The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), national contact for Transparency International (TI) in Nigeria, conducted one-day orientation and training on the 17th of July, 2018, for focal staff of Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation, the partner organization hosting the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) in Lagos State.
The training was organized as part of an ongoing project called “Integrity, Mobilization, Participation, Accountability, Anticorruption and Transparency in Nigeria (IMPACT Nigeria), in collaboration with the TI-International Secretariat, Berlin and with support from Global Affairs Canada. As part of implementation of the project, CISLAC is setting up Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre desks in three (3) geo- political zones of the country so as to cater to the size of Nigeria and make reporting of corrupt practices to the ALAC easier for citizens who wish to do so. These ALAC desks will be hosted by partner organizations based in those geo-political zones. The objective of the orientation is to formally introduce the project to the ALAC focal staff and other supporting staff of the partner organization hosting the ALAC, train them on the modus operandi of the ALAC and the guidelines and framework of the project.
In his welcome remarks on behalf of the Executive Director of CISLAC, Salaudeen Hashim thanked Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation for agreeing to work with CISLAC in the fight against corruption and for agreeing to host the ALAC desk in Lagos State in a bid towards implementation of the ALAC component of the IMPACT project. He highlighted the effects of corruption in different parts of the country which has led to insecurity and insurgency in the north east and other parts of the country; poverty; female mortality rate; unemployment and a generally poor provision of essential basic amenities and services for citizens. He added that women are very important and influential in the society hence the choice to partner with Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation because of the work they do on women empowerment and anti- corruption.
The founder of Arise Nigeria Foundation, Mrs. Abimbola Junaid, welcomed CISLAC team to their office and assured them of the Foundation’s commitment to fighting corruption alongside CISLAC through ALAC which they are hosting. She stated that corruption has affected every facet of the society and there is a need for all hands to be on deck to fight it to the barest minimum so as to ensure a better society for all.
Barr. Bathsheba Tagwai, the ALAC officer mentioned that the fight against corruption must be one for all and not for selected individuals in the society, adding that in achieving a corrupt free society, everyone must be educated on the adverse effects of corruption in the country. While giving an overview of the project, the ALAC officer stated that ALAC operates as a centre for providing citizens with legal aid in receiving reports from victims and witnesses of corrupt practices, providing legal advice and forwarding the reports to relevant authorities while following up to ensure that the victims receive redress. The centre raises awareness of the existing forms of corruption; informs and educates citizens on their rights; receives and handles citizens’ reports about corruption through a toll-free hotline and social media platforms; collaborates with MDAs of government as well as private organizations.
Furthermore, she gave an update of all the activities that have been carried out during the implementation of the project in the last two years, of which CISLAC has organized Corruption Risk Assessment Training for partner organizations across three geo-political zones (south-south, south-west and north-west); sensitization for citizens and women groups across three geo- political zones to create awareness on the ALAC and educate them on their rights and responsibilities (south-east, north-east, south-south and north central); sensitization in tertiary institutions in three geo-political zones (south-south, north-west and south-west), sensitization for communities in three geo-political zones (south-west, north central and north-west). Radio jingles creating awareness on the ALAC have been produced in Igbo, Hausa, Igbo, English and Pidgin and aired on radio stations across five geo-political zones of the country; buy in of a number of government institutions such as National Orientation Agency (NOA), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Presidential Advisory Commission against Corruption (PACAC) to collaborate on the project has been secured and MoUs signed with some of them. A sizeable number of reports have been received by the ALAC. Some have been resolved while others are still being investigated by the relevant institutions. Lastly, an anti-corruption commitment charter has been developed and uploaded on the CISLAC website for youths and the public to sign unto as a way of actively showing their commitment to shunning and fighting corruption.
The participants present were also trained on the methodology of the operations of ALAC and emphasis made on the need for everything to be done in accordance with the guidelines provided within the framework of the project. IEC materials such as handbills, jotters, t-shirts and fliers were also given to all participants and Arise Nigerian Foundation for personal consumption and distribution to the public.
There were six (6) participants that included the ALAC focal staff and other supporting staff of the partner organization.
The orientation, which took place at the office of Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation, is the first in a series of three to be held in different geo-political zones of the country.