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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.

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  • 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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SPEAKING ON THE NEWLY BUILT FARM SETTLEMENT PRIMARY SCHOOL, MR ADEWALE ADEOYE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF JODER.

Speaking on the newly built Farm settlement primary school, Mr Adewale Adeoye, Executive Director of JODER said the building of the school was conceived by Ford Foundation under the Good Neighborliness Project. He said a Ford staff that lives in Ikorodu, Mrs Yemisi Akin Adeniyi had identified the school’s poor conditions after which she informed Ford Foundation. Adeoye said JODER’s role was a mere “footnote” adding that the whole credit should go to Ford Foundation and its affectionate staff. “JODER is grateful that FORD contacted us to oversee the building. The whole credit goes to Ford Foundation and her amazing staff.”

Poor Odogunyan community erupted in excitement yesterday as locals and dignitaries watch the opening of six classrooms and toilets at the Farm Settlement Primary School located in rural suburb of Lagos. The world standard classrooms, equipped with modern furniture, borehole and toilets were conceived and built by the Ford Foundation under the group’s Good Neighborliness project.

The project also included the building of an extensive fence on the two acre vast land on which the school was built.  The school has a population of 1000 pupils, from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds and by far the largest public primary school in the area. The pupils are from poor and vulnerable homes.
The primary was first built in 1978 specifically for wards of poor and rural parents who could hardly afford the benefit of modern primary schools. Even then, the learning conditions dwindled under the weight of years of authority neglect compounded later by dwindling fortunes of state resources. The Ford Foundation had asked the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) to supervise the project.
The Secretary to the State Governor, Mr Tunji Bello who represented the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode said the growing population of pupils in public schools remains a major challenge to the state government describing the intervention ofFord Foundation as strategic. He said the people of Lagos will never forget the monumental contributions of Ford Foundation for ending the despair of the pupils.
The Representative of Ford Foundation, West Africa, Mr Innocent Chukwuma who spoke at the event said an official of Ford Foundation, Mrs Yemisi Akin Adeniyi identified the school based on the peculiar challenges faced by the pupils. He said the idea is to promote good neighborliness.
Chukwuma said the original concept of public schools was to provide a platform for rich and poor children to mingle so as not to create a generation gap and to broaden understanding among the various classes of children within the social and economic spectrum of the larger society.
He said that  pupils from poor and rich homes hardly have a meeting point which is partly responsible for a string of hate, discord and social inequalities that exist today. The rich children never meet children of the poor. They don’t know their fears and aspirations. The same children of the rich when they grow up end up ruling a society they hardly understand. The head girl of the school, Makanjuola Khadijat said “We are happy. We no longer need to clear faeces of hoodlums. Before now we were ashamed of ourselves and the school, but now we have pride and dignity.” The JODER Executive Director, Mr Adewale Adeoye said the Ford Foundation has left an indelible footprints in the hearts of future leaders and in the host community.
 Until the rebuilding of the historic school, the lack of fence opened gory opportunities for armed gangs and street urchins who have converted the space into a red light district. On one occasion, said Mr Oduwoye, the Ikorodu Local Government LG Secretary, said a sophisticated gun was found at the school, apparently abandoned the day before by suspected armed robbers. The pupils also needed to clear the faeces of intruders who take over the space on weekends and in the dead of the night.
The head teacher of the school Mr Adewale Olukoga said since the school was rebuilt by Ford Foundation, the enthusiasm to enroll in the school has tripled. “People ask us how do we do it. They ask us if we are now a private school. We are very grateful to the Ford Foundation for this great edifice,” an excited Olukoga said amidst pomp, pageantry and sounds of local drums and flute provided by locals.

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