Press Statement on the Xenophobic Attacks by South Africans on Foreign Nationals in their Country.

For Immediate Release

20th April 2015

Press Statement Issued by the State of the Union Nigeria Campaign Platform (SOTU-N-CAMP) on the Xenophobic Attacks by South Africans on Foreign Nationals in their Country.

Preamble

The State of the Union Nigeria Campaign Platform (SOTU-N-CAMP) is the Nigerian national platform of State of the Union (SOTU), which is an Africa continental campaign that demands and strengthens Nigerian Citizen’s participation in policy development, implementation and monitoring within the African Union (AU). SOTU-N-CAMP comprises 29 Civil Society Organizations working extensively across all governance thematic areas. 

Following the barbarous, erratic and most inhumane xenophobic attacks meted out by South Africans in what the world has commonly renounced and lambasted, the State of the Union Nigeria Campaign Platform deems it fit to issue this statement.

Text

The State of the Union Nigeria Campaign Platform is deeply saddened by the current spate of gross misconduct, astonishing cruelty and brutal attacks being perpetuated by certain unscrupulous elements of the South African populace which has led to the loss of lives and properties of non nationals carrying on legitimate businesses and living peacefully within stipulated confines and provisions of the Laws of the South African State.

SOTU-N-CAMP notes with profound regret the conduct of these sets of criminals and calls on the South African government to as a matter of scurried urgency institute all duly recognized government mechanisms and willpower to nip in the bud all manner of xenophobic attacks and every trace similar to racial intolerance that is fast becoming a trend within South African.

While the attacks which for the want of a better word within the English lexicon is best described as gruesome have continued in the last couple of days without any meaningful end in sight, the South African people have mostly looked-on with the governments’ condemnation and deployment of security personnel on the streets clearly lacking the much needed deterrent to halt the attacks.

SOTU-N-CAMP calls on the government and people of South Africa to at this extreme and critical moment adorn the strength of character and its entire semblance that such challenging situations demand in ensuring that these attacks are brought to an immediate stop.

This platform recalls with severe depression the enormous contributions Nigeria and other well meaning African countries made to South Africa during the perfidious apartheid regime that lasted several decades. We note that this was done in the spirit of solidarity and brotherhood and are deeply concerned of the insistence of South Africans to carry on such crimes that shock the very existence of humanity in the name of xenophobia. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, we call on the South African Government in particular and the international community as a whole to be constantly reminded of the Responsibility to Protect under International Law and several global, continental and regional instruments. The South African government must go beyond mere condemnation to institute every necessary deterrent measure that any disciplined government must have as a monopoly.

While we also call on the African Union to begin all necessary inquiries into these continued attacks as a number of such attacks have been both reported and unreported in time past, we must also pass the message to these sets of common criminals trying to place the good people of South Africa in bad light of the dangers they put their countrymen/women across the globe due to reprisal attacks. 

Signed

Barr. Ken Ukaoha                                               Austin Erameh

Chairman, SOTU-N-CAMP                    Secretary, SOTU-N-CAMP

A Time To Take Action

IMG_0560-0A TIME TO TAKE ACTION: DEMANDS FOR A COMPREHENSIVE ACTION PLAN TO ADDRESS THE MISSING CHIBOK GIRLS AND THE DEEPENING CRISIS IN THE NORTHEAST

A Press Statement by the IAMCHIBOK Coalition on the One Year Commemoration of the Chibok Girls Abductions April 14th 2015

 

On April 14th, 2014, 276 school girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, North East Nigeria. One year later 219 girls are still missing. Despite international outcry, the situation that surrounds the abductions of the girls has deteriorated to a deepening crisis in the North East of Nigeria. We strongly condemn the crimes against children, women and men, further abductions of persons, the use of girl children as suicide bombers, the onslaught of sexual slavery and sexual violence, the attacks on human life and dignity, the targeting of educational and religious institutions and the continued insecurity.

 

We are dismayed by the government’s failure to respond to the social and psychological crisis of parents and families of the abducted girls, many of whom have died in the last year. We ask for urgent attention to be paid to the millions of Nigerians impacted by the crisis most of whom are in need of protection and care.  We condemn the abuses against women and children in IDP camps which should be a haven of safety.

 

We further decry the failure of the Nigerian government to address the systemic issues underlying the crisis including the low level of development in Northern Nigeria which has created a fertile ground for extremism and social discontent. We note the urgent need to address the long term implications of the crises, including girl-child education, rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers and the impact of the insurgency on community stability, agriculture and food security.

 

We welcome efforts by the United Nations and the international community including the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC). We take note of various regional, continental and international efforts including the Paris Summit and other regional summits including the resolutions of the AUPSC, the United Nations Security Council, the larger UN body and various national legislative bodies. Lastly we hope for the immediate implementation of their resolutions to combat terrorism in the region.

 

OUR DEMANDS

We hereby call for the creation of a comprehensive, systematic ACTION PLAN FOR THE RESTORATION OF NORTHEASTERN NIGERIA to address the short and long term implications of the crisis, facilitate the rescue of the Chibok girls and other abducted persons, rehabilitate and reintegrate them, restore families and reconstruct communities while putting in place concrete measures to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again. We hereby make the following demands:

 

1)     RESPONSE AND RESCUE

We commend the establishment of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNTJF) and recommend that all necessary support be given to support its operations. MTNJF is a critical instrument for ensuring effective resolution to the occupation of cities, towns and villages and the rescue of the Chibok girls and other abducted persons. We urge the operationalisation of the the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis (ACIRC), the African Standby Force (ASF) and its Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC). We recommend the set up of a SPECIAL MISSION FOR THE SEARCH AND RESCUE OF ABDUCTED PERSONS under the MNJTF to ensure that all missing persons are found and rescued and restored to Nigerian soil, where necessary.

 

2)     REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION OF VICTIMS

We recommend the establishment of a SPECIAL TASK FORCE FOR THE REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION OF PERSONS as a joint operation of the National Emergency Management Agency, the National Human Rights Commission and other relevant Agencies. The Task Force will be charged with putting in place adequate support structures for the complete rehabilitation and reintegration of all victims, refugees and internally displaced persons. It will manage the Victim Supports Fund and can establish, among other programmes, a FAMILY TRACING AND REUNIFICATION PROGRAMME (FTR). We demand the comprehensive identification of victims’ bodies through DNA testing and the compensation for all families who have lost members in the crisis.  The immediate set up of HEALING CAMPS AND HEALING CENTRES for the holistic rehabilitation of persons who have suffered from abuse and trauma with qualified mental health practitioners and other relevant professionals must be a priority.

 

3)     RESTORATION OF COMMUNITIES

We demand documentation of the activities of the Victim Support Fund and drastic improvements in the situation of Internally Displaced Persons with systematic and time-bound actions to restore communities and rebuild livelihoods and the collapsed education system under a POST CONFLICT SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY LIVELIHOODS PROGRAMME.  We recommend the expansion of the SAFE SCHOOLS INITIATIVE to include interim schooling for IDP children and the restoration of the education system in all affected states. We recommend the creation of a CIVL-SOCIETY PRIVATE SECTOR COALITION to increase and mainstream civil society and private sector participation under the coordination of the National Human Rights Commission with support of development partners and the private sector.

 

4)     JUSTICE AND TRANSPARENCY

We call for the establishment of PUBLIC HEARINGS modeled after the process in Rwanda after the genocide, which will allow persons to tell their stories and have these stories documented as crimes against persons and communities. We recommend the establishment of a CIVILIAN COMPLAINTS REGISTER in which citizens can make complaints and document crimes under the National Human Rights Commission. We demand a SPECIAL INTERNATIONAL INQUIRY ON THE ROLE OF THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT IN PROTECTING CIVILIANS to investigate the role of the Nigerian government and cases in which it has neglected to protect its citizens during the years of Boko Haram insurgency and occupation.

 

5)     PREVENTION

We demand for the immediate set up of a comprehensive EARLY WARNING AND RESPONSE SYSTEM and support of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).  We urge for the immediate set up of a NATIONAL CHILD HELPLINE. We recommend the creation of a Local Government REGISTER OF CITIZENS and advocate for the strengthening of HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS within the country which would include support for the training of Armed Forces in Human Rights with strict adherence to international laws guiding military action and conduct with civilian populations. We recommend the set up of comprehensive governmental and non-governmental programmes to support the development of children and youth and their social and economic inclusion and the establishment of counter-terrorism mechanisms within Nigeria, ECOWAS and the ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF CENTRAL AFRICAN STATES (ECCAS).

 

As members of civil society we commit ourselves to continued advocacy for the above demands while at the same time putting in place programmes and projects to assist in our own capacity. We offer the collective assistance and expertise of hundreds of civil society organizations around the world and thousands of individual volunteers who have selflessly advocated for the cause of the girls to work with the Nigerian government, the United Nations, the African Union, ECOWAS, the ECCAS  and all related international and national agencies and organizations to make the rescue of the Chibok Girls and other captives a reality while ensuring that what has taken place NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. We believe that these actions will lead us closer to the rescue of the Chibok girls and the restoration of peace and stability in North Eastern Nigeria. A nation is only strong when it protects its weak.

 

 

Signed:

 

 

R. Nanre Nafziger-Mayegun

Hafsat Abiola-Costello

Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli

Professor Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome

Habiba Balogun

Dr. Nnenna Mba-Oduwusi

Steve Bisi Aborisade

Ngozi Obigwe

Samirah Farouk

Titilope Akosa

Ramaa Mosley

Pamela Braide

Adeola Awogbami

Amy Oyekunle

Fadekemi Akinfaderin-Agarau

Feyi Boroffice

Biola Alabi

Olayide Akanni

Victor Adejoh

Magaji Buba

Osayi Alile

 

 

For IAMCHIBOK COALITION

PRESS RELEASE ON GUBERNATORIAL AND STATE

 

 

 

Issued: By the Women’s Situation Room-Nigeria

Date:   Saturday, 11th April 2015

 

The Women’s Situation Room-Nigeria (WSR-Nigeria) is observing the elections for the Governorship and the State House of Assemblies in nine (9) states covering the six (6) geo-political zones in Nigeria. The WSR-Nigeria perceived that with the announcement of the Presidential elections and the stakes becoming higher, the potential for violence would grow higher hence the need for early warning and early response pre, during and after the April 11th elections. This led to the setting up of a second physical Situation Room in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, one of the states identified as a flashpoint for violence.

 

Reports coming from our observers and the general public indicate that generally, the commencement of accreditation started on time as the INEC officials arrived in good time and the massive failure of the card readers reported during the Presidential election was minimal. The WSR-Nigeria however notes with concern electoral malpractices that were experienced in some polling units across the country; in Nasarawa State, we received reports of the electorates being chased away and mass thumb printing being done by unknown persons; in Anambra State in Ekwusigo LGA we received a report of the elections materials being seized at the RAC center; in Jigawa State there were incidents of the destruction of card readers by a political party and snatching of ballot boxes,while in Edo State there were reports of buying of votes on the queue by some political parties.

 

Reports of violence ranging from arson, violence against women, shootings, intimidation by heavily armed men have come in from Abia, Nasarawa, Rivers, Abia, Lagos, Anambra, Delta, Rivers, Imo, Gombe, Benue and Akwa Ibom States. There were reports of violence committed against the police from Rumola and Ogu-Bolu both in Rivers State.

 

General:

We are concerned about the blatant electoral malpractices being perpetrated with impunity by political parties and its corresponding violence, putting the safety and security of women and Nigerians in general, in jeopardy.

 

We commend the INEC for being resolute in pursuing the implementation of the Electoral process, as indicated by reports of improved performance of the card readers and commencement of accreditation and voting processes to mention a few. We further call on INEC to maintain its integrity of the electoral process and do the right thing without fear or favour.

 

We call on the security forces to close ranks and amplify their efforts to uphold the rule of law and ensure the safety and security of lives and property.

 

Lastly,but certainly not least,we call on political parties to put Nigeria first.

 

 

Contact information:

Website:www.nwppe.org

Email:info@nwppe.org

Twitter: @nwppe

Facebook:Facebook.com/nwppe

Hotlines: 0800-2255977

Call To Adopt Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Charter

Engagement with Female candidates
Engagement with Female candidates

25th March, 2015

Press Release: Lagos

 

 

Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) Calls On Female  Candidates Contesting 2015 Elections  in Lagos State To Adopt The Gender Equality and  Social Inclusion Charter

The Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT), formally presented a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Charter signed and adopted by willing female candidates vying for elective positions in the 2015 General Elections in Lagos. The pact, which was signed on Tuesday, 17th March, by some female candidates of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People Democratic Party (PDP), is still open for adoption by more female candidates.

LASGAT, an ensemble of organizations and individuals working for gender equality, women’s empowerment and social inclusion, therefore, calls on the electorate to use the opportunities provided by the 2015 general elections to vote for candidates with demonstrable capacity for improving the lives and status of women, children, people living with disabilities, the youth, marginalized and   socially vulnerable communities in Lagos state.

Meanwhile, LASGAT will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to promote peace in the course of the 2015 elections, while engaging the candidates to ensure their compliance with agreement reached on its 7 Asks.  LASGAT expects that a viable collaboration on gender mainstreaming and inclusive participation will facilitate the enactment of the Gender and Equal Opportunities bill and increase women’s participation in politics from less than 10 percent to at least 35%.

As the nation slowly approaches the May 29 swearing-in of elected government at the federal and state levels, LASGAT asks that all elected candidates in Lagos State, commit to; (i) the implementation of the Lagos State Development Plan 2012-2025; (ii) inclusive education; (iii) investment in women and youth empowerment and livelihoods (iv) affordable health care services and social security; (v) gender equality and inclusive governance; (vi) providing basic amenities and infrastructural development, and, (vii) protecting and strengthening the enforcement of basic rights

Overall, the components of the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Charter of LASGAT are desirable not only to gain the confidence of the people but also to ensure the integrity of the governance system in Lagos state. Knowing the Charter will undoubtedly speed up women’s active involvement and meaningful participation in building a Lagos for all, we look forward to a viable engagement with all elected officials on the cross-cutting issues of gender.

Signed

Dr Keziah Awosika                                        Ms Titilope Akosa

Chairperson LASGAT                                     Cordinator LASGAT

PRESS RELEASE BY CENTRE FOR 21ST CENTURY ISSUES (C21st) ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF PERMANENT VOTER CARDS AND CONTINUOUS VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE IN LAGOS STATE

The centre for 21st century is concerned about the various logistics challenges that have characterized the commencement of the distribution of the Permanent Voter card (PVC) in Lagos state.

On ground reports and reports monitored on various news media indicates that all is not smooth with the PVC distribution. Some pooling units where distribution is supposed to have commenced are still empty. In some other places many are yet to obtain their PVC because it is not yet available, while some others are unable to locate their names on the voters register.

This disturbing lack of preparedness by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) could lead to loss of confidence in the electoral process and ability of INEC to conduct the 2015 general elections in a free and fair manner.

As of now, it is confirmed that INEC is able to commence distribution of the PVC in the following 11 Local Governments in Lagos state; Agege, Ajeromi –Ifelodun, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikeja, Mushin, Lagos Island , Lagos mainland, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Ojo. This distribution in this LGs is expected to conclude by 9th of November 2014

The second stage of the distribution exercise is now scheduled to hold from November 28 to November 30, 2014 in the following 9 Local government areas; Alimosho, Amuwo- Odofin, Apapa, Badagry, Oshodi-Isolo, Epe, shomolu, Surulere and Eti-Osa.

The continuous voter registration (CVR) is expected to hold from 12-17 of November, 2014. During the CVR, any person who has attained the voting age of 18 years and those who registered in the last exercise but could not find their name in the register will be eligible to register.

C21st hereby calls on INEC to;
• Ensure that PVCs are available for collection by the electorates at the designated collection points before the end of the distribution exercise.
• Resolve all logistics problems and ensure that the CVR that will commence on November 12 and the second state of the PVC collection is not marred by logistical challenges that characterized the PVC collection in the last few days.

C21st also call on the general public, residents and all citizens of Lagos state not to be deterred by the perennial challenges of non- supply of materials and other logistics challenges from coming out en mass to collect their PVC and or register to vote as the case may be on the stated dates.

reminded that the PVC your ticket to making your voice heard and voting for change in the 2015 general elections in Nigeria. Sacrifice your time; make efforts to collect your PVC and register! Don’t allow any inconveniences to deny you of your inalienable right to vote!

Signed
Ms Titilope Akosa
Executive Director,
Centre For 21st Century Issues

FACT SHEET: U.S. Efforts to Assist the Nigerian Government in its Fight against Boko Haram

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 14, 2014

FACT SHEET: U.S. Efforts to Assist the Nigerian Government in its Fight against Boko Haram

In April 2014, the world was horrified to learn that the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram had abducted approximately 270 girls from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. In the six months since, some girls have been reunited with their families, but most remain in captivity, and Boko Haram has continued to terrorize the region. This year alone, the group has abducted hundreds of men, women, girls and boys and killed 3,000 people in Nigeria. President Obama has directed that the U.S. government do everything it can to help the Nigerian government find and free the abducted girls and, more broadly, to combat Boko Haram in partnership with Nigeria, its neighbors, and other allies. This support takes many forms but the goal is singular: to dismantle this murderous group.

Advisory Support to the Nigerian Government

The United States is assisting the Nigerian government to undertake more concerted, effective, and responsible actions to ensure the safe return of those kidnapped by Boko Haram, including through on-the-ground technical assistance and expanded intelligence sharing.

Multi-Disciplinary Team

· In May, the United States dispatched a multi-disciplinary team to Abuja to advise the Nigerians on how to secure the safe return of those kidnapped, encourage a comprehensive approach to address insecurity, and establish a capacity to respond more effectively in the future. These officials provide guidance to the Nigerian government on conducting a comprehensive response to Boko Haram that protects civilian populations and respects human rights.

· The team includes civilian and humanitarian experts, U.S. military personnel, law enforcement advisors and investigators as well experts in hostage negotiations, strategic communications, civilian security, and intelligence. The team continues to facilitate and coordinate information sharing and the provision of assistance for survivors and their families.

Expanded Intelligence Sharing

· The U.S. government also has provided the Nigerian government with Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) to aid Nigeria’s efforts to locate the missing girls.

Sanctions Against Boko Haram

In recent years, we have helped isolate Boko Haram’s leaders by leveraging our own authority to designate them as terrorists and by encouraging the United Nations to do so as well.

· In June 2012, the State Department designated Boko Haram’s top commanders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. In June 2013, the State Department added Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s official leader, to our Rewards for Justice Program and offered up to $7 million for information leading to his capture.

· In November 2013, the State Department designated Boko Haram and Ansaru, a splinter faction, as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. This designation empowers U.S. law enforcement and the Treasury Department to pursue these violent extremist organizations.

· The United States worked closely with Nigeria to pursue terrorist designations at the UN Security Council for Boko Haram, which were approved and took effect on May 22, 2014. These designations prohibit arms sales, freeze assets, restrict movement, and encourage regional cooperation.

Continued Engagement to Counter Boko Haram

The United States is committed to supporting efforts by Nigeria and its neighbors to combat the threat of Boko Haram more effectively and in a manner that respects human rights through a variety of assistance programs designed to advance regional cooperation, bolster rule of law, and strengthen security institutions.

· President Obama announced Nigeria’s participation in the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in August. SGI is a new Presidential initiative in which the United States and Nigeria will work to improve security sector institution capacity to protect civilians and confront challenges and threats, with integrity and accountability. To support a longer term focus, SGI involves multi-year funding commitments of increased U.S. support and requires sustained, high-level leadership and commitment by partner countries to pursue policies in support of the agreed upon goals.
· Nigeria is a partner in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, a U.S. government effort to enhance regional security sector capacity to counter violent extremism, improve country and regional border and customs systems, strengthen financial controls, and build law enforcement and security sector capacity.

· The State and Defense Departments are launching a $40 million Global Security Contingency Fund for Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria to counter Boko Haram. The program will provide technical expertise, training, and equipment to the four countries to develop institutional and tactical capabilities to enhance their respective efforts to counter Boko Haram, and to lay the groundwork for increased cross-border cooperation to counter Boko Haram.

· We work closely with other international partners, including the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, to enable information-sharing, alignment, and coordination on international strategies and programs to counter such threats in the region.

Support to Populations Affected by Boko Haram

Boko Haram is inflicting untold hardship on the people of Nigeria, with repercussions for men, women, girls, and boys throughout northeast Nigeria. The United States provides assistance to affected populations, including support to health, water, and sanitation services; the delivery of emergency relief supplies; and protection services, including psycho-social support for survivors of Boko Haram violence. The United States further invests in helping Nigeria to build security and increase opportunity in northeast Nigeria, including through education programs for girls and boys; maternal and child health services; and programs to strengthen democracy and governance and counter violent extremism by engaging leaders across society, including women.

· The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provides trauma counselling to survivors and their families, including those directly affected by the Chibok abduction, through a $4.5 million, five-year (2010-15) program. USAID also recently completed its third training for psycho-social support teams based in Borno–the locus of Boko Haram’s violence. The role of these social workers, health care providers, and other community members is to sensitize communities to prevent stigma against abductees when they return, and to provide psycho-social first aid to girls and their families.

· USAID is starting two new programs that will address critical educational needs for both girls and boys in northern Nigeria. A $20-30 million crisis response program will provide basic education to internally displaced persons and others affected by the violence in the northeast. In addition, a flagship five-year, $120 million program will strengthen education systems so that they can provide greater access and improve reading among primary school children.

· In support of the contributions women make to peace and prosperity, USAID is promoting women in leadership and peacemaking through a series of conferences and workshops. Training exercises in Kano and Sokoto states promoted tolerance across ethnic and religious lines through engagement with influential religious, traditional, and women leaders. Women participants came out with a plan to use “naming ceremonies” (common across most Nigerian cultures) to carry out campaigns against hate speech and electoral violence. Interfaith media dialogues discussed how women and other stakeholders can prevent electoral violence in the run up to the February 2015 elections and how women can contribute to Nigeria’s political and economic progress.

· USAID is launching the Nigeria Regional Transition Initiative to improve stability and strengthen democratic institutions in northeast Nigeria. The initiative will focus on building the resistance of communities vulnerable to the effects of violent extremist organizations, weak governance, and insecurity through increased positive engagement between government and communities; increased access to credible information; and support to reduce youth vulnerability to violent extremist influences.

· The State Department supports efforts to facilitate dialogue between local women activists and security-sector personnel and to highlight the role of female law-enforcement officers. State also supports a Hausa-language multi-media platform which includes a free-to-air satellite TV channel designed to serve northern Nigeria. The channel highlights the rich cultural diversity of northern Nigeria while offering programming with themes that reject political violence and violent extremism. It also includes programming intended to meet the needs of mothers with young children. One show highlights as role models women who have overcome obstacles and now own their own businesses or have obtained higher education. The objective is to show that any girl can grow up to be a strong contributor to her society

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Domestic Violence is a Crime: Make Lagos State Domestic Violence Free!

Being the Text of The Press Statement issued by Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) on the occasion of the Week of Action against Domestic Violence in Lagos State -October 13-17, 2014

Gentleman of the Press,
I welcome you all to this important occasion of the week of action against domestic violence that will be celebrated throughout Lagos state this week, 13-17th of October, 2014. This is the first of its kind in Nigeria, where collectively as Civil society, government and the private sector we are working to achieve the common goal of ensuring lasting cohesion and peace in our homes, communities, state and nation.

The week of action is very timely; it is coinciding with the celebration of the international day of the girl child whose theme “ending the circle of violence against the girl child” connects with the focus of the week of action. This succinctly calls to mind the criminal abduction of the Chibok girls and the general state of insecurity which pervades our land as a result of violent attacks unleashed by Boko Haram. The abduction of chibok girls is akin to crime against humanity of which domestic violence is no less.

The impacts of domestic violence and sexual assault on girls, women, youths, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups is a cause for concern. It is commendable that the state has responded as far back as 2007 to enact the Protection against Domestic Violence Law to protect everyone regardless of sex, age or marital status. This is a signal that government and all stakeholders can no longer accept the adornment of domestic violence in the garb of “family affair” but an offence punishable under the law.
This week of action is aimed at raising awareness about the criminal aspect of domestic violence, providing information about support services and encouraging citizens to break the culture of silence by reporting cases of violations and pursuing criminal litigation to punish offenders.

The Lagos state domestic violence law though did not criminalize domestic violence in absolute terms but it made adequate provisions for the granting of protection orders to prevent and protect victims from violence. Notwithstanding the existence of the law, low level of awareness about the law and the culture of condoning domestic violence as family affair not deserving to be reported as a crime, limits the enforcement of the law on perpetrators.

Overcoming the challenge of enforcing the law on perpetrators will mean commitment to massive awareness and working with the populace to break the mind-set that nurtures the culture of silence. Therefore, the challenge of changing mind-sets and encouraging survivors to take domestic violence as a criminal offence rest on our shoulders as game changers and agents of change. It is our collective responsibility to let the populace know that silence in the face of domestic violence or any form of violence at all is not accepted as virtue in any civilised society rather it is a vice which must be discouraged.

In the same vein, it must be recognized that the power in speaking out and changing mind-sets can only be realised when survivors are aware of preventive measures and accessible support services that are in place to protect them.
We commend the innovative approaches which Lagos state has so far adopted in addressing the issues of domestic violence, especially the training of policemen in handling cases of domestic violence and sexual assault, the setting up of the model police stations and family support unit; and the recent establishment of the Domestic Violence and sexual Assault response team. These are laudable initiatives that can strengthen the effective enforcement of the law and give victims the confidence to report violations.

While we acknowledge the enormous work that has already been done by Lagos state, a lot still needs to be done in sharing information to the public especially about the new approach in handling domestic violent cases at the family support unit now in existence in Adeniji Adele, Isokoko, Ilupeju and Panti Police stations. Of equal importance are the services of Mirabel centre in providing forensic tests required in substantiating criminal cases.

On the part of LASGAT and its partners, we will be raising awareness and encouraging the people of Lagos during this week of action to take full advantage of the law and support services provided by government and other stakeholders to prevent and protect people against domestic violence. Significantly, we will be unveiling our awareness stickers for the week and the Directory of institutions and organizations rendering support services on domestic violence in Lagos state.

We will continue to reiterate the responsibility of the state to fulfil the rights of citizens to life and bodily integrity and ensure that their rights are not violated by calling on the government to step up action to strengthen the enforcement of domestic violence Law through;
-Adopting and passing into law the sexual offences bill which is currently before the National Assembly. The sexual offences bill criminalizes all forms of violence including domestic violence in absolute terms. The bill is comprehensive, detailed and responds to almost all issues relating to sexual offences and domestic violence.

-Gathering data to enable the quantification of the economic and non- economic cost of domestic violence in the state to enable budgetary allocation needed to fight the scourge. We must not allow the damaging impacts of domestic violence to impede the ability of the resourceful population of Lagos state to contribute to the economic growth of the state.

-Developing policy guidelines that will ensure zero tolerance for trivializing the offence and letting perpetrators go free.

-Giving legal backing to the week of action against domestic violence as annual event to be celebrated throughout Lagos state.

We use this occasion to remember our chibok girls who are still suffering all manner of violence in the hands of their captors. We call on Nigerian government to step up action to get them released and reunited with their families.

We appreciate the support of our partners in making this week of action a reality. We particularly appreciate the continued support of the Department of International Development / State Accountability and voice Initiative (DFID/SAVI), Ministry of women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Office of the Attorney General of Lagos state, Iyaolojo General of Nigeria Mrs Folashade Tinubu Ojo, office of the Public Defender (OPD), SOS Children Villages, Save the children, Lagos state Civil Society Partnership (LASCOP),Laudable support for Women, Youth and community, The Canopy Organization, The group of 8 on violence against women comprising of; Partnership for Justice, Baobab for women’s Right, Women’s Right and Health Project (WP), Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON)., our media partners; Leadership Newspapers, Traffic Radio, LTV , Eko FM , Metro FM, UnilagFM, The News, Asha Initiative, Simonateba.com and of course the dynamic members of LASGAT.
Thank you for your support. Eko oni baje o!
Titilope Ngozi Akosa
Executive Director,
Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) and
Coordinator, Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team

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Centre for 21st Century Issues coordinates The Week of Action Against Domestic Violence in Lagos State

The Executive Director of centre for 21st century Issues As the Cordinator of Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team will be coordinating the activities of the week of action Against domestic violence in Lagos State which is scheduled to hold from 13- 17 of October 2014 throughout Lagos state.
The objective of the week of action is to raise awareness and provide information in Lagos state communities about Domestic Violence Law of Lagos State and provide information about support services that will assist victims to respond to the incidence of domestic violence.
Below is the schedule of events for the week.IMG_0557-1.JPG

International Day of the Girl Child 2014

Day of thegirl child
Girls learning

As we celebrate  the International Day of the Girl Child today 11th October 2014,  we remember the continued abduction of the Chibok girls for over 6months now and calls on Nigerian government to expedite action in rescuing the girls alive and ensure that the perpetrators of the heinous crime are brought to book.
We call on Nigerians and the international world  to continue to hold campaigns, vigils and demonstrations that will imprint the issue in the consciousness of all stakeholders to galvanize actions necessary to get the girls released.
Abduction of the chibok girls is a criminal act of violence and crime against humanity which must continued to be resisted.
Bring back our girls now! Secure and protect the future of the Nigerian girl child.
Lets join hands to end the circle of violence against the girl child
Ms Titilope Akosa
Executive Director
C21st

A CALL TO ACCELERATE ACTION IN ACHIEVING EQULAITY FOR NIGERIAN WOMEN BEING THE TEXT OF A PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY CENTRE FOR 21ST CENTURY ISSUES (C21st) ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2014 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN ‘S DAY CELEBRATION

A CALL TO ACCELERATE ACTION IN ACHIEVING EQULAITY FOR NIGERIAN WOMEN BEING THE TEXT OF A PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY CENTRE FOR 21ST CENTURY ISSUES (C21st) ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2014 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN ‘S DAY CELEBRATION
Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) join the global world in celebrating the International Women`s Day (IWD) today 8th March 2014.
This year’s IWD celebration is a very significant moment for Nigerian women in that it is coinciding with the celebration of Nigeria’s 100years as a Nation, the kicking off of the National Dialogue and the processes leading to the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Undoubtedly it is an important policy moment to raise awareness about critical areas where government needs to accelerate efforts in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria.
C21st welcome some states governments initiative in enacting gender sensitive Laws (such as Domestic violence law, child rights Law and the Gender equality and opportunities Law) and the efforts by the current government to achieve equality for Nigerian women through its various policy pronouncements supporting women’s right.
We are however deeply concerned that government words are yet to match their actions in achieving equality for the Nigerian woman. We are concerned that;
1. In spite of women ‘s contribution to the development of Nigeria , the percentage representation of women in politics and governance is still less than 35% affirmative action target stipulated under the Nigerian National gender policy.
2. The National dialogue which is a key policy space to galvanize action for the achievement of equality for women parades less than 35% representation for women.
3. Nigeria still has one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world
4.Women and girls in Nigeria are still exposed to all forms of violence and abuse. One in 3 women and girls aged 15-24 have been victims of violence.
5.Majority of Nigerian women are still poor and Nigerian women has one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa.
6. Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of gender energy poverty index.
7. Women and girls are at the receiving end of disasters occasioned by the impacts of climate change and the violent conflicts.
8.As the nation is progressing with the global world to transit from the M DGs to the new SDGs, Nigeria still displays high level of inequality which disproportionately affects women.

21st hereby calls for accelerated action in the above highlighted areas and calls on Nigerian government and all stakeholders to as a matter of urgency;
1.Implement 35% affirmative action to increase the number of women in politics and governance
2.Increase women representation to not less than 35% in the forthcoming National dialogue.
3. Ensure that gender equality and women empowerment issues are central in all discussions during the National Dialogue
3.Strengthen the implementation of domestic violence law and enact the gender equality and opportunities Law in all states of the federation
4.Ensure protection and adequate security for the lives and property of all Nigerians especially those living in the Boko- Haram catchment areas
5.Adopt and implement minimum social protection floors and /standard to address poverty, losses and damages arising from the impacts of climate change and inequality generally for equitable and just development.

C21st joins Nigerian women in mourning the death of children and other citizens killed as a result of Boko- Haram attacks in the Northern part of Nigeria and pray that God will give the families of the dead the fortitude to bear the losses.
We celebrate and congratulate all women including Nigerian women for their relentless effort in achieving equality for women.
God bless Nigerian women.
Signed

MS Titilope Akosa
Executive Director Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st), Lagos, Nigeria
This 8th day of March 2014
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