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PRESS STATEMENT: JOURNALISTS FACE FRESH THREAT REPORTING CONFLICT, SAYS MEDIA GROUP

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Buhari

ETHNIC CRISIS: JOURNALISTS AGAIN WARN OF REPRISAL ATTACKS, ASKS FG TO ACT

The Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER has again cautioned the Federal Government to beware of the prospect of a string of reprisal attacks following the incidence at Ile-Ife where scores of people died, the killings in Benue State and the ethnic violence in Enugu State.

JODER advised the Nigerian authorities to launch a massive campaign for Amnesty as barter for the retrieval of arms in the hands of non-state actors. It said proliferation of arms in Nigerian has been compounded by the conflict in the Maghreb region and the Middle belt, lack of firm institutional response, corruption and a weak immigration policy framework which has made Nigeria a country without borders.

The media rights group in a statement on Friday signed by Assistant Programme Officer, Akinwale Kasali raised the risk of some organized armed groups planning revenge attacks following the ethnic crises in the highlighted states.

JODER said it is in possession of a video clip urging vengeance, bloodletting and revenge. The media group alerted the authorities to another version of a video clip calling for violent reprisal which may be carried out unless the government nips it in the bud.  JODER said the new video released on Thursday is the second of such hate clip being circulated with intent to create a sense of siege that may spur ethnic uproar. The group said terrorist groups outside the country might take undue advantage of the clip to support violence in the name of faith.

“There are two dangerous video clips in circulation. The two of them are being circulated mostly in Northern parts of the country, in Chad and in Northern Cameroon calling on Muslims to rise up and revenge”, the statement signed by JODER’s Assistant Programme Officer, Mr. Akinwale Kasali said.

He said the video clips were sent to JODER by Northerners working with JODER on peace building across the country. He observed that since the March 07 crisis at Ile-Ife and the recent killings in Benue State, there has been uneasy tension and that the disputants are desperately waiting for an opportunity to renew the hostility. JODER stated that In one of the videos, clips of victims were used as propaganda tools. In the other video, it appears the people fanning the embers of revenge collected several pictures from unrelated violent incidences that happened across the world including the killings in Somalia and Rwanda to depict the Nigerian ethnic crisis.

”It said the clips are instigating a fresh wave of “anger and desperation” which may snowball into a major conflict in the country”, Kasali stated.

JODER said the Federal Government should act fast by probing the origin of the video so also halt another round of carnage. “The speech in the video is filled with hate and avarice. The objective is to stir killings, riots and violence. We do not know how these elements may wish to carry out these planned attacks, but it appears the threat of reprisal across the country is real.

”JODER also asked the Federal Government to intensify security patrol along the country’s highways so as to be able to stop the transportation of arms and dangerous weapons the riotous elements may wish to use in their plot to cause another ethnic uproar.

JOURNALISTS FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS, (JODER)

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Buhari-Elrufai

JOURNALISTS WRITE BUHARI ON SOUTHERN KADUNA, CALL FOR STAKEHOLDERS’ CONFERENCE

Abuja- January 19, 2017

Foremost Nigerian media rights group, Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) has asked President Mohammadu Buhari to launch an intensive campaign aimed at mopping up arms in the hands of non-state actors across the country, especially in the Northern states. This is necessary to stem the tide of violence that threatens the country’s stability, the media group stated.
JODER also urged the President to create time to visit Southern Kaduna, saying such a step will boost the dwindling trust of the feuding parties in his government.

JODER called on President Buhari to impress on Northern leaders for an all embracing ethnic and religious conference to deal with the festering crisis in the region.

JODER whose officials recently paid visits to flashpoints in the North warned that the on-going blood-letting in Southern Kaduna has the potential of throwing the entire country into a faith and ethnic induced mayhem. The warming was contained in a letter addressed to President Buhari and signed by the group’s Executive Director, Mr Adewale Adeoye. The media group regretted that  the social media space is awashed with propaganda material on the Kaduna crisis capable of instigating spontaneous uprising in Africa’s most populous country. No fewer that 1,000 people may have been killed in the past few months that the crisis began.
JODER said the crisis in Kaduna state has led to an ‘arms rival’ and a ‘spiral rise’ in the competition by contenting parties to procure arms and ammunition in anticipation of current or future conflict. This comes in the absence of public trust in the mediation strategies of the authorities concerned. The group said its next conference billed for Kaduna will focus on the Southern Kaduna crisis.
JODER stated that access to arms and ammunition is a major inducement to the growing conflict in some Nigerian communities. With the crisis in the Magreb region, coupled with the increase in poverty and the rise of faith fundamentalism,   arms have become easier to access. We also observe the employment of mercenaries by contending parties in the prosecution of the conflict in Kaduna state. JODER described the Southern Kaduna crisis as a “festering old wound.”
One major solution is for the government to embark on a massive campaign to mop up arms in the hands of non-state actors, this should be backed by amnesty for those who hand over their arms in the first three weeks. The government should follow this task by encouraging people to hand over their illegally procured arms with barter for amnesty.

JODER stated in the letter “The Southern Kaduna crisis is just a metaphor for more crisis that may occur in the nearest future. The moral authority of the mediating parties is very weak. There is deep suspicion by all the parties that the government sponsored mediators will not be able to resolve the deep-seated problems. The most frightening aspect is the international dimension to the crisis. A party in the dispute has succeeded in luring foreign interests whose primary motive is the continuation of the crisis instead of assisting in looking for a peaceful solution.

JODER said it is obvious that the political authorities in Kaduna state do not enjoy the trust and confident of the disputants in the conflict which necessitates the need for a third party to intervene.

“The best that should happen is for all the state governors irrespective of political or religious affiliation, Christian and Muslim groups, civil society across the country to initiate a peace process that will bring together all the parties concerned for a peaceful resolution of the lingering feud. If this is not done on time, the possibility of chain solidarity reactions in Kaduna and outside Kaduna state is almost imminent.

JODER said the Kaduna unrest mirror the faultiness of Nigerian federalism, adding that the ruling party should be bold enough to restructure the country in a way that guarantees self-actualization.

“Nigeria is a plural society. For lasting peace, there must be justice. Every religion and culture should realize the need to coexist without one imposing its values on the other. Nigeria is facing a huge dilemma in the context of the national question which has for long remained unresolved.  This is compounded by corruption, ineptitude and the country’s economic meltdown which continue to fuel hunger, anger and desperation in young and hopeless people.”

 

JODER urged President Buhari and the ruling party to put together a Working Group of Experts drawn from ethnic, labour, religious groups from across the country and from the International Community to examine the reports of the past National Conferences, including the Henry Willink Commission of Inquiry of 1959. If the government is courageous enough to do this, peace is certain to return and threats to peaceful communities may likely subside.
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south south

DECLARATION OF THE PEOPLE OF THE SOUTH-SOUTH

DECLARATION OF THE PEOPLE OF THE SOUTH-SOUTH AFTER A ONE DAY TRAINING ON  CAPACITY BUILDING, CONFLICT PREVENTION, CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND PEACE BUILDING ORGANISED BY THE JOURNALISTS FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS, (JODER) WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE FORD FOUNDATION (WEST AFRICA REGIONAL OFFICE),  HELD AT ALDAGATE CONGRESS HOTEL, PORT HARCOURT ON JULY 07, 2016

 

INTRODUCTION

The training programme was organized by JOURNALISTS FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS (JODER) with the support of the FORD FOUNDATION. The theme: Promoting Peace, Democracy and Stability in Nigeria through the Media, Socio-Cultural Institutions and Youth Driven Community Based Groups.

The Mission: Strengthen a people-driven process for conflict prevention, conflict management and peace-building in the Niger-Delta

Training targets: Primary and Secondary Beneficiaries cutting across Faith-based groups, Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), Women Groups, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), security agencies, youth groups, organised labour and informal sector. Participants at the training programme include representatives of various ethnic groups like Ijaw, Isoko, Ikwerre, Ndoni, Ogoni, Urhobo, Efik, Ibibio and Itsekiri as well as non-indigenes in the Niger Delta amongst others.

 

 

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BACKGROUND

The Niger-Delta is home to indigenous ethnic groups that have lived in their territories for thousands of years. The Niger-Delta is a great ancestral homeland of several forest dependent peoples with a rich heritage of amazing culture and civilisations. The Niger-Delta is by far the second largest mangrove forest in the world, rich in natural resources, including but not limited to land and sea animals, the fauna, and hundreds of plant species which add value to the diverse tributaries and estuaries linking the vast ocean and the great Nun and Niger Rivers.

The Niger Delta has no fewer than 16 distinct ethnic nationalities with history of shared heritage and cultural identities including social and trade relations long before the advent of colonial rule. As with any other natural settings, there were history of conflicts and strives amongst the nationalities but the Niger-Delta however remains one of the most critical nerve centres of the Nigerian economy owing to its rich natural endowment and the resourcefulness of the people.

To a large extent, the social and economic activities of the nationalities that make up the Niger-Delta are linked to the environment which supports the survival of the people who depend on livelihood tied to land and forest resources.

For half a century, the people of the Niger-Delta specifically have been facing various challenges to their survival due to adverse factors including environmental pollution, gas faring, disruptive oil exploration, lack of opportunities, the national malaise of corruption, forest devastation, depletion of sea and land resources and gas flaring.

The Niger-Delta produces the mainstay of Nigerian economy which is oil, whereas there have not been equitable sharing or allocation of these resources which remains a major source of conflict in the area;

 

DELIBERATION

Participants noted:

That the forest reserve of the Niger-Delta has remained largely depleted and at present to an all time low with land and sea polluted, natural streams almost extinct, and means of living under sever attacks posing threats to generations unborn;

That previous efforts of relevant stakeholders at various levels to address the situation have not led to appreciable results in spite of the huge resources committed to the processes.

That such efforts include the introduction of the 13 percent revenue derivation, the setting up of the Niger-Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) and the recent adoption of the United Nations Environmental Programme, (UNEP) report which the Nigerian Federal Government has promised to implement, leading to the  recent kick-off of the Ogoni clean-up exercise.

Regrettably however, participants noted that the Niger-Delta narrative has seen consistent stories of violence, desperation and various vices associated with legitimate agitations of the people;

That irrespective of the various efforts of the relevant stakeholders, the Niger-Delta remains fundamentally poor, vulnerable, with limited opportunities for the people to transform their lives in their own way through self actualisation;

That notwithstanding, participants recognise the infinite ability of the people of the Niger-Delta to aspire to a greater future founded on justice, liberty and respect for the dignity of the human person;

That peace and harmonious co-existence are essential to sustainable development in the entire region.

 

RESOLUTIONS

Towards achieving peace and sustainable development in the Niger-Delta, participants make the following resolutions:

  • Participants demand deliberate urgent attention and actions in addressing the growing poverty rate, growing number of out-of-school children due largely to poverty and economic misery, disruption of oil pipelines and the emergence of various groups making one agitation or the other;
  • Participants demand immediate cessation to all forms of violence in the Niger-Delta and that critical stakeholders should embrace peaceful resolution of all the lingering crises in the region through peaceful advocacy and necessary follow-up action;
  • Participants condemn the invasion of indigenous Ijaw and other Niger Delta Communities by armed security agents and frown against the gross human rights violations against the people by the military and other security agents;
  • Participants noted that there is the urgent need to resolve the crises in the Niger-Delta region in a honest, transparent and open manner with the aim of addressing the fears of the communities, the authorities, the multinationals and business community as well as the agitators themselves;
  • That the ongoing clean-up exercise in Ogoni should be extended to other lands polluted in the Niger Delta as soon as such plans are feasible.
  • Participants resolve to set up a Working Group on the Niger-Delta to constantly bring community leaders and civil society organisations together towards finding a people-driven solution to the problems of the Niger-Delta;
  • Participants call on all stakeholders not to undermine the Right to Self-Determination as entrenched in the United Nations (UN) Charter and other obligations of the UN on the rights of Indigenous peoples including the International Labour Organisation, (ILO) Convention 169 on Biological Diversity.
  • Participants demand speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the 8th Session of the National Assembly.
  • Participants call on the government, communities and other stakeholders in the Niger-Delta to explore the potentials of working together, remove suspicion and mutual distrust in other to deal with the hydra-headed problems that confront the people of the oil producing communities.

SIGNED

PARTICIPANTS

 

Dimkpa Emmanuel Princewill.  Vice National Chairman South-South, Nigeria Youth-Assembly.

Fortune Alfred

Raphael Obaze

Styun Oboiloekwe

Oguntuase Akin Micheal

Uzoma Esther A.

Yahaya Abraham D.

Patterson Ogon

Toinpre Alabo

NsemekeFabian

 
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Scan Enugu Conference pictures 3

COMMUNIQUE ISSUES AT THE END OF THE ENUGU CONFERENCE

Communiqué issued at the end of a Training/Workshop organised by the JOURNALISTS FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS, (JODER) with the support of the FORD FOUNDATION on Promoting Peace, Democracy and Stability in Nigeria through the Media, Socio-Cultural institutions and Youth Driven Community-Based Groups after the one-day event held at Bridge Waters Hotel, Garden Avenue, Enugu on July 4, 2016

 

Background

Participants drawn from socio-cultural groups, the media and professional organisations covering the entire South East of Nigeria in Enugu on July 04, 2016.

Observations and deliberations by participants

  • Delegates expressed delight at any people-driven peace-building mechanism necessary for the upliftment of the people from their state of fear and despair.
  • That Nigeria is a potentially great country. The country needs peace and understanding for her to be able to overcome the incessant forms of conflict that have been the source of the country’s underdevelopment.
  • Participants regret that since Nigeria’s independence, conflict and instability have been some of the major obstacles to national rebirth.
  • That Nigeria faces challenges of corruption, poverty, human rights abuse, violent crimes all of which undermine the prospect for peace and development.

communique

  • That these crises unfortunately were partly responsible for the avoidable civil war (1967-1970) which led to the loss of millions of human lives.
  • That since Nigeria emerged as a country, ethnic suspicion, violence and social disequilibrium have been recurrent dots on the country’s landscape.
  • Despite the various democratic experiences of the country, the sources of conflict which threaten stability and co-existence remain largely unchallenged.
  • That democracy remains the best option for the people in meeting their aspirations.
  • That election in Nigeria has always been associated with post-election violence, which in the past had bred unspeakable retrogression in the country.
  • That the training has brought hope and has improved the skill and understanding of the participants in dealing with challenge of conflict and peace building.

FURTHER DELIBERATIONS

  • That conflict is a natural element in human existence and that conflicts are man-made and could be resolved by mankind out of freewill and good choice.
  • That participants are concerned about the state of the nation and the emergence of several pro-ethnic groups some of whose activities continue to generate deep concern among Nigerians.
  • Participants are concerned about the current violent dimension that the engagements of the authorities have taken and call for peaceful resolution of all forms of disagreements.
  • Concerned that irrespective of the state of affairs in the country, the people on their own can drive a genuine peace process;
  • That participants are concerned about the spate of violence in the form of herdsmen attacks, the killings in NIMBO, the massacre of innocent unarmed demonstrators in the South East and call for restrain on the side of all stakeholders.
  • Realizing that no country can develop in the presence of conflict, constant friction, religious and ethnic bigotry,

 the delegates hereby resolve as follows:

  • That the various sources of conflict in Nigeria can be prevented between contending parties irrespective of its nature and form.
  • That peace and stability are necessary for livelihood and A crisis- free ethnic relationship in Nigeria.
  • That participants will work towards building a new bridge of understanding for peace among Nigeria’s social and cultural formations.
  • Participants will create and nurture a new, lasting bridge of mutual respect between the people of the South East and their counterparts in the South west and other parts of the country.
  • Participants agree to establish a new network of the people in the South West and South East for the peace and well-being of the indigenous peoples in these territories.
  • Participants commit themselves to peaceful resolution of any and all forms of conflict for the wellbeing of the people. The delegates also call for an end to all forms of violence either perpetrated by groups, individuals or by the state.
  • Participants strongly condemn the killings in NIMBO, the violence unleashed on a peaceful and innocent community.
  • That the relevant authorities should have respect for local and international legal instruments that promote the rights of indigenous people and should employ legal and constitutional means in resolving lingering forms of conflict confronting in the South East region.
  • That the perpetrators of violence in NIMBO and other parts of the South East must be brought to face the full weight of the law.
  • That all those arrested during the recent protests in the Eastern part of the country should either be released or be charged to court with due process being employed in their trial according to the constitution and other relevant international laws and standards.

SIGNED

PARTICIPANTS

Chief A.E. Okobi,
Olu Omotayo

Micheal Odiegwu

Hon. Mrs Vero Udeh

Obasi Elobuike

Ejimadu Chinonso

Onuoha Ifeoma

Olisa Echukwu

Amechi Echukwu Chief

Christopher Ukeogbu

Ike Nwalunor

 

 

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Advocacy Visit

 

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Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) advocacy visit to the palace of HRH Tony Ojukwu, the Igwe of Ogui Nike in Enugu South Local Government Area, Enugu State, alongside Resource persons and participant at the Peace Building, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Management summit organized by JODER with support from Ford Foundation.

 

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Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) advocacy visit to the palace of HRH Tony Ojukwu, the Igwe of Ogui Nike in Enugu South Local Government Area, Enugu State, alongside Resource persons and participant at the Peace Building, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Management summit organized by JODER with support from Ford Foundation.

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JODER officials in a group photograph with Nimbo Community leaders in Enugu during JODERs advocacy visit to the town.

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JODER officials in a group photograph with Nimbo Community leaders in Enugu during JODERs advocacy visit to the town.

 

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JODER officials speaking to the Balogun Spare Parts Dealers, Ikeja, Lagos.

 

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L-R; REUBEN BUHARI, LEADER SOKAPU; JODER ED, ADEWALE ADEOYE; ALH BALARABE MUSA, FORMER KADUNA STATE GOVERNOR; FRANCIS ABAYOMI, ED PEDEP AND AKINWALE KASALI, JODER ASST. PROGRAMME OFFICER IN A ADVOCACY VISIT TO ALH MUSA’S HOUSE

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