DECLARATION OF ACTION AFTER THE BI-MONTHLY MEETING OF THE NATIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY CONSULTATIVE FORUM ON PEACE AND SECURITY CONVENED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) WITH SUPPORT FROM NIGERIA STABILITY AND RECONCILIATION PROGRAMME HELD IN KANEM SUITES, UTAKO DISTRICT, ABUJA ON THE 10TH DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2016
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) convened the Bi-Monthly Meeting of the National Civil Society Consultative Forum on Peace and Security. The meeting was attended by the Hon. National Commissioner – North Central, Hajia Amina Zakari, and Representative from the Office of the National Security Adviser. National Commission for Refugee, Migrants and IDP, Director Risk Reduction and Mitigation NEMA, NSCDC, Nigeria Police Force, Peace Corp of Nigeria, Women and Youth groups, Diplomatic Community, Faith Based Organizations, NGOs, Academia, Religious Leaders, Members of the Parliament, Media Practitioners as well as experts in the peace and security sector. After exhaustive deliberations we, the participants:
Recognize That with such challenges as massive disenfranchisement, vote-buying, ballot box stuffing, violence and the obnoxious phrase of “inconclusive election” which have attended elections conducted in some parts of the country in recent times, a more detailed engagement with the political class is indeed more than just an urgent national imperative as a show of commitment to deepen Nigeria’s democracy, while entrenching the culture of an enduring electoral system. Elections after all, should reflect the desire of voters; it should not be a “do-or-die” affair as politicians have always made it look.
Also Recognize That beyond the corruption, intimidation and harassment, there is still the enduring absence of internal democracy in the political parties. Because the system is populated by too many political touts and rogues, the situation is so bad that there is hardly any candidate who has emerged through free and fair primaries. Government whilst championing electoral reform should, however, purge itself of bias. Political parties in Nigeria today are run exclusive of many patriotic, interested and qualified individuals and they are like cult groups open only to certain categories of Nigerians with the physical and financial means to dare.
Express our Deep Concern over the disturbing report that people, especially children and women dying daily of malnutrition and communicable diseases. It is worrisome that this is happening even when the federal and state governments have reportedly earmarked billions of naira to cater for their welfare. According to data from the Displacement Tracking Index and that of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, the number of IDPs is estimated to be over 2.4 million.
Note that the blatant absurdity and mindlessness by our politicians and their supporters must stop going forward into Rivers Elections, and all actors in this election must promptly come to understand the compelling reasons Nigerians genuinely worry about elections that are conducted without integrity, especially where state and/or elite sponsored violence become institutionalized mechanism to abridge franchise, and, ultimately, our democracy.
Also Note that with probably over 12,000 citizens killed in the ongoing fascistic campaigns of Boko Haram in the northeast; with the low-intensity insurgency in the south south region, and with the armed banditry in just every corner of middle Nigeria, this complexion of deadly internal conflict requires effective and meaningful citizens involvement and interface through vigorous debates and information exchange for any sustainable solution to emerge..
Further Note that in the spirit of the current anti-corruption fight, for which the president has shown much commitment, we urge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to beam its searchlight on the utilization of funds meant to cater for IDPs and the Police on the sexploitation. Whosoever is found culpable; no matter his or her political affiliations should be prosecuted and jailed. That way, others with such heartless proclivity will be deterred.
We Commit support application of transparency and accountability in corporate and governmental spending, where making facts and figures public becomes institutionalized thereby brings about efficiency, honesty and effectiveness in the pre and post budget circles.
We Affirm that that for Nigeria to recover urgently from the current economic recession and not slump into depression; she requires massive financial injection into the economy in order to stimulate economic activities. However, the required injection needs the consent, approval and cooperation of the National Assembly. An institution currently scoring low in its mandate to champion bill that stimulates economic activities.
We Endorse the Independent National Electoral Commission, on its part, must conduct an election that is beyond reproach. It must avoid the tardiness that leads to late arrival of voting materials, insufficient ballots and personnel and thus a disenfranchised and disaffected voting population. People are more likely to abide by the results of an election if they see evidence that the elections are free and fair.
Will ensure a multi-stakeholders response to the educational needs of children in the camps is being met. Free compulsory primary education should be available to all children in the camps. Provision should be made for the education needs of older children, and particularly adolescents, including secondary and vocational education. As far as possible, all education services should allow children to follow a curriculum identical to that which other children in their home country or region are following, so that reintegration into a normal education system upon their return will be without problems. To the greatest extent possible, educational services should be organized and administered by members of the IDP community.
Shall Effectively support the synergy between National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons which has statutory responsibility for IDPs in the country and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). They both should get adequate budgetary allocation to do their work, this resource should be inclusive to register and monitor the conditions of IDPs. Currently, all the available resources go to NEMA, which has strong political support but has no mandate to address medium and long-term needs of IDPs and refugees.
Will Support decisions to attach NSCDC officials to food and non-food items dispatched to various camp locations in the country. This was achieved during the scarcity and diversion of premium motor spirit and some adequate level of result were achieved and for a serious situation such as the IDPs, same level of response should be adapted.
Agreed to increase advocacy to the president and National Assembly to urgently look at the need for an IDP policy in Nigeria, Implement the recommendations of the Nnamani Report on electoral reforms once it is submitted as well as urgent attention be given to reforms of Prisons Services in Nigeria. It is a necessary development tool with which government can set its visions and missions for achieving defined development targets. Signed:
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Nita Byack George