What a remarkable moment it has been for Nigerians in the last few weeks. What used to be a social media uproar against the highhandedness of ‘Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force coupled with the pain of far too many cases of police brutality has spilled over to the streets of cities across Nigeria; a situation that hitherto seemed impossible. Like author and social activist, Bura-Bari Nwilo, puts it, ‘The generation that’s known for pressing phone also knows how to register its displeasure.’ This is what demonstrators, mostly youths, have attested to as they demand an end to the infamous SARS and also for the total reform of the police.
The hashtag EndSARS has trended on social media for a few years undulating as if it were just the flutter of a lazy generation of youths. Truth be told, all the while, the accusations of police brutality were not any less gruesome. Some complains surface on twitter and cause reasonable traffic and awareness and then flicker away without any definite results in terms of justice for the victims or accountability on the part of the police and its agents. This trend has been managed with one form of concession from the police authorities, usually an announcement of guideline changes in the operations of the SARS or some other public statement that usually calmed nerves. Other times the wave got taken over by other raves and hasgtags. This time the smouldering heap wants to keep burning and understandably so.
How do we explain that after repeated outcry, a writer or computer programmer cannot go about freely with his or her laptop for fear of being harassed by the police? How do we explain that a father cannot buy his son or relative an upscale mobile phone for fear of confrontation with the police? And the other more troubling instances. Nobody needs to leave in a terrorised society. And I believe this is very true for every Nigerian, whether from the North or South; be you rich or poor, leader or led, security agent or not. Unfortunately that’s how we feel when we are faced with Boko Haram, herdsmen crisis and insensitivity of security agents who prowl our streets with guns and unwarranted intimidation. Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe acknowledged this while addressing demonstrators in Abuja. He agreed that we all want a ‘Nigeria that is peaceful, a Nigeria that is progressive, a country that works for everybody.’ We need a Nigeria where security agents go about their work humanely and appreciate that the common man is not their enemy. That we don’t need to continue with this state of confrontation amidst the common pressures of everyday life in Nigeria.
We are all in this trouble together and perhaps no single person or institution can be blamed for the rot of our society. It is also true that everyone of us should be tired of the rot by now. The demonstrations of the last few weeks is the youth of this country making it clear that we cannot continue to keep away from our challenges and run to other climes to find meaning and realize dreams.
‘The youths of Nigeria are angry’, Aisha Yusufu said on Arise TV. The reasons for this anger is not far-fetched and it is clear that the people have got to boiling point. Who doesn’t know that we have been on a ticking bomb. As a society, Nigeria is not exempted from the kind of incidents we’ve seen happen in other regions in recent history; whether it is the Spring in the Middle East or the Occupy in the West. It is important that our handlers realize this reality and avoid the dangerous arrogance of believing that it’s ‘under control’ through the usual gimmicks and perhaps violence. We need to begin to value life and be concerned about the disregard for basic human dignity that has characterized our public life over the years. There needs to be change.
No doubt the demonstration is registering where it matters. That is not to say the results are guaranteed or that it should be abandoned at this stage. It is an admission that it is a great thing that it is happening now. The youths have exhausted their thirst for twitter activism as the trust gap between the citizens and the government and its agencies is at its worst position.
Thankfully, the demonstrations have remained peaceful across the country in spite of provocations in some places. The movement has also matured to formulate clear and attainable demands from the government and security agents.
Some of our leaders also have shown genuine care. They understand that the demonstrations are reflections of discontent over the state of affairs in this country, which the more humble ones do not attempt to exonerate themselves from. The Inspector General of Police has shown goodwill in his tone towards pacifying demonstrators, regardless of the error of not delaying the public announcement of the formation of another police squad less than 48 hours after the publicized disbandment of SARS.
Every Nigerian, whether in support of the demonstrations or not, has to understand that the protest is for the good of us all and for generations unborn. Like Femi Falana admitted, it should be an awakening for every Nigerian leader and a motivation to muster the courage to do the right thing, to think of the wider good of the Nigerian people and realize that a troubled country will burn through every barrier of class, tribe and religion. (to be contd)
By Jide Aluka
Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Right (CCIDESOR) has insisted that poverty must end now if the country is to connect to the comity of developed countries.
CCIDESOR noted that the only way to address poverty is by ensuring that good governance tripoded on accountability, transparency and citizens engagement are seriously addressed, adding that any government that does not revolve around these governance issues may be running the leitmotif without having to address the plights, aspiration and expectation of the citizens.
‘In a world characterized by an unprecedented level of economic development, technological means and financial resources, that millions of persons are living in extreme poverty is a moral outrage. Poverty is not solely an economic issue, but rather a multidimensional phenomenon that encompasses a lack of both income and the basic capabilities to live in dignity’.
Persons living in poverty experience many interrelated and mutually reinforcing deprivations that prevent them from realizing their rights and perpetuate their poverty, including, dangerous work conditions, unsafe housing, lack of nutritious food, unequal access to justice, lack of political power and limited access to health care.
The federal and state governments should deploy their governance pattern towards the realization of these, in so doing, the spate of poverty would have been addressed which is in line with SDG 2020.
According to Mahatma Gandhi, poverty is a form of violence. In the light of the above, Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Right (CCIDESOR) has called on the governments at all levels to address the spate of poverty in the land by improving the economy.
Speaking to newsmen, the Executive Director of CCIDESOR, Ogechi Ikeh noted that as the world celebrates International Non-Violence Day, the federal and state governments should begin to look at those sectors that enhance the economy, like the educational sector, health, roads, market system to check the high cost of food items, hospitals by making sure that citizens can access avoidable health services among other indices that grow the economy.
The Executive Director used the day to call on state and non-actors to reaffirm “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence”.
It would be recalled that “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man”.
As the world marks the International Day for Girl-Child, a pro-women’s rights organization has called for more voices to be given to the girl-child through breaking of silence on societal stereotypes attached to the female gender.
Speaking with WHISTLER correspondent in Owerri, Monday, Ogechi Ikeh, Executive Director, Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) called for the discouragement of the culture of silence in ‘our society, where the voice of the girl-child is subdued, leaving her voiceless, powerless, helpless and almost useless in the face of all sorts of violence and abuse’.
According to Ikeh, “We recognize the fact that a young girl’s voice is powerful and very important, and plays a very vital role in determining her future, which is our equal future. Our society is patriarchal, and the norms have relegated the young girls and women to the background, subjecting them to all forms of discrimination, sexual gender-based violence, physical abuse, economic violence, psychological abuse and social deformation.
“With a very poor and abysmal representation of women in decision-making positions in public offices, it has become imperative to encourage women and girls to amplify their voices and break the silence of culture to curb this menace called violence. We promote young girls’ participation in leadership and governance where decisions affecting their future are taken; ensuring that they have access to quality education; preserve their sexual reproductive health rights, and enable them with skills and entrepreneurship; as well as discourage trafficking.”
She added that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA) ‘is the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing the rights of not only women but girls’, adding that, “Nearly 25 years later, the Platform for Action remains a powerful foundation for assessing progress on gender equality. It calls for a world where every girl and woman can realize all her rights, her full potentials, such as to live free from violence.”
She said some of the measures to safeguard the rights of women include, “Elimination of all forms of discrimination, negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls; promotion and protection of the rights of girls and increase awareness of their needs and potentials; elimination of discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training; avoiding discrimination against girls in health and nutrition, economic exploitation of child labour and protection of young girls at work; promotion of girls’ participation in social, economic and political life, and strengthening the role of the family in improving the status of girls.”
She called on all actors, stakeholders, and government agencies to promote the rights of the girl-child by ensuring that they live free from all forms of violence and discrimination.
Our correspondent reports that the International Day for Girl-Child is held every 11th October. This year’s celebration has as its theme, ‘My voice, our equal future’.
The Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has urged state and non-state actors to ensure the protection of the girl child especially in the face of COVID-19.
CCIDESOR called on citizens to take a cue from this year’s theme of the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child. “Empowering Girls For a Brighter Tomorrow”, adding that there is need for other civil society organizations to add their strong voices to the protection of the girl child. ‘Giving a girl a secondary education is far better than getting her married to the richest man in the world, as being educated will help her enjoy better health, take care of herself and the children she will give birth to’.
CCIDESOR also stated that ‘education alone will not be enough for the Girl child to tackle the boundaries of tradition, stressing that parents should ensure that the Girls are taught to be strong enough to resist the evils of societal pressures under which they are often buckled’.
CCIDESOR pointed out that empowered educated Girls have healthier, better educated children and higher wages thereby helping to break the circle of poverty in society as well as strengthen economies.
CCIDESOR hinted that if the girl child is protected from sexual harassment, intimidation and violence, the society will be stable to develop other facets of human thrives.
As Nigeria marks her 60 years old as a Nation, there has been remarkable milestone which is worthy to be celebrated.
Our dear country Nigeria has been faced with many challenges starting with leadership and insecurity which Nigeria is plagued with even as we advance in age has worsened and people live in fear of the unknown from herdsmen attack to terrorists and kidnappers scare etc. According to statistics recently by the Nigeria security tracker, 25,794 were killed between 2015 and 2019 and more than 100,000 persons have been killed by Boko Haram while 1.9 million people have been displaced because of conflict and violence ; more than half of these people are children. Three quarter of those internally displaced found shelter with host communities who are among the World’s poorest people.
Furthermore, our indices of growth and development are on the decline, population growth is 3% while economic growth is at 2%, life expectancy rate is 55 year.
Electricity consumption is at a meager 3,500 to 4,000 MW. Currently Nigeria uses four different types of energy: natural gas, oil, hydro and coal. The energy sector is heavily dependent on petroleum as a method for electricity production which has slowed down the development of alternative forms of energy. Three out of the four above resources used for energy production in Nigeria are linked with increasing greenhouse gas emissions: coal, oil and natural gas, with coal emitting the worst of the three. Nigeria needs to invest in sustainable resources because of the obvious signs that it will be strongly impacted by environmental change such as: desertification, droughts, flooding, and water shortages. The biggest blow to Nigeria would be the low-lying areas that contain many of their natural resources being flooded if ocean levels rise as predicted
Unemployment is rising with an all time high of 23.10% in 3rd quarter 2018. One in every two Nigerians in the country’s labor force is either unemployed or underemployed. With a labor force of 80.2 million, that means about 21.7 million Nigerians are unemployed, a figure that exceeds the population of 35 of Africa’s 54 countries. Among young Nigerians aged between 25 and 34, the largest bloc of the labor force, the unemployment rate currently stands even higher, at 30.7%.
The lack of entrepreneurship has led to lack of jobs in Africa’s largest economy and most populous country which has increased crime rate and this is unlikely to get better soon. The World Bank predicts Nigeria’s flailing economy is set for its worst recession in four decades as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to manifest. Nigeria has been badly hit by the near total shutdown of the global oil economy, given its dependence on the commodity as its biggest revenue source.
written by Agatha Alohan
In ensuring that the Okigwe Senate Re-Run Election becomes free and fair, the Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has continued to partner with Independent National Electoral commission (INEC), Imo State towards making sure the election goes according to the tenets of democracy.
CCIDESOR noted that the needed awareness and sensitization as the election draws near close must be heightened so that citizens who are the real beneficiary of good governance are adequately kept abreast of the update of the election so that no one is disenfranchised in the election.
CCIDESOR urges citizens to vote for candidate of their choice without having to be coaxed to voting for somebody who has not convinced them of his/her availability, adding that they should vote for candidate whose campaign promises are tangible, accessible and realistic and not those who make bogus promises without plan of achieving them.
‘It is an era of realistic campaign promises and the need to understand that political decisions determine economic well-being of the citizens is key in every election, while urging citizens to come out en-masse and exercise their fundamental rights’, CCIDESOR submitted.
As the international Day is being celebrated every year, Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has called on leaders of the country to celebrate the event with transparency, accountability and citizens’ inclusiveness in mind.
CCIDESOR posited that there should be democracy metre to gauge the performance of elected representatives along the line of their campaign promises, stressing that some elected representatives have left their campaign promises with which they won elections, which if seen, is democratic deceit and needs to be brought to track using the gauge.
There is therefore a need for deliberate effort in educating the political parties on the importance of keeping campaign promises in ensuring accountability and good governance, civic education on the side of citizens and constituents on how to engage people seeking their vote constructively.
CCIDESOR posited that until the elected representatives begin to adhere strictly to the campaign promises upon which good governance is achieved especially in the face of the COVID-19, the realization of good governance will be wide goose chase.
As the World Humanitarian Day is being celebrated, Citizens Centre For Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has provided life saving information like posting issues on social media platforms, newspapers among others of how to stay safe, various means through which the COVID-19 could be contacted.
CCIDESOR believed that the community member needed to be abreast of what it took to stay away from crowd, maintain social distancing, washing of hands and other non-pharmaceutical measures needed to stay safe and CCIDESOR has provided those intangible supports to citizens through her various social media platforms.
In this celebration, the world commemorates humanitarian workers killed and injured in the course of their work, and we honour all aid and health workers who continue, despite the odds, to provide life-saving support and protection to people most in need.
Indeed, this year World Humanitarian Day which holds every 19th August continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic over recent months. Aid workers are overcoming unprecedented access hurdles to assist people in humanitarian crises in 54 countries, as well as in a further nine countries which have been catapulted into humanitarian need by the COVID-19 pandemic. CCIDESOR urged the government at all levels to encourage those doing one humanitarian work or another, especially the health workers, CSOs, development workers, journalists by improving their condition of work as those will motivate them to serve better