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PICTURES OF THE INTERACTIVE SESSION ON DIVERSITY REPORTING

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L – R: Popoola Ajayi, Member Lagos State Security Trust Fund; Adewale Adeoye JODER, ED; Taiwo Adeleye; Tunde Abatan, Former Deputy Editor, Daily Times News paper and Adeola Soetan at the Interactive session on Diversity Reporting for Journalists and Civil Society organised by JODER at JODER’s Secretariat.

 

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Participants at the Interactive Session for Journalists and Civil Society.

 

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COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE REPORTING DIVERSITY TRAINING

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE MEDIA INTERACTION-TRAINING ON DIVERSITY REPORTING ORGANISED BY THE JOURNALISTS FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS, (JODER), THE INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION, (IIE) AND THE FORD FOUNDATION, WEST AFRICA REGION HELD AT M SQARE HOTEL, LAGOS ON AUGUST 23, 2017

INTRODUCTION

Participants at the Training for Nigerian Print and Electronic Media on Reporting Conflict and Diversity in A Plural Society, were drawn from the print and electronic media, professional media organisations, Civil Society,Nigerian Union of Journalists, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, (NBC) and other media-driven organisations across the country.

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Participants observe that the media has a very important role to play in the transformation of any given society. The media as the Fourth Estate of the Realm has a very significant role to play in nation building and sustainable development. The Nigerian media has played this critical role since 1859 when the first newspaper was published in the country in the local language of the indigenous people.

Throughout the history of Nigeria, since the pre-colonial, indigenous peoples had employed mass communication as a veritable tool in building the gap between the people and their leaders. The media, from the primordial times, either traditional or modern media performed profound functions in shaping the destiny of the country.

That in Nigeria, the media for instance played a very significant role in the campaign for independence against colonial rule and was also in the forefront in the campaign against despotic military rulers that seized the country for 27 odd years.

OBSERVATIONS

  • That since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999, democracy has brought changes and greater access of the ordinary man to power. Nigeria has also seen the mushrooming of several media organisations and a blossoming private investment in electronic media never before seen.
  • That why democracy has brought improved human rights conditions, skybound economic and other social opportunities,the gains are dimmed by the challenge of weak institutions complicated by the hydra-headed problem of corruption and bad leadership.
  • That in spite of the advancement recorded owing to democratic reforms, the challenges of good governance and participatory democracy remain. Poverty and corruption stand out as major obstacles to development while national inspirational leadership continues to elude the country.
  • Though the national elections of 2015 brought in a new set of political interests, expectations are far from being met. The country remains divided along ethnic and religious fault lines. Terrorism plagues the country. In recent months, Nigeria has become a killing field orchestrated either through violent extremism or social crimes perpetrated against the people in the society they are bound to live.
  • Worst still, the past few months have seen resurgence of hate speeches, deepening mutual distrust in the face of not-so-promising responses from authorities to meet the anxious expectations of a despairing population.
  • That since 2009, when violent extremists launched offensive against the state, now fewer than 8000 people have been killed. More than 85 children have been employed as suicide bombers by extremist groups in the North East area of the country, more than 1 million people have been displaced from their homes, why the number of Internally Displaced Persons, (IDP) has entered seven digits.
  • In the face of this, poor policies, corruption and ineptitude hunt Africa’s most populous country leading to millions of jobless, desperate and hopeless youth population. The country is also bedeviled by the proliferation of illicit weapons which threaten regional security.
  • That one important way of responding to the challenge is for the media to strengthen the culture of public debate, deepen dialogue and discussions and provide greater spaces for the complex shades of opinions to air their views, to express their fears, aspirations and expectations.In this mismatch of a complex hurdle, the media has a very important role to play in reverting the country’s floundering fortunes.
  • Diversity reporting is an important aspect of strategic intervention that will ensure the divergent interests have equitable access to the media, that the media also provide the necessary spaces considering the plural nature of the Nigerian society with over 250 ethnic groups and home to a rainbow cultures and values.That the Media and Diversity Project will go a long way in assisting the media in terms of acquisition of modern techniques in reporting diversity, help address the fears of marginalized groups and better place the media in a strategic location to be able to promote greater public participation in governance and enhance greater government obligations to the public. After the extensive training, interactions, debate and sharing of experiences, the participants make the following resolutions.

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RESOLUTION

  • Participants benefited immensely from the project which was timely in the context of the socio-political developments in Nigeria especially the renewed threat to the unity of the country considering its implications for regional and global security. Participants admit that the importance of diversity reporting as a key element in effective media engagement of the various interests in Nigeria for sustainable livelihood of the people.
  • Participants listed major areas of diversity in Nigeria to include language, culture, religion, corruption, indigenous issues, ethnic minorities, environmental changes, poverty, exclusion, language, culture and the political economy.

 

  • That participants will double their responsibilities so as to preserve the principles of democracy by promoting equitable access to media by vulnerable groups like women, the poor, the physically challenged and other less endowed social formations and communities.
  • Participants agree to create an effective platform to promote discussions and interaction on issues of diversity reporting in the Nigerian print and electronic media.
  • Participants agree to work together to engage the National Assembly and other democratic institutions in the country in order to ensure the rights of journalists and Nigerians to free speech are not impugned or destroyed by any legislation that may tend to undermine democracy.
  • Participating journalists agree to give greater spaces to marginalised peoples like ethnic minorities and to promote their culture, their values, their heritage as a practical way to deepen democratic culture and promote diversity reporting in Nigeria.
  • Participants recognise the renewed upsurge in ethnic self-determination across the country and urge the government and all other stakeholders to employ peaceful means in addressing the challenges instead of employing violence or extreme measures outside the constitutional provisions in the country. Participants resolve to set a national agenda for dialogue and peaceful resolution of contending issues in the country.
  • Participants observe that poverty, corruption, social and economic exclusion are clear dangers to democracy and that journalists must take active parts in promoting the campaign against corruption as part of social responsibility in diversity reporting for the greater good of the society.
  • Journalists regret the lack of capacity building for media practitioners especially in the context of diversity reporting, the decline in training in the newsrooms and the decreasing in the quality of news content arising from lack of diversity reporting which continue to promote narrow prisms in the media to the detriment of the greater society.
  • Participants urge media owners to invest more in human capital development as this is necessary to assist journalists to discharge their duties more effectively in diversity reporting.
  • Participants view with great concern the inadequate payment of salary by media organisations adding that the trend has become so worrisome to the extent that many media organisations owe up to 10 to 12 months of salary in arreas.Participants note that this development has the potential of reducing the quality of media practice as the industry faces brain drain owing to the increasing poor conditions of service in many of the media institutions.
  • Participants express profound appreciation to the International Institute for Education, (IIE), the Ford Foundation, West Africa Region and the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) for the opportunity given to journalists for the training.

 

SIGNED

AUGUST 23, 2017

 

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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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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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