activities in the policy.
4. All security agencies responsible for the security of lives and properties of the citizens of the country scale up institutional capacities to respond to emergencies in times of violent conflicts and environmentally induced displacements.
5. Finalization to the Policy should include stronger wordings to put the issue of displacement in better perspective as it relates to country specifics and also elimination of all grammatical inconsistencies as noticed in the draft.
6. Persons who are displaced as a result of government developmental projects in any part of the country be regarded as IDPs, and should be resettled and compensated adequately irrespective of the provisions of the Land Use Act.
7. That the roles and responsibilities of the security agencies in the Camps be duly specified, eliminating over-lapping responsibilities of agencies of the government, international and locally based humanitarian actors.
8. Rights pertaining to political participation, freedoms and full integration of IDPs, especially women and other marginalized groups be immediately incorporated into the policy before adoption
9. Consideration of culture be adequately captured, taking into necessary account the need for assistance to Host Communities/Families as majority of IDPs frown at residing in Camps which puts pressure on Host Communities/Families.
10. Data relating to IDPs figures and geographical occurrences be adequately captured by agencies vested with these responsibilities void of politically induced influences
11. That the National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons be adequately strengthened to take charge of IDPs beyond emergency situations including reintegration and provision of durable solutions

Conclusion
At the end of the meeting, participants expressed their appreciation to CISLAC for taken the lead in pushing for the adoption of such an important policy in the country which will go a long way in coordinating the welfare of all IDPs when adopted. They also expressed gratitude to the Ford Foundation for providing the needed support towards ensuring that the consultation was not just a reality but also worth the while. Identifying gaps in the draft policy and strategies for a successful implementation upon adoption by the Federal Government, participants urged the Federal Government to not just speedy the adoption of the policy but also strengthen all the relevant institutions that have a role in its effective implementation, charging the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to take a lead in pushing for the adoption of the policy, participants also tasked CSOs especially those in the South East to ensure they put into use knowledge gained during the meeting.
Signed
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director
CISLAC

Barrister Uche Nwokocha
Zonal Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
South East Zonal Office

Mike Ubani
Leadership Newspapers

Prince Chris Azor
Executive Director
International Peace and Civic Responsibilities Centre

CISLAC, others at UN stage a Demonstration for Gender Equality and Chibok Girls

By Chioma B. Kanu CISLAC from New York

Every 8th of March, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. This year’s event commemorates the 20 year anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The epoch event was organized by UN Women in collaboration with the City of New York, NGO-CSW, the Working Group on Girls, the Man up Campaign and the UN Women for Peace Association.

This particular day witnessed a clement weather that enabled thousands of women, girls, youths, boys and men, March for Gender equality and Women’s Rights. Nigerian representatives consisting of civil society groups represented by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and other activists, by name: Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Chioma Blessing Kanu, Dr. Ada Okika, Edith Begoma, Musa Freedom- freelancer for Sahara Reporters, Yuwa Aladeselu, and Victoria Nwogu (who came in to show solidarity to the Nigerian plight), strategically positioned themselves at the fore front of the procession with placards reading Bring Back Our Girls and Chibok Girls On Our Minds, chanting Bring Back Our Girl Alive Now!!!. This chant suddenly became popular among the procession who all gathered with different messages and materials for campaigns on gender equality. Indeed at a point everybody began to chorus Bring Back Our Girls! It dawned on us that the BBOG campaign has taken such a global dimension that the whole world relates to.

The march which was supposed to start from the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza and terminate at the Times Square was met by highly enthusiastic mammoth crowd that continued the march even a little after Times Square. The event was heralded by highly notable dignitaries such as: the UN Women Executive Director, Ambassador Gertrude Mongella, First Lady of New York City, the Mayor of New York City, Special Assistant to the UN Secretary General- Banki Moon- Hajiya Amina J. Mohammed, President of the NGO-CSW, His Excellency, Minister for Gender Equality and Women Issues- Denmark, Representative of the board of UN Women for Peace Association, Dame Josephine Anenih, Dr. Charmaine Perera, Mojubaolu Okome, Bisi Olateru-Olagbegi among many others.

The dignitaries were allotted few minutes to address the crowd at the end of the march. The President of NGO-CSW Forum went back the memory lane 20 years ago on the NGO forum that brought about the Beijing platform and some civil rights issues it stood to address. She remarked that this event is the largest gathering of women’s movement in the UN ever. She informed all, albeit superstitiously, that the good news in the entire event this year is that by the Chinese calendar, the year 2015 represents the year of the “sheep”, that means a year of good fortune and an era of active powerful force for peace for all women.

The representative of the “He 4 She Champion”, in his remarkable speech reminded all the purpose for the gathering which is to demand equality for women, in history today being 8th of March, 2015. He questioned what the future will hold for his younger sister and asked if his generation will be among that generation that will continue to keep her in bondage or the one to set her free? He requested that the world reject the myth of past generations and embrace equality for women and girls. His slogan – “no more will I accept political inequality” was welcomed with a resounding “No More!” by the crowd. He remarked that women’s bondage and freedom are his concern and his generation will rally with them and bend her history.

The teeming crowd was urged by Hajiya Amina J. Mohammed to cease the moment and not to allow another century slide away. She recognized that 2 millennium has been wasted already and many lives have been lost in the process. She further recognized the lapses of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and reiterated that it is for this purpose that the march for gender equality was borne. She further pointed out the staggering global statistics on violence against women but hopefully urged all present to spread the word that gender equality and planet 50-50 by 2030 is possible.

The Minister for Gender Equality and Women Issues, Denmark, remarked that though a lot of progress has been made over the years for gender equality, we need to fight some more and fight together so that men and women can enjoy equal rights. He imagined a world where equal access, no discrimination to women, freedom to decide freely over their own bodies, becomes the order of the day. He further closed his speech with this sentence, “the future is ours and together we can change the world, together we can fulfill our dreams.”

The UN Women march for gender equality was a huge success, every participant made it worthwhile; the New York Police Department (NYPD) also coordinated the crowd and the traffic in such a way as to avoid chaos. Most importantly, the cry for help for Chibok Girls was heard chanted by men, women and girls across the globe!

For the Nigerian activists and civil society group listed above, the turning point in this year’s International Women’s Day, was that singular opportunity to project the plight of Chibok Girls on the front burner of the UN Women March for Gender Equality; presenting this once again as a global human rights issue, which dimension it has assumed!

DECLARATION OF ACTION AFTER A ONE DAY COMMUNITY TOWN HALL MEETING ON PEACEFUL ELECTIONS ORGANIZED BY THE CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) IN COLLABORATION WITH INSTITUTE FOR PEACE AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION (IPCR) WITH SUPPORT FROM NIGERIA STABILITY AND RECONCILIATION PROGRAM HELD IN ABAJI, ABAJI AREA COUNCIL ON THE 5th DAY OF MARCH, 2015

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)) in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) with support from Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Program ((NSRP) held a One Day Town Hall meeting on Peaceful Elections in Abaji Area Council, FCT. The Town Hall Meeting was attended by HRH. ONAH of Abaji, Alh. Dr. Baba Yunusa, Political Parties, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. Federal Road Safety Commission, Peace Corp of Nigeria, Union of Road Transport Workers, Clergy Men, Traditional Heads, Artisans, Community influence and opinion Leaders, Council Officials, Youth Groups, Market Women Associations, Students and Community Based Organizations.
After exhaustive deliberations on the aim of the Town Hall which is to ensure non-violence elections before, during and after the elections. We, the participants:

Recognize That there is no alternative to peace and all stakeholders have crucial roles to play towards ensuring the sustenance of peace and development in the country. The absence of peace on the other hand breeds division, disharmony and retrogressive society.

Also Recognize The need to look deeper into the question of the ideal number of ‘major’ political parties in a plural and polarized society like Nigeria as the dagger –throat campaign between APC and PDP and the resulting tension has again strengthen more political parties as an avenue to reduce conflict.
Express our Deep Concern about the continuous exploitation of Nigerians by political actors using religion, ethnicity and regionalism as a mask for societal resources and privileges which has over the years influenced political power and entrenched injustice.

Note that Nigeria will win the 2015 general elections as positivist have looked more closely at the unifying factors of electioneering where cultures, traditions and close allies are built across the Niger as a major strength that can be leveraged on even beyond the elections.

Also Note Violence undermines individual and social development weakens the Strengthening democratic institutions and full participation in the development process.
Further Note the need to address the sharp division of followership of most political parties along the fault lines of ethnicity, religion and regionalism using the Abuja Peace Accord as a tool. This motivation must be countered by all stakeholders’ particularly traditional rulers.

We Commit that all political parties, religious leaders and traditional chiefs as well as security agencies will be noble and adhere to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, cultural diversity, dialogue and understanding at all levels of society and among people irrespective of their political affiliations.

We Affirm that our youth will be the vanguard for our peaceful coexistence in the community and amongst the people of Nigeria as they remain most vulnerable in the peace process and they have the zeal, drive and energy to preach peace in all localities including homes, places of worships, markets, motor parks, tribal town meetings even beyond the elections.

We Endorse peaceful elections and ask all youth within the community and the capital and Nigeria at large to Vote for Peace and report any form and/or act of perceived violence to the ward or traditional head, Police Station or Civil defense offices closest.

Will ensure that Abaji Area Council and the surrounding communities does not record any incidence of violence as proper civic education will be carried out for peaceful electoral participation.
Shall Effectively set up a group known and shall be referred to as Partnership Against Electoral Violence to engage all stakeholders and monitor events and provide any early warning.

Will Support any peace project that enables people at all levels to develop skills of dialogue, negotiation, consensus building and peaceful resolution of differences long after the 2015 general elections.

Agreed to Vote for Peace and make contribution no matter how little to drill down peace and security beyond 2015 elections.

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

Alh. (Dr.) Baba Yunusa
Onah of Abaji
Chairman, Abuja Traditional Ruling Council
Abaji Area Council,
Abuja

Umar Abdullahi
Islamic Clergy
Abaji Area Council
Abaji
Abuja

Olanrewaju Kayode
Unit Command
Abaji Area Council
Abaji
Abuja
Banke Mojisola
Christain Association of Nigeria
Abaji Area Council
Abaji Abuja
Olanrewaju Kayode
Unit Command
Abaji Area Council
Abaji
Abuja
Alhassan Mohammed
All Progressive Congress
Abaji Area Council
Abaji
Abuja

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AFTER A ONE-DAY MEDIA STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP FOR CSOs (PACFAH) AND MEDIA ORGANISED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) IN COLLABORATION WITH PARTNERSHIP FOR ADVOCACY IN CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH IN NIGERIA (PACFaH) HELD AT BOLTON WHITE HOTEL, AREA 11 GARKI – ABUJA ON 2ND MARCH, 2015.

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in collaboration with other Civil Society Organisations under the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health in Nigeria (PACFaH) organized a One-day Media Strategy Development Workshop for CSOs (PACFaH) and Media. The workshop was facilitated by Mallam Umar Tundunwada, the General Manager, Freedom Radio Group; while Dr. Muhammad Saleh, Director of PACFaH presented an overview of PACFaH Project. Participants of the workshop were drawn from the seven PACFaH partners and representative of the following media groups: Thisday, Guardian, Peoples Daily, National Mirror, Daily Trust, Today FM Port Harcourt, Health Reporters. After brainstorming exhaustively on various thematic issues, the participants observed and recommended as follow:

1. As media remains a key component in galvanizing efforts towards achieving effective child and family health in Nigeria, it has become imperative for PACFaH to partner with the media in evidence-based advocacy to hold governments accountable on their commitments on increasing budgetary allocation and expenditure, enacting policies and guidelines in support of Child and Family Health in Nigeria.

2. Although media has the traditional role to inform, educate, entertain and enlighten, it has not met its responsibility towards interrogating issues of national importance such as budget tracking and human rights, proactive collaboration with CSOs, and investigative journalism to effectively interrogate issues affecting child and family health in Nigeria.

3. Ineffective communication strategies used by CSOs such as unfamiliar acronyms, lack of focus on human angle, persistent use of professional and technical jargons, amongst others hinder effective media participation.

4. The commercialization of the media has adversely affected its performance such that issues of public interest are not getting the required priority attention.

5. Lack of media inclusion in CSOs programmes plan to provide for resources to engage the media in advancing issues on child and family health.

RECOMMENDATIONS
The participants therefore recommend the following:

1. Building effective and reliable working relationship with the media, and promoting child and family health coalition of journalists.

2. Enhanced media capacity to effectively conduct investigative journalism and galvanize advocacy in child and family health in Nigeria.

3. Ensuring issue-focused advocacy, impact emphasis, simplicity in communication, appropriate language and terms, and avoid needless professional and technical Jargons in crafting message for the media.

4. Planning programmes and activities in accordance with the rules of engagement, and mapping of related media to help to enhance and sustain CSOs’ advocacy on child and family health.

5. Jointly develop a costed media strategy to promote child and family health.

6. Promote investigative journalism on critical child and family health issues such as budget tracking.

CONCLUSION
The participants expressed their appreciation to CISLAC for convening the workshop and PACFaH for providing the support to this all important program channeled towards enhancing CSOs-media understanding on Child and Family Health as well as increased knowledge amongst stakeholders. Participants noted that the engagement was revealing and indeed an opportunity to begin to create bigger conversation amongst stakeholders to provide for effective Child and Family Health in Nigeria.

Signed:
1. Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director of CISLAC
2. Abdul Ibrahim
Program Officer, Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN)
3. Edwin Akpotor
Program Officer, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN)

CISLAC’s CALL FOR ACTION ON MATERNAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN KANO STATE

CALL FOR ACTION

A CALL FOR ACTION PRESENTED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) DURING ADVOCACY VISIT ON MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH TO FREEDOM RADIO AND RADIO DEUTSCHE WELLE IN KANO STATE ON 11TH FEBRUARY, 2015

In the last 14 months, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from MacArthur Foundation has been implementing series of activities in Kano State primarily to strengthen the capacity of relevant stakeholders—Legislature, Executives, Civil Society, and the Media in the State and interrogate issues around maternal and child health. Among such activities were CSOs-Legislative-Executive Roundtable on Maternal Health, Media Training for Legislative Reporters on Maternal Health and Town-Hall Meeting on Strengthening Existing MDGs Committee in the Kano State House of Assembly, Town-Hall Meeting on Understanding Legislative Oversight Function on Maternal Health organized between 19th-20th December, 2013 and 12th-13th June, 2014, respectively.

As part of the efforts to ensure relevant stakeholders are held accountable to their roles and responsibilities and take well-informed decisions in planning, policy formulation and domestication of National Health Act to provide for effective maternal and child health services in the State (as observed and recommended throughout the aforementioned engagements), CISLAC found it essential to further engage the media so as to sustain its existing tempo of advocacy. This primarily informed the decision by CISLAC to pay an advocacy visit to Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Freedom Radio and Radio Deutsche Welle in Kano State on 11th February, 2015. During the visits, CISLAC made the following calls:

Call for Action to Kano State House of Assembly
• Increased resources and budgetary allocation to health sector; and full-fledged political commitment towards effective implementation of various charters on health care services in the State.
• Prompt domestication and implementation of the National Health Act to provide for effective maternal and child healthcare services in the State.
• Effective citizens’ participatory and inclusiveness in legal framework to drive maternal accountability in the State.
• Training and retraining programmes for the State’s legislators on their roles and responsibilities towards maternal accountability.
• Joint advocacy, monitoring, public hearings and sponsorship among various committees of Kano State House of Assembly to fast-track the domestication of National Health Act as well as joint executive-legislative working sessions to ensure effective implementation of relevant provisions in the Act to provide for workable maternal healthcare services.
• Development of common strategies and plan of action on maternal accountability across relevant committees in the Kano State House of Assembly.

Call for Action to Kano State’s Executives
• Judicious utilization of existing resources allocated to the health sector.
• Adequate healthcare facilities to restore human dignity, rights and provide accountability for maternal health; and massive recruitment and deployment of additional skilled health manpower to the grassroots.
• Workable collaboration and sustainable partnership among Governments, CSOs, development partners and various stakeholders on public education and enlightenment on maternal health services with adequate capacity building for healthcare providers in the State.
• Strengthening existing Primary Health Centres and promote sustainable Safe Motherhood Programmes in the State.
• Sustained Facility Health Committees to oversee the operation of local health facilities; and focus attention and emphasis by various stakeholders on preventive and curative health systems.
• Massive public enlightenment and knowledge sharing on Danger Signs, Safe Delivery Plan, Emergency Transport Scheme, Savings and blood donation for pregnant mothers.
• Adequate structures and processes to promote functionality of Safe Motherhood Initiatives.
• Proper individual orientation towards health services and strict compliance by health workers to medical code of ethics.
• Well-informed individual, proper orientation and commitment towards maternal health services in the State.
• Adequate training and retraining programmes for various Committees supervising maternal health services in the State.

Call for Action to Kano State’s Civil Society
• Accountable, self-sustained, articulated, skillful and objective focused CSOs using Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to promote maternal accountability in the State.
• Well-informed citizens, increased girl child school enrolment and proper orientation to improve women attendance, participation and access to maternal health services in the State.
• Prompt engagement and involvement of various traditional rulers, community and religious leaders to accelerate community participation towards maternal health services in the State.
• Common data based advocacy on health by CSOs with particular reference to the State Ministry of Health.
• Constructive advocacy by civil society to hold policy makers accountable to their roles and responsibilities on maternal health.

Call for Action to Kano State Media
• Increased focus on social media to promote maternal mortality related reportage; and integration of the various media into a common platform.
• Effective use of social media as a medium of legislative-executive advocacy, awareness, public enlightenment and to drive citizenry participation on maternal health reportage in the State.
• Evidence-based, research-oriented, committed and investigative journalism to promote maternal health related matters in the State.
• Well-informed media on the use of newly emerged Information Communication and Technology (ICT) reporting tools to enhance reportage on maternal accountability, especially in the grassroots.
• Adequate media reportage, intervention and awareness on socio-cultural related matters on maternal health in the State.
• Adequate media reportage on non-existence of maternal mortality database in the State; and radical demand by the media from the State House of Assembly, necessary information on maternal related challenges using Freedom of Information Act (FOI).
• Constructive collaboration and synergy among CSOs and the media on maternal accountability; and well paid legislative journalism in the State.
• Drastic media reportage on budgetary allocation and resource utilization on health services; and aggressive public sensitization and awareness by the media on maternal accountability in the State.
• Renowned syndicate media reportage and continuous involvement of the various key stakeholders on maternal accountability in the State.

Action Points by Freedom Radio and Radio Deutsche Welle

After presentation of the Call for Action by CISLAC, the CEOs of Freedom Radio and Radio Deutsche Welle:
• Committed to promptly utilize the stations’ existing programmes on health to support and broadcast various issues affecting maternal accountability raised by CISLAC.
• Endorsed strengthening collaboration with CISLAC in its ongoing advocacy towards achieving maternal accountability in the State.
• Supported and validated the facts presented by CISLAC based on similar findings by the stations across the State, and pledged commitment to uphold various recommendations submitted.
• Reiterated that the Freedom Radio had championed many changes through awareness and sensitization on health, and such spirited effort would be deployed to promote maternal accountability in the State.
• Affirmed that stations shall deploy their vast experience and human resource in supporting subsequent related activities by CISLAC in the State.

CISLAC’s CALL FOR ACTION ON MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH IN KATSINA STATE

CALL FOR ACTION

A CALL FOR ACTION PRESENTED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) DURING ADVOCACY VISIT ON MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH TO KATSINA STATE RADIO SERVICE AND VOICE OF AMERICA RADIO ON 6TH FEBRUARY, 2015

Since January 2014, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from MacArthur Foundation has been implementing series of activities in Katsina State primarily to strengthen the capacity of relevant stakeholders—Legislature, Executives, Civil Society, and the Media in the State and interrogate issues around maternal and child health. Among such activities were CSOs-Legislative-Executive Roundtable on Maternal Health, Media Training for Legislative Reporters on Maternal Health and Town-Hall Meeting on Strengthening Existing MDGs Committee in the Katsina State Assembly, Town-Hall Meeting on Understanding Legislative Oversight Function on Maternal Health organized between 22nd-23rd January, 2014 and 7th-8th May, 2014.

As part of the efforts to ensure relevant stakeholders are held accountable to their roles and responsibilities and take well-informed decisions in planning, policy formulation and domestication of National Health Act to provide for effective maternal and child health services in the State (as observed and recommended throughout the aforementioned engagements), CISLAC found it essential to further engage the media so as to sustain its existing tempo of advocacy. This primarily informed the decision by CISLAC to pay an advocacy visit to Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Katsina State Radio Service and Voice of America Radio on 6th February, 2015. During the visits, CISLAC made the following calls:

Call for Action to Katsina State’s Legislature
• Effective political commitment and intensified legislative oversight towards health sector in the State.
• Increased in budgetary allocation, supervision and transparency toward the health sector; and intensified focus on preventive rather than curative measures on maternal mortality.
• Effective domestication and implementation of National Health Act to provide for realistic and sustainable maternal and child health services in the State.
• Increased legislative oversight and supervision to ensure proper professional codes of conduct by medical personnel in the State; and constructive collaboration among CSOs, executives and legislators on effective maternal accountability.

Call for Action to Katsina State’s Executives
• Massive recruitment of medically trained personnel to strengthen the existing medical attendance; and provision of training and re-training programmes on maternal health for medical personnel in the State.
• Provision of sufficient infrastructural facilities, especially at the grassroots to combat maternal and infant mortality across the State.
• Provision of adequate security measures to tackle theft and sabotage on the State’s infrastructural facilities, especially in the grassroots.
• Radical sensitization campaign, advocacy and public awareness programmes to drive positive individual orientation towards maternal health services across the State.
• Strengthen Primary Healthcare System, judicious utilization of existing resources and workable implementation of health related policies across the State.
• Effective and judicious utilization of the existing local resources to cater for sufficient maternal healthcare service in the State.

Call for Action to Katsina State’s Civil Society
• Provision of adequate and accurate data on budgetary allocation to health sector and maternal mortality across the state to assist government and development partners interventions toward maternal health services.
• Continuous demand for gender equality in policy and decision making; and enhanced public involvement and participation in budgetary process.

Call for Action to Katsina State Media
• Objective focused and de-normalised media reportage to influence advocacy and participation on maternal health across the grassroots.
• Well-informed and evidence-based media to generate factual data and reportage on maternal health in the State.
• Effective use of socio-media as a tool to enhance media reportage, audience interactivity and accessibility, and feedback on maternal health.
• Investigative journalism, qualitative, informative and educative, reportage to drive individual attention towards local media reportage.
• Strengthened media reportage on maternal health using new reliable and developmental platforms.
• Persistent and expanded media coverage and reportage on maternal health; and increased in political oversights on proper codes of conduct by medical personnel in the State.
• Massive and sustainable public awareness and sensitization to drive individual positive orientation maternal health across the grassroots with significant consideration for religion and traditional leaders.
• Increased in media curiosity towards reportage and supervision on budgetary allocation and implementation in the health sector.
• Effective utilisation of the existing data sources to validate media reportage on maternal health; and increase surveillance by reporters on the existing health facilities in the State.

Action Points by Katsina State Radio Service and Voice of America Radio
After presentation of the Call for Action by CISLAC, the CEOs of Katsina State Radio Service and Voice of America Radio:
• Found it very essential to prioritize issues around maternal and child health using the stations’ existing programs on health.
• Committed to strengthen collaboration with CISLAC and other relevant stakeholders towards galvanizing public sensitization and advocacy on issues affecting maternal and child health in the State.
• Affirmed continuous support for CISLAC’s ongoing advocacy towards achieving maternal accountability in the State.
• Supported the motion by Voice of America Radio Service to immediately interrogate and broadcast issues around maternal health, especial across the grassroots.
• Demanded that CISLAC utilize the existing health platforms by the stations to sustain its ongoing advocacy on maternal accountability in the State.

Transparency International calls on Nigeria to ensure delayed elections take place

Transparency International is concerned that the delay in elections in Nigeria threatens the people’s right to vote and undermines democracy in the country and calls on the government to ensure not only safety for voters at the polls but that they go ahead without more delays.

The government called on the Independent Nigerian Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the elections, claiming that the army was not in a position to guarantee security in the face of insurgents in the north east. INEC has set a new date of 28 March.

“Candidates for all parties have been successfully campaigning in some of the regions where insurgents are known to operate. Clearly the safety of Nigerians comes first and foremost but the government should also ensure that elections are held on time, are transparent and are free from fraud,” said José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International.

Under the Nigerian constitution, the current term of government expires on 29 May and elections must happen at least one month prior to this date. The government must commit to this timetable.

It is unclear whether a six weeks’ delay will help the Nigerian army combat the threat from extremist groups such as Boko Haram, which it has been trying to stop for several years. It is imperative that any delay in the election is clearly justified to avert suspicion that the government is simply seeking to hold on to power.

“The government must also ensure that there is no political intimidation and no arrests during the run up to the polls that would trigger violence. Most of eligible voters now have their new election cards, which will make attempts to rig the voting much harder than in the past,” said Ugaz.