JODER REPRESENTATIVE; MR AKINWALE KASALI WITH MR. LANRE SURAJU, MR. SULAIMON ARIGBABU AND MR SHINA ODUGBEMI AT THE PUBLIC PRESENTATION ON CORRUPTION IN THE UTILIZATION OF RECOVERED FUNDS
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JODER REPRESENTATIVE; MR AKINWALE KASALI WITH MR. LANRE SURAJU, MR. SULAIMON ARIGBABU AND MR SHINA ODUGBEMI AT THE PUBLIC PRESENTATION ON CORRUPTION IN THE UTILIZATION OF RECOVERED FUNDS
Title of publication:
SOLUTION-DRIVEN RURAL POVERTY REPORTING INITIATIVE
Summary of highlights and outcomes of IPC’s solution driven/poverty reporting project in Nigeria
Author: International Press Centre (IPC) with the support of World Association for Christian Communication (WACC)
No of pages: 24
Reviewer: Adewale Adeoye, Executive Director, JOURNALISTS FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS
I wish to commend the International Press Centre, (IPC) for this piece of art and also the World Association For Christian Communication for supporting IPC in carrying out the project implementation, whose summary outcome makes up the content of this publication. Documenting this as an outcome of their work on how media and grass root collaboration can engender development, especially addressing rural poverty conditions at the grass roots serves as a valuable asset for posterity. All over the world, what moves nations and people from stupor to greatness is ideas. This publication is another major contribution to the world of form. The world will run out of energy the day ideas are no more.
This small but significant publication represents a critical engagement of the media’s role in reflecting the echoes from the valleys. I suspect the IPC took the challenge up owing to the declining fortunes of the Nigerian media in meeting public expectations and being the platform for all interests.
Over the years, the Nigerian media has witnessed its worst decline. News stories have come to reflect only the wishes and aspirations of the rich and influential. Newspaper and electronic media have come to portray more of the interests of the few. The travails, pains and pangs of the poor, the downtrodden, the marginalized majority are left unattended to. Even when stories of poverty are reported, the media only scratch the surface. Pictures about poverty follow the trend of opportunism instead of raising critical issues of underdevelopment.
The book has come to challenge this tradition by providing a new guideline that should lead to a paradigm shift.
The publication emphasizes the fact that journalism is not a property of the rich to be manipulated to the disadvantage of the people. It teaches us that the grundnorm of journalism must not be thrown into the thrashbin, that the founding principle of mass communication is to give a voice to the people, not alone to their leaders, who sometimes are also their tormentors alone.
The publication may be small but the frame of mind is huge and inexhaustible. It redefines the current role of the Nigerian media by making a conscious attempt to draw back the missing sheep. The publication captures the strategic role that the media can play in advancing the cause of the people at the lowest ladder of the ladder. Inspite of the fact that the poor do not have the purchasing power, but their expectations, their fears and aspirations must be projected.
This publication demonstrates IPC’s prominent lead in media capacity building which has enabled the institution to enhance public interest reporting. The book is a 24 page summary of media enhanced community led activities built around solution-driven rural poverty reporting initiative which focuses on Advancing the development issues of 8 Grassroots Communities in Lagos.
The publication summed up a series of engagement on how the media was instrumental in capturing the pains, frustrations and concerns of rural settings, and providing the edge to facilitating organs of government to meet the development needs of the eight pilot grass root communities in Lagos State
The report also provides information on the state of infrastructure in rural Lagos communities. It enriches the ability of journalists to report diversity issues involved in a class driven political economy.
One of the most striking aspects was to bring rural communities to interact with journalists. Journalists after training also conducted visits to communities between November 2015 and April 2016.
During the engagement, efforts were made to draw government attention to specific challenges of rural communities, leading to the achievement of certain milestones. For instance, the construction of poor roads at the Bolaji Omupo, Bashoa CDA in Somolu Local Government, the rehabilitation of Obele Odan community Primary School in Obele Oniwahala, Surulere and the construction of a major link road into Erejuwa community in makoko area of Lagos Mainland Local Government are striking examples. The project also involved empowering community representative to write of letters to local government administrators between March and October 2016 on the plight of affected communities, meeting local administrators and coming up with concrete solutions that address the needs of the people.
It is a great attempt at merging the wide gap between ordinary people and the men and women who control commerce, politics and economy. It gives a narrative that redirects our energy to the core tenets of journalism. It shows clearly the strong and inseparable link between sustainable development and journalism when practiced according to its traditional values and norms.
The publication of this book should not end in a room. It must not end on the table. It should be on the streets, in the news rooms, on the desk of every reporter and editor across Nigeria and throughout the West African sub-region.
I commend the IPC for this amazing contribution to development journalism. The publication is handy, easy to digest and produced in simple language that everyone should understand.
The other aspect is how do we transform this document into a working tool in the newsrooms? How do journalists adopt the recommendations in this book as a working document? What strategies have been adopted by the IPC to sustain the momentum that has been built with this project. What other roles can government, funders and development partners play in supporting initiatives like this to address the development of grass root communities?
I believe the IPC could do more in terms of the graphics of the book. I am also not sure of the percentage of print media especially radio that took part in the project.
In all, this is a great piece, a master piece, a clear example of how the IPC has continued to play roles in advancing the role of the media in development in Nigeria and West Africa in terms of capacity building and the commendable effort of creating a permanent synergy between journalism and sustainable development in an obviously tough environment.
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)
Free Speech. Free Spirit. Free World
Office Address: 14, Aina Eleko Street, Onigbongbo, Maryland, Lagos.
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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.
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
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.
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;
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.
Towards achieving peace and sustainable development in the Niger-Delta, participants make the following resolutions:
|Dimkpa Emmanuel Princewill. Vice National Chairman South-South, Nigeria Youth-Assembly.
Oguntuase Akin Micheal
Uzoma Esther A.
Yahaya Abraham D.