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EUROPE, NIGERIA BASED GROUPS ADOPT SOWORE AS PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE

PRESS STATEMENT

 

EUROPE, NIGERIA BASED GROUPS ADOPT SOWORE AS PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE

 

 

International civil right groups in collaboration with their Nigerian counterparts have this weekend adopted detained Publisher of Sahara Reporters Omoyele Sowore as a Prisoner of Conscience.

 

In a statement on Saturday, Human Environment Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) in collaboration with  United Kingdom based groups, Global witness, Cornerhouse and Re:Common of Italy and their counterparts in Nigeria  adopted Sowore as Prisoner of Conscience, a term adopted in 1961 to qualify people detained for their political beliefs.

 

Scores of Prisoners of Conscience have been adopted across Africa and have always formed the rallying point for intensive international campaigns against their home governments.

 

Local partners of the initiative are Civil Society Network Against Corruption, (CSNAC), Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, (CDHR), Journalists for Democratic Rigths, (JODER) and several others.

 

The statement signed by Olanrewaju Suraju stated “We have followed with keen interest the arrest and prosecution of  Mr Omoyele Sowore, the Publisher of Sahara Reporters.

He was detained for 45 days on obvious trumped up charges.

 

At the expiration of the 45 days, his lawyer Mr Femi Falana, (SAN) went to court seeking his bail. The Court of Justice gave the order releasing him on bail. It’s now three days after the bail was granted, the Nigerian Federal authorities have refused to release him.”

 

The statement said the prosecution of the activist has now turned into persecution.

 

The groups said from all indications, Mr Sowore is being held “for his strong political views which appear to be against the interests of those in power”

 

The group said it has now adopted Sowore as  a Prisoner of Conscience.

 

The  right groups stated “With this adoption, the floodgates of international campaign has been opened for a vigorous lobby for the immediate release of Mr Sowore. It will involve engagement of regional and international organisations and working within the United Nations, (UN) and the European Union, (EU) system.”

 

Sahara Reporters with over 25million subscribers,  it noted remains one of the most powerful tools of social change in Nigeria adding that the Nigerian government shoukd have seen such a medium as a partner instead of isolating the publisher for deleberate assaults

 

 

The groups said “Sowore is now an imprisoned person with a global status. His medium, Sahara Reporters has been consistent in exposing the ills of the Nigerian and indeed African societies.

 

 

He has devoted his platform for the cause of the public good, confronting corrupt and tyrannical leaders, fighting them in ways deadlier than weapons of war. He has over the years broken borders and swept a new wave of renaissance across Africa and in particular, Nigeria, his fatherland. His case is that of outright persecution with the government insisting on a ring of capital offence around his neck.”

 

The groups said framing charges of treason again a  single person who is a journalist, without any collaborators suggests that some powerful politicians would wish to see Sowore dead.”

 

It noted that reasonable felony is not a capital offence under section 41 of the Criminal Code.

 

The groups said with the adoption, a global platform will be opened for people of conscience all over the world to join the campaign for his release.

 

The groups regretted that Nigerian government is creating what it called “awful impression” about human rights and democracy in Nigeria adding that the growing trend of right violations will affect economic prosperity and equal opportunities since no investor wants to put money in a siege and unstable environment

 

 

 

International civil right groups in collaboration with their Nigerian counterparts have this weekend adopted detained Publisher of Sahara Reporters Omoyele Sowore as a Prisoner of Conscience.

 

In a statement on Saturday, Human Environment Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) in collaboration with  United Kingdom based groups, Global witness, Cornerhouse and Re:Common of Italy and their counterparts in Nigeria  adopted Sowore as Prisoner of Conscience, a term adopted in 1961 to qualify people detained for their political beliefs.

 

Scores of Prisoners of Conscience have been adopted across Africa and have always formed the rallying point for intensive international campaigns against their home governments.

 

Local partners of the initiative are Civil Society Network Against Corruption, (CSNAC), Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, (CDHR), Journalists for Democratic Rigths, (JODER) and several others.

 

The statement signed by Olanrewaju Suraju stated “We have followed with keen interest the arrest and prosecution of  Mr Omoyele Sowore, the Publisher of Sahara Reporters.

He was detained for 45 days on obvious trumped up charges.

 

At the expiration of the 45 days, his lawyer Mr Femi Falana, (SAN) went to court seeking his bail. The Court of Justice gave the order releasing him on bail. It’s now three days after the bail was granted, the Nigerian Federal authorities have refused to release him.”

 

The statement said the prosecution of the activist has now turned into persecution.

 

The groups said from all indications, Mr Sowore is being held “for his strong political views which appear to be against the interests of those in power”

 

The group said it has now adopted Sowore as  a Prisoner of Conscience.

 

The  right groups stated “With this adoption, the floodgates of international campaign has been opened for a vigorous lobby for the immediate release of Mr Sowore. It will involve engagement of regional and international organisations and working within the United Nations, (UN) and the European Union, (EU) system.”

 

Sahara Reporters with over 25million subscribers,  it noted remains one of the most powerful tools of social change in Nigeria adding that the Nigerian government shoukd have seen such a medium as a partner instead of isolating the publisher for deleberate assaults

 

 

The groups said “Sowore is now an imprisoned person with a global status. His medium, Sahara Reporters has been consistent in exposing the ills of the Nigerian and indeed African societies.

 

 

He has devoted his platform for the cause of the public good, confronting corrupt and tyrannical leaders, fighting them in ways deadlier than weapons of war. He has over the years broken borders and swept a new wave of renaissance across Africa and in particular, Nigeria, his fatherland. His case is that of outright persecution with the government insisting on a ring of capital offence around his neck.”

 

The groups said framing charges of treason again a  single person who is a journalist, without any collaborators suggests that some powerful politicians would wish to see Sowore dead.”

 

It noted that reasonable felony is not a capital offence under section 41 of the Criminal Code.

 

The groups said with the adoption, a global platform will be opened for people of conscience all over the world to join the campaign for his release.

 

The groups regretted that Nigerian government is creating what it called “awful impression” about human rights and democracy in Nigeria adding that the growing trend of right violations will affect economic prosperity and equal opportunities since no investor wants to put money in a siege and unstable environment

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59TH INDEPENDENCE: RIGHTS GROUP RELEASES AUDIO PEACE MESSAGES, CALLS FOR UNITY AGAINST VIOLENCE

September 30, 2019

PRESS STATEMENT

59th Independence: Rights group releases audio peace messages, calls for unity against violence

 

Audio messages in different Nigerian languages preaching peace and non-violence were released to the public on Sunday ahead of the country’s 59 independence Anniversary which takes place on Tuesday.

In the messages targeting about 50 million people, Nigerians were asked to put their differences aside and unite against violence and killings that threaten livelihood and sustainable development in Africa’s most populous country

According to Nigeria’s leading media-based pro-democracy group, the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER), in collaboration with the Institute of International Education, (IIE) the country can overcome barricades of malice through constructive engagement and dialogue among Nigeria’s diverse ethnic and religious groups.

JODER said Nigeria faces the grim consequences of hate and division unless decisive actions are taken by the people to stand up for accord and understanding.

It said the divisions are orchestrated by poor leadership and the lack of an inspiring national spirit driven by the selfless desire for unity and prosperity of the people by those in authority.

In the message of goodwill ahead of the country’s 59th independence anniversary, signed by JODER’s Executive Director, Mr Adewale Adeoye, the group said human and industrial developments are difficult to achieve in an environment of hostility, constant prospects of violence and killings.

JODER said about 64,000 Nigerians die yearly in cases related to violence and that in recent times, poverty, corruption and stiff competition for limited opportunities have continued to fuel discord, rash killings and  social resentment.

“We are confronted with growing hate and a move towards arbitrary actions of individuals whose respect for the state and her institutions continue to fade away. Many people are taking laws into their hands. The state does not help through her brazen attacks on citizen rights. These actions lead to constant loss of lives and break down of order conducts in many parts of the country. We can bring an end to this through a people-driven initiative and popular platforms for conflict prevention” JODER said.

According to the group “The peace messages were produced in six Nigerian languages of Hausa, Igbo, Urhoba, Tiv, Yoruba and Pigin. It’s a contribution to the national discourse on peace and conflict prevention. The audio messages target no less than 50million Nigerians, mainly youths. The messages were designed to reach strategic groups and individuals whose actions are critical to peace building in the country. The means of distribution are radio and the social media”, Adeoye said. While Nigeria is threatened by violent conflict, the state and Federal authorities, and corporate institutions have not made unity and peace building a compelling agenda.

He said at present, there are bottled up disenchantments across the country that a little pin-touch can rupture. “Nigeria is notorious for her instability, religious distrust, inter-class suspicion, ethic divisions and constant friction” JODER said adding that Nigerians can stun these difficulties if they show determination to overcome artificial barriers created by political leaders.

The group said the spate of extremism in some parts of the country cannot be isolated from corruption and lack of opportunities seen in grim images of teeming population of young people who are impatient with a system that has not totally addressed their fears and aspirations.

It said it hoped the peace messages will stir the conscience of millions of people, definitely not all of them. “We hope it will lead to a change of mind, a change in attitude. We hope it will open a tiny place in the hearts of millions of Nigerians who will be inspired to promote peace and work towards the prevention of conflict and violence in their own dominion.”

Listen and download the audio here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7opnqb7a9zrlwh1/AUD-20190923-WA0003.mp3?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bcna0vpkses6wgj/AUD-20190923-WA0002.mp3?dl=0

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PRESS STATEMENT: JOURNALISTS RENEW COMMITMENT TO PROMOTING PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE

September 23rd, 2019

PRESS STATEMENT

Journalists renew commitment to promoting peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.

Media practitioners have renewed their commitment to the promotion of peace and conflict prevention across the country. The Journalists also promise to strengthen a network for the isolation and discipline of reporters who promote ethnic, religious and cultural profiling identified as some of the major obstacles to sustainable livelihood.

These were some of the resolutions made at the end of a-one day training with the theme Engaging the media and community based organisations towards conflict prevention and peace building with print, electronic and online media actors as the prime targets.

The training was organized by the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) with the support of the Institute for International Education, (IIE). JODER in its opening remarks said Nigeria was confronted by corruption, poverty, hunger, ethnic divisions, religious intolerance, a new wave of self-determination movements, violent crimes, kidnapping and banditry consequently, leading to increased rates of violent deaths in Nigeria while threats of greater ethnic or religious conflict now and in the nearest future are real.

Speaking at the training, the Lagos State Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Dr Qasim Akinreti said journalists have the professional responsibility of educating the people on the right and reasonable cause of action instead of fueling hate and primordial prejudices. He said the NUJ is in the process of registering professional journalists with the aim of eliminating quacks.

Akinreti said “as journalists you must understand the background, the philosophy and geography of the area you want to report.  Knowledge of the country, knowledge of the personalities, the people that surround issues are very important.

He continued that “your dressing, choice of words and front lines are key elements you must understand in terms of extracting facts from people at the conflict zone. A good journalist must be knowledgeable, skillful and not a reactionary. It is important to belong to the NUJ. The union should be every journalist’s first call”.

 

The Chairman of Nigerian Guild of Online Publishers, Mr Dotun Oladipo said his group is developing the framework for self-regulation in line with best practices across the world to ensure that practitioners use their medium to promote public good. He said one solution is to ensure that online publishing is dominated by tested and credible journalists. The Director of News, TV Continental, Mr Babajide Kolade Otitoju at the event said journalists should go beyond press statements issued by government officials for them to be able to produce informed stories for the benefit of the people. He said media practitioners should set agenda for peaceful resolution when reporting conflict.

 

In the resolution, the practitioners promise to work towards the promotion of the utilitarian value of the people of Nigeria by promoting peaceful co-existence and sustainable livelihood.

It stated “The newsrooms and media organisations through its network of will organize periodic training for its members on best practices towards crisis prevention in Nigeria. Journalists in the mainstream media and online platforms will henceforth ensure greater professionalism which is in the interest of the media profession and the people of Nigeria. The practitioners urged the State and Federal authorities to ensure greater access to information through respect for the Freedom of Information Law.”

According to the resolution, “Government and corporate institutions should see the media as partners and therefore provide necessary information that can help the people and the society at large, and such should be provided promptly too. In this respect participants frown at the recent attacks on citizen media by the Nigerian government which has led to the arrest and detention of a couple of media practitioners.”

Participants also called for the immediate release of all journalists currently being detained by the Government or that they should be taken to the law court. Two journalists, the Publishers of Sahara Reporters, Mr Omoyele Sowore and Cross Rivers Watch, Mr Agba Jalingo are currently being held in detention by the state and Federal Governments.

The group also agreed work together to ensure the success of the National Working Group on Peace Building and Conflict Prevention set up by JODER with the support of the Institute of International Education and Ford Foundation, West Africa Regional Office.

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PICTURES FROM THE TRAINING OF PRINT, ELECTRONIC AND ONLINE MEDIA ON CONFLICT REPORTING

Pictures from the training of Print, Electronic and Online media on conflict reporting organised by Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) with the support of Institute of International Education, (IIE) and Ford Foundation, West Africa Regional Office held in Lagos on September 16, 2019.

Group photograph of participants with the Guest Speaker, Chairman Nigerian Union of Journalist Lagos State, NUJ, at the media training held in Lagos.

 

L – R; Kudu Abubakar, Vice President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Chairman Guild of Editors, Dotun Oladipo, Former Editor Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Chris Nderibe and Director Of News TVC, Babajide Otitoju at the training.

Participants receiving their certificate after the training

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COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE MEDIA TRAINING SESSION

Communique issued at the end of the Media  Training session on the theme Engaging the Media and Community Based Organisations, (CBOs) for Post Election Reconciliation with Focus on Training of Print, Electronic and Online Media Actors on Reporting for Peace Building and Conflict Prevention organized by the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) with the support of the Institute of International Education, (IIE) and the Ford Foundation, (West Africa) sub region) held in Lagos on Monday, September 16, 2019

Background

Nigeria is a key player in regional political economy. The country is home to some 180 million people of diverse ethnic and religious configuration. Apart from her strategic importance in Africa, socio-political developments in Nigeria have far reaching consequences in the West African sub-region which is home to some 360million people.

Nigeria returned to democracy after 27 years of military rule. Though the country has gained momentum since the new dawn, many dark areas remain. Some of the major problems facing Nigeria at the moment are the unceasing cases of violent conflict which appear to have become a pattern since the country’s 1960 independence, historically more pronounced after national elections.

Nigeria is also confronted by corruption, poverty, hunger, ethnic divisions, religious intolerance, a new wave of self-determination movements, violent crimes, kidnapping and banditry.

Consequently, there has been an increased rate of violent deaths in Nigeria while threats of greater ethnic or religious conflict now and in the nearest future are real.

Resource persons and Target Audience

The training was attended by 30 media practitioners from the print, electronic and online media including the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, (Lagos State) Dr Qasim Akinreti, Chairman, of Guild of Online Publishers, Mr Dotun Oladipo, Director of News, TV continental, Mr Babajide Kolade-Otitoju, representatives of the Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA), the Lagos Television Station, (LTV), and 27 trainees.

Deliberations on the Role of the media

In the past, Nigerians have seen the media contribute to shaping the future of the country and defining public perception of political and economic events.

While making profound contributions to nation building, a section of the media have consistently taken partisan positions and in some instances out rightly fueling intolerance and hate.

The advent of the social media has opened up a new highway of information to different layers of people, providing multiple sources for Nigerians to access information. There have been instances when this advantage has been abused by media users.

The mushrooming of various information outlets has seen the emergence of dedicated propaganda outfits especially in the social media with the potential of broadening the prospect of conflict in Nigeria.

In all of this, the media has a critical role to play in setting agenda for peace and conflict prevention.

Deliberations on the State of the Nation

Whereas, participants know that Nigeria is a potentially great country with her huge human and material resource base;

Whereas Nigeria has a rich and amazing ethnic, cultural and religious diversity that should be a source of strength to Nigeria;

Whereas freedom of expression is one of the major pillars of democracy;

Whereas In Nigeria, the freedom of expression is protected by section 39 (1) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria constitution. The freedom of speech provision in section 39(1) of the constitution provides that―every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference’

Conscious of several relevant local and global efforts like the Windhoek Declaration  and its statement of press freedom  principles by African newspaper journalists in 1991, a declaration produced at a UNESCO seminar, “Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press,” held in Windhoek the capital of Namibia from 29 April to 3 May 1991.

Reaffirming the commitment undertaken in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to protect everyone’s freedom of opinion and expression and to create the conditions for its effective exercise;

Knowing that Nigeria has recently been confronted by multiple crises that has taken violent dimension in many parts of the country to the extent that such has become a source of deep concern to local and international community;

Whereas, Nigeria is facing the challenge of community and national identities which are being expressed in violent and virulent manners;

Whereas the situation in the country calls for a new mass communication consciousness to address the divisions along primordial differences which affect the prospect of sustainable economic and political development;

Realising that the Nigerian media has a long history of positive intervention beginning from 1859 when the first newspaper, Iwe Irohin Yoruba was published;

Whereas, the media has blossomed in recent times with new frontiers and countless outlets for public expression and that while this has added value to public information access, it has also brought in its wake challenges of dealing with deliberate misinformation and propaganda aimed at stifling the country and even promoting hate and malice;

That the new media has also offered the opportunity for people to express themselves and distribute information either raw or processed to the teeming population of Nigerians;

Whereas, the participants admitted the obvious setbacks in the form of sensationalism, stereotyping, ethnic profiling, and outright promotion of propaganda materials by a section of the media.

Whereas the media has a very important role to play in setting agenda of peace and conflict prevention in reporting the various forms of conflict across the country;

Realising that capacity building of media practitioners is crucial to the need for a constructive engagement of critical issues by the media in Nigeria towards developing a national peace and conflict prevention agenda for the country;

Whereas the training exposed the media to real situations in Nigeria, pointing out the strength and weaknesses of the mainstream media and citizenship information outlets;

Participants admitted the need to strengthen the role of the social media in promoting greater awareness, increasing the potential of greater participation in socio-political affairs and also helping the citizens to reach out and defeat the emerging culture of violence;

Participants noted the dangers associated with such a trend and the possibility of such endangering the future of peace building in Nigeria as a whole;

 

After the one day training and exhaustive deliberations, media practitioners make the following resolutions:

  • Media practitioners will work towards the promotion of the utilitarian value of the people of Nigeria by promoting peaceful co-existence and sustainable livelihood.
  • The Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ) is encouraged to intensify its campaign for professionalism and ethics in the media which will enhance greater responsibility on the part of media practitioners
  • The newsrooms and media organisations through its network will organize periodic training for its members on best practices towards crisis prevention in Nigeria
  • Journalists in the mainstream media and online platforms will henceforth ensure greater professionalism which is in the interest of the media profession and the people of Nigeria.
  • The State and Federal authorities should ensure greater access to information through honouring of the Freedom of Information Act 2014.
  • Government and corporate institutions should see the media as partners and therefore provide necessary information that can help the people and the society at large, and such should be provided promptly too. In this respect participants frown at the recent attacks on citizen media by the Nigerian authorities which has led to the arrest and detention of a couple of media practitioners. Participants call for the immediate release of all journalists currently being detained by the Government or that they should be taken to the law court
  • Participants agree to work together to ensure the success of the National Working Group on Peace Building and Conflict Prevention set up by JODER with the support of the Institute of International Education and Ford Foundation, West Africa Regional Office
  • Participants agree to reframe from ethnic or religious profiling in their reporting but rather will set agenda for conflict resolution and the avoidance of sentiments, prejudices, hasty generalization, profiling and stigmatization.
  • Journalists hereby commit themselves to publishing stories that promote national unity, defend human rights, sustain democracy, peace and conflict prevention.
  • Objectivity, balancing of stories and being fair to both sides of the party shall be the guiding principle in reporting social, political and economic issues.
  • Participants request for more frequent meetings and training for stakeholders realizing how useful and impactful the one day training had been.
  • The participants express full appreciation to Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) and the supporters of the project, the Institute for International Education, (IIE) and the Ford Foundation, (West Africa sub region) for the opportunities offered and the knowledge shared during the training.

 

SIGNED

Dr Qasim Akinreti

Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ)

Mr Dotun Oladipo

Chairman, Guild of Nigerian Online Editors

Adewale Adeoye

Executive Director, JODER

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JODER STAFF AT FORD FOUNDATION

Third Left Miss Abass, a Joder staff, at Ford Foundation,with members of the Walter-Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative(CYFI) 4th Edition held on the 15th of August,2019.

Miss Abass, a Joder staff, with  some casts at Terra Culture, Victoria Island for the theater performance ( Wakaa The Musical) organized by Ford foundation.

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ETHNIC, COMMUNITY GROUPS LAUNCH FRESH PEACE BUILDING PLATFORM

Ethnic, community groups launch fresh peace building platform

Major stakeholders in Nigeria on Tuesday July 30, in Lagos launched fresh effort towards peace building and conflict prevention amidst real and imagined threats to stability occasioned by a wave of violence and hate killings spreading across the country.

The opening ceremony of the initiative was attended by over 100 participants mainly leaders and youth representatives of Nigeria’s diverse ethnic groups, civil society, security operatives and top government officials.

The programme was put together by foremost Nigerian media group, Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) and the New York based Institute of International Education, (IIE) facilitated by the Ford Foundation West Africa Regional Office. The project focuses on Lagos, Nigeria’s former capital, the country’s most significant State and host to the country’s different and diverse groups.

The 12-month programme involves extensive training for youth leaders and community based groups, CBOs on strategy and tactics of peace building, management and prevention of conflict. It also involves advocacy visits, media outreach, workshops and community engagements.

After the opening ceremony, the Special Guests left leaving about 35 participants for the training on negotiation and setting agenda of peace conducted by a former United Nations, (UN) peace keeping officer, Lt Col Ayo Ajayi.

Participants held that the summit was coming at a difficult moment for Nigeria, a country of 190 million people bedeviled by recent mass killings, kidnapping for ransom, violent extremism, ethnic suspicion and terrorism. The organizers put the programme together as a people-driven initiative aimed at free, prior and constructive engagements of stakeholders towards prevention of the myriad of potential conflicts that star constantly put the nation at a cliff edge.  The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes has estimated about 64,000 Nigerians are murdered every year in Nigeria. Homicide rate is put in the North East at 70 percent of 100,000 inhabitants and 65 percent for the same number in the North-Central

The Guest Speaker, retired Head of Department of African Studies in many American Universities including Harvard University, Prof Banji Akintoye said Nigeria was at a critical junction in her history.

He said “We are facing a terrible hydra-dreaded monster of ethnicity, extremism, mass killings in the face of a grossly incompetent political leadership. We hundreds of people killed everyday. Gang banditry is taking firm roots in Nigeria. Killings and maiming of innocent people have become a way of life. The security operatives appear helpless. There is the real fear that something terrible may happen unless efforts life this are put in place.” He said the prospect of a government-driven peace and conflict prevention mechanism in Nigeria is remote.

Other speakers were Sec General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dim Uche Okwukwu, Secretary General, Ijaw World Congress, (IWC) Mr Digifa Werenipre, representative of the Eze Ndigbo, Pastor Joe Ihitegbulem, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, (AYCF), Suleiman Tijani, The Etsu Nupe of Lagos, Alhaji Jubrin Dogo, the Onu of Igala, His Royal Highness, Sanni Yakubu Ejima and others

Apart from terrorism, Nigeria is confronted with the problem of kidnapping and herders-farmers violent clashes blamed largely on Fulani herdsmen. An estimated 30,000 Nigerians are believed to have lost their lives in related conflict in the past few years.

The leader of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, (MACBAN) Alhaji Abdullahi Lailiga whose group is blamed largely for the kidnapping and banditry in some parts of Nigeria, said his nationality has been demonized through ethnic profiling and stereotyping which he said are promoted by the media. “We are not all bad people. There may be a few bad eggs but these elements are in all the ethnic groups in Nigeria,” he said. He added that the summit provided the first opportunity for the Fulani people to meet those who see them as “murderers” saying his group is ready to share their fears and aspirations with other Nigerians.

Speaking at the programme, the Executive Director, Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) Mr Adewale Adeoye said “We have designed this peace building and conflict prevention project to last for one year, bringing together the variegated colours of our diverse people, exploring their rich indigenous knowledge, walking with them and creating a nexus that will strengthen the bond of peace and brotherhood.”

He said further “We move from the premise that peace is indeed possible. Peace is cheaper. It is cleaner. It is friendlier and more comfortable to live with than violence and conflict.”

He said “We shall be working withorganized youth groups, leaders and members of ethnic associations, leaders and members of community-based organisations, (CBOs), civil society, professional groups with records of active involvement in disputes. We shall organize training, advocacy visits, campaigns and programmes aimed at ensuring peace and conflict prevention in Lagos and by inference in Nigeria as a whole.

Some of the aims of the project are to prevent a major ethnic backlash, rebuild fractured solidarity and friendship among the various ethnic and social formations in Lagos State, subdue and prevent a major conflict in Lagos between the different ethnic groups, use Lagos as an example of cooperation and peace building among Nigeria’s ethnic groups and also identify the key actors and facilitate constructive round table engagements towards peace and mutual cooperation in Lagos and Nigeria at large.

Other participants at the event included representatives of Ijaw, Shuwa Arab, Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba and other nations, Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC), O’odua Liberation Movement, (OLM), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, United Middle Belt Indigenous Peoples Congress, (UMBIPC), representatives of professional bodies, labour, artisan groups among many others.

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EVENTS AT THE SUMMIT ON ENGAGING THE MEDIA AND COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANISATIONS, (CBOs) FOR POST ELECTION RECONCILIATION AND CONFLICT PREVENTION IN LAGOS STATE.

L – R: Guest Speaker, Prof. Banji Akintoye; Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER, Executive Director, Adewale Adeoye, Dim Uche Okwukwu, Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Alhaji Jubril Mogaji Dogo, Leader Nupe Community Lagos State at the
opening event marking series of activities on the project Engaging The Media and Community-Based Organisations, (CBOs) for Post Election Reconciliation and Conflict Prevention in Lagos State with the support of Institute of International Education, (IIE) held in Lagos, on July 30, 2019.

L – R: The Sarkin Fulani of Abbattoir Lagos, Alhaji Bello Dan Mubaffa, Leader, Supreme Egbesu Assembly, Chief Digifa Werinipre, Guest Speaker, Prof. Banji Akintoye, Executive Director, JODER, Adewale Adeoye, Secretary General Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dim Uche Okwukwu, Leader Nupe Community, Alhaji Jubril Mogaji Dogo, Representative Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State, Pastor Joe Ihitegbulem, Jp at the summit on July 30, 2019.

A cross section of participants and Special Guests at the summit.

A cross section of participants and Special Guests at the summit

L – R: Leader, Shua Arabs Lagos, Sultan Isa Saeed, Leader, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, (MACBAN), Alhaji Abdullahi Lailiega and Sarkin Fulani of Abbatoir Lagos, Alhaji Bello Dan Mufafa at the summit.

L – R: Publisher Sahara Reporters, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, Participant at the training, Mr. Benjamin Offeh and JODER ED, Mr. Adewale Adeoye at the summit.

A cross section of participants during the training at the summit

Participants receiving training modalities from the facilitator using the training manual.

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PRESS STATEMENT: MEDIA GROUP HOSTS SUMMIT ON PEACE BUILDING

Worried by the growing ethnic suspicion in Nigeria, leaders of ethnic groups and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) will meet in Lagos to create an effective mechanism for conflict prevention and peacebuilding on Tuesday, July 30.

The meeting, organised by Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER) and the United States based Institute of International Education (IIE), is aimed at conflict prevention and peace building. A statement by the group’s Executive Director, Mr. Adewale Adeoye said the forum would explore potentials for peace in “a festering atmosphere of fear and trembling.”

He said the summit marks the beginning of series of activities lined up to deepen peaceful co-existence and democracy. The summit, he said, is coming at a critical moment in Nigeria’s history, when the country is battling the crisis of identity and a floundering panacea to potential conflict.

The guest speakers are retired university history teacher and former Second Republic Senator, Prof Adebanji Akintoye; Mr. Malachy Ukwumadu; Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana and a chieftain of Arewa Youth Consultative Council (AYCF) Mr. Kudu Abubakar, among others.

The summit, JODER said is one in a series of activities, which include advocacy for peace, training on conflict prevention, peace building mechanism and media outreach.

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ADVOCACY VISIT

After the Working Group meeting in Lagos. L – R: Adewale Adeoye, Kudu Abubakar, Miss Aisha Abass, Samuel Bakare and Taiwo Adeleye

Advocacy visit to the Sarkin Fulani of Lagos and South West; Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Bambado at His Palace in Surulere, Lagos.

Members of the Working group on advocacy visit to the Onu of Igala, Lagos State; His Royal Highness, Sanni Yakubu Ejima, at his palace in Oworosoki, Lagos

Members of the working group on advocacy visit to Chief of Nupe Ethnic Group in Lagos, Alhaji Jubril Dogo, Lagos State. L – R: Kudu Abubakar, P. A to the Director, Director of State Security Service, Adewale Adeoye and Taiwo Adeleye

Hausa – Fulani farmers at their biggest market in South West located in Mile 12 Outskirt of Lagos.

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