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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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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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MASS KILLINGS: ENGAGE COMMUNITY, MULTINATIONAL APPROACH TO CONFLICT, GROUP URGES FG

MASS KILLINGS: ENGAGE COMMUNITY, MULTINATIONAL APPROACH TO CONFLICT, GROUP URGES FG

Press Release

PRESIDENT MOHAMMADU BUHARI has been urged to personally lead the peace resolution efforts based on bilateral and multinational approach to end needless killings and armed violence in many parts of the country. If the violence continues unchecked, Nigeria may slip into a killing field where the government and security agencies will become helpless.

The National Working Group on Peace and Conflict Prevention, an initiative of the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) after its meeting at the weekend in Lagos said reports of violence and mind-boggling incidences of killings of people including children, the aged and the physically challenged have been grossly underreported owing to lack of access to the media and official censorship.

The meeting was attended by 30 representatives of ethnic, religious and community-based groups spread across the country.

The Working Group in a release after the national meeting said verifiable evidence from contacts in troubled communities indicate that an average of 100 people are killed every week in the Middle Belt hotspots. It said the government appears not to have an effective economic road map apart from expenditure on sophisticated arms and ammunition.

The report was signed by Mr Akinwale Kasali, Mallam Sulaiman Sanusi and Mr Digifa Noel Werinipre. The group said following the 18-month nation-wide peace building programme with the support of the Ford Foundation, it was able to attain an important status to receive prompt and adequate reports on the killings and wanton destruction of lives which assume dangerous proportion daily.

In April, the working group facilitated a meeting of representatives of community-based groups in the South and Middle belt attended by about 120 representatives.

It urged the Presidency and the National Assembly to create a non-military multi-national and bilateral mechanism for the quick resolution of the festering crisis. The working group said the Federal Government urgently needs to engage community and faith-based groups in troubled spots where violence continue to rage especially in the Middle Belt  as part of the steps needed to put an end to incessant killings.

The group said apart from the constructive engagement of local groups, there is the need for a civil multinational mechanism to work out modalities towards bringing the crisis to an end.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JOURNALISTS FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS, (JODER)

Free Speech.   Free Spirit.  Free World

Office Address: 14, Aina Eleko Street, Onigbongbo, Maryland, Lagos.

Tel: 08051212398, 07065990938

E-mail: joder1996@yahoo.com

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

Abuja- January 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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