Monday, 18 June 2012

Using science to boost governance


AfroBarometer and CLEEN Foundation brainstorm to impact Nigerians positively
For Nigerians to enjoy the dividends of democracy, there is need for people-centred reforms, and this was the view of stakeholders at a one-day event organised by AfroBarometer Network and CLEEN Foundation to brainstorm on possible survey questions that will impact positively on the lives of Nigerians.
The stakeholders, drawn from the media, civil society groups, non-governmental organisations and the government, discussed home-grown questionnaires to be employed for the 5th round of the 'AfroBarometer Governance and Democracy Survey' in the country.
CLEEN Foundation is working with AfroBarometer as the national partner.
The survey, which will be conducted across the country sometime in June, is aimed at eliciting responses from Nigerians on a wide range of issues about governance and democracy in the country .
Poor power supply, bad roads, electoral malpractices, challenges in the aviation industry, insecurity and tackling terrorism and insurgence, were some of the questions to feature in the survey.
Katty Addy, the Outreach Co-ordinator for AfroBarometer, stated that the survey is aimed at improving the living conditions of the ordinary man.
“AfroBarometer has been conducting public opinion survey in Africa and this survey covers a lot of issues and the assessment of democracy, and governance," she said.
"This survey helps to elicit answers from the ordinary man and their voices to be heard as the data gathered can be useful in formulating policies that are people centred."
The Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation, Innocent Chukwuma, stated that implementing people centred polices would enhance democracy
and governance in the country.
Chukwuma also said that data from the survey will be made available to the government and other stakeholders for people-centred policy formulation and implementation.
"Also, the survey will help policy makers to evaluate the impact of the polices on the lives of the people, that way, they will know where the problem lies and how to solve it,” he added.
The AfroBarometer is an independent, non-partisan research project that measures the social, political, and economic atmosphere in Africa.
Reacting to the importance of a governance survey, Akingbolahan Adeniran, the Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos state governor on Legal Matters, said such data have assisted the state government in the past.
"The more scientific we are in solving our problems, (and) the more objective we are, the better for us, as these data help government to look at problems objectively," he said.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Insecurity: Voluntary Policing Sector to the Rescue

11 Jun 2012

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110612F.Balogun-Chukwuma.jpg - 110612F.Balogun-Chukwuma.jpg
L-R, Balogun, Chukwuma presenting Kits to a member of the VPS

An intervention plan has been delivered by a department of the Justice for All Programme in collaboration with Cleen Foundation to support the development of voluntary policing sector (VPS) groups otherwise known as Vigilante in Lagos State. The project, which kicked off recently started with Agege community and has seen an improvement in the state of security in the area. Taiwo Akintunde writes
The pivotal role that Voluntary Policing Sector (VPS) otherwise known as Vigilante groups play in addressing the safety and security needs of poor communities is well documented. For many Nigerians, especially the poor, VPS groups are pre-eminent and in some cases the only groups they feel able to go to for their safety and security needs. It is therefore an essential area for the Justice 4 All programme to support to improve personal security and access to justice for all Nigerians.
It is in this vain that the J4A Programme, a non-governmental organisation on justice issues, in collaboration with Cleen Foundation, experts on security and safety matters, implemented a project to cater for the need of vigilante groups in Agege area of Lagos State by providing them with gadgets to enhance their service and also introduced a programme that will help build their capacity in line with duty. The event took place in a multi-purpose hall of the Agege Local Government Secretariat.
According to an official of J4A, Mrs Isioma Kemekolam, the aim of the project is to improve the responsiveness and effectiveness of the service delivery, increase accountability of vigilante groups in Lagos community and help them to work more closely with the Nigeria Police at the divisional command level and other relevant counterparts.
She said that ideally, the VPS would play a low level role in ensuring citizens’ safety and security, with their main focus being on deterring crime and supporting the delivery of effective community policing rather than combating or taking on any of the more active policing roles adding that the overall aim of this intervention is to support VPS groups to improve their services to all members of communities in a manner that is both accountable and respectful of the law, in close coordination with the police.
Highlighting the objectives of the project, Kemekolam told THISDAY that the Intervention Plan is to enhance the organisational and management capacity of selected VPS groups, strengthen the capacity of selected VPS groups to deliver the services that citizens need and want with due regard for the law, enhance VPS engagement with, and accountability to, their local communities in selected locations, enhance levels of coordination between VPS groups and the NPF and other relevant groups at local levels and also to disseminate examples of good practice to VPS groups in lead states and across Nigeria and encourage other groups to replicate and adopt them.
She added: “The ultimate outcome of the intervention is that citizens in selected locations feel safer in their communities; have confidence in VPS groups and trust that they will behave appropriately by responding to the safety and security needs of all members of the community,” she said.
Other expected outcomes include improved organisational and management capacity of selected VPS groups resulting in more focused and accountable service delivery and transparency of procedures, selected VPS groups are delivering services that are legal and meet the needs of citizens and communities in the key areas of crime prevention, post-crime conflict services and participation in community safety groups. She continued that, “VPS groups are engaging with, and accountable to their local communities in selected locations, they are also coordinating their activities effectively and in a structured manner with other VPS groups and the NPF in selected locations. Good practice examples and guidance materials are being disseminated across the VPS in lead states and more broadly and are being replicated and adopted across the sector,” she added.
Explaining to THISDAY in an interview after the programme, Cleen Executive Director, Mr Innocent Chukwuma said the main activities being implemented focus on capacity building, technical assistance and limited equipment support to VPS groups and their communities. He highlighted some of the activities as mapping VPS groups in the J4A focal states, to identify who is working in the field, what they are doing and how and their levels of competency and effectiveness. “Some other activities include supporting VPS groups to enhance their organisation and management capacities through the development of their leadership skills; drafting and strengthening of procedures for recruitment of new members as well as policies and procedures governing their functions and facilitating networking among VPS leaders for sharing of best practice,” he explained.
Mentioning further on the activities of the project, Kemekolam said that rendering support to VPS groups and their communities in skills training on basic policing, problem solving, conflict resolution and monitoring and evaluation methods as well as providing responsive VPS groups with basic policing equipment are part of the activities.
At the event, VPS representatives from various parts of the community as well as Community Development Association officials were trained in three critical areas which bother on basic human rights standards (with specific attention to women’s rights) to improve their understanding of human rights law and practice; establishment of complaints system on services and conduct; and facilitation of periodic interactive and accountability forums between the VPS groups and their communities including women were being delivered to them by the J4A and Cleen officials present. Generally, the goal of the trainings was   to improve the VPS institutional and legal framework that would encourage professionalism and modernization of the group.
At the end of the training, the VPS groups now have policy documents such as Code of conduct, Procedural manual, Strategic plan and development of complaint form. Messages that would enhance accountability of the VPS groups within the community were developed for flyers with messages like: ‘Report Abuse of power or commendation of good members’ and ‘See something, say something.’ Also, a hotline number for community members to call for complaints is being proposed shortly after the three VPS Groups that fall under Isoko Police Division were presented with kits like; raincoats, rain boots, flash lights, whistles, arm bands, Identity cards and accounting books for record keeping. The groups that received the items are Gboguleri/Isaleoja Vigilante, Ajegunle Vigilante and Ashade/Adeyemi vigilante groups respectively.
Other activities include coordination meeting with the police and VPS groups in Isokoko. According to Kemekolam, the monthly forum was inaugurated on May 18, 2012 and the aim of the forum is to improve the coordination of the police and VPS groups for effective service delivery. Participants at the forum comprised of leaders of CDAs and VPS groups in Isokoko, Neighborhood policing officers and officers of Isokoko police division.
She described the outcome of the meeting as impressive after baseline questionnaires to determine the usefulness of the forum/coordination were filled by the participants. General discussions on coordination between the police and VPS groups were also put in place as well as likely challenges to be encountered in coordination were addressed. Modalities (protocols) for police coordination with VPS groups were agreed upon and frequency of coordination meetings between the police and VPS groups was determined. Monthly activity report meeting was agreed by all present.
Over 100 participants comprising of leaders of CDAs, VPS groups, Traditional leaders, religious, women and youth organisations in Isokoko were in attendance. Community members who spoke were very happy and thankful to J4A for the material support and promised to support the VPS to enhancing service delivery for a safe and peaceful Isokoko.
While Speaking to THISDAY, the Agege Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman, Comrade Toyin Balogun described the gesture of J4A as outstanding and a must-have project for all communities nationwide adding that security in Agege community has vastly improved. “This is a laudable project embarked upon by the J4A and I want to believe that programme like this will help boost security in Nigeria because the problem starts from the grassroots and if we can address insecurity from the grassroots, the society at large will be safe for every one.”
Serikin Hausa of the community, Alhaji Musa Muhammed Dogun-Kadiri also stated that the issue of tribal marginalisation in Agege has reduced due to the new orientation given to the VPS operatives by J4A. He explained that at one time, Hausa men and women in the area were brutally treated by vigilante officials at night while on duty but added that the case is no longer the same as they now collaborate to ensure the safety of the community in general.
The Ebira Community Chief, Alhaji Lawal Muhammed, who was also at the event said the project still need to go further than the three major areas of the community adding that it is important the circulation goes before other communities who are yet to benefit from the project becomes liability to them. “For instance, in Mangoro area, we have a large number of Ebira indigenes living there and I am speaking in their interest. Security in that area is under control but we want this project to come to that end on time so that we will fully benefit from the project like our neighbouring communities currently does,” he said.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Letter to the President on Dana Crash


N-Katalyst
16 A7 Street
CITEC Mbora Estate
Jabi/Airport Road Bypass
Email: nkatalyst33@yahoo.com

June 6, 2012

DR. GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR
THE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
State House
Aso Rock
ABUJA.

Your Excellency Sir,

REQUEST FOR A PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO THE DANA AIR CRASH

We the undersigned representatives of N-Katalyst, a non-partisan network of individuals from diverse sectors committed to the promotion of Nigerian unity and progressive change, hereby request the establishment of a publicly accessible and representative inquiry into the Dana Air crash of June 3, 2012.

Background and Purpose
The aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas 83 (MD83) with Registration Number 5N-RAM and 153 people on board departed Abuja for Lagos in the afternoon of June 3 but crashed five minutes to landing at Iju-Ishaga, a densely populated neighbourhood in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos. All the 153 passengers on board were reportedly killed as well as unverified number of persons on ground. The fallen aircraft destroyed several buildings and rendered a good number of others uninhabitable by the force of the impact on earth surface. Environmental experts have also reported possible emission of radioactive materials in the neighbourhood. 

Available information from insider sources and passengers who have flown in the aircraft before the incident suggests that it ought not to have been in service on that day and in fact should have been retired on account of incessant engine faults if the oversight agencies as well as the airline had been steadfast with maintaining aviation safety standards, although the Dana Air disputes these claims.

Therefore, an open and accessible public Inquiry will help in ascertaining what really caused the crash and resultant deaths and destruction of property by investigating the immediate and remote causes and bringing to justice any persons or corporates found culpable.  

Chronology of major Air Crashes in Nigeria

Nigeria has experienced one too many crashes resulting to mass deaths in the last twenty years and all the aircrafts involved were registered and operated in the country, which calls into question how serious we take aviation safety and security:

1.    September 26, 1992 - A Nigerian Air Force C-130 crashed minutes after taking off from Lagos airport. Around 200 people died.
2.    June 25, 1995 - A Harka Airlines Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-134 crashed at Lagos airport, killing 15 people.
3.    November 13, 1995 - A Nigeria Airways Boeing 737 crashed on landing in Kaduna, killing nine people.
4.    November 7, 1996 - A Boeing 727 operated by Nigeria's ADC Airlines crashed on its way from Port Harcourt to Lagos. All 142 passengers and nine crew died.
5.    May 4, 2002 - A Nigerian EAS Airlines BAC 1-11 crashed in Kano. At least 148 people were killed, 75 on the plane and at least 73 on the ground.
6.    October 22, 2005 - A Nigerian Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 airliner crashed shortly after take-off from Lagos. All 111 passengers and six crew were killed.
7.    December 10, 2005 - A Nigerian Sosoliso Airlines DC9 from Abuja crashed on landing in Port Harcourt, killing 106 people, half of them schoolchildren on their way home for Christmas.
8.    September 17, 2006 - Twelve Nigerian military personnel, mostly high-ranking officers, were killed in a plane crash in Benue state. Six survived.
9.    October 29, 2006 - An ADC airliner with 114 passengers on board crashed and burned after take-off from Abuja, killing 96 people.
10.                       June 3, 2012 - A Dana Air passenger plane carrying 153 people crashed in the Agege suburb of Lagos, killing everyone on board and an unconfirmed number on ground.

It is disheartening to note that the standard response of the Government of Nigeria (GON) to all these aforementioned crashes was to set up secretive technical investigation panels whose reports were apparently neither made public nor acted upon. In a way, these technical panels became a tunnel through which successive governments ran away from their responsibility of making Nigerian airspace safe and secure for all stakeholders.

Your government is in a historic position to break this vicious cycle of public deceit if it heeds our request to convene a public inquiry into the crash.

Possible Terms of Reference

The Panel should among other things look into the following as part of its Terms of Reference (ToR):

a.   Investigate and determine the cause of the crash and examine contributory factors;
b.   Inquire into the roles played by the regulatory bodies and other organisations responsible for airspace management in Nigeria, prior to the accident;
c.    Examine what regulatory guidelines, instructions and orders were applicable and whether they were complied with;
d.   Determine the state of serviceability of the aircraft and relevant equipment;
e.    Establish the level of training, relevant competences and qualifications of the crew members involved in the crash;
f.       Ascertain if search and rescue facilities were fully available, utilized and functioned correctly;
g.   Ascertain the number of people on ground that lost their lives and value of property destroyed at the site of the crash.
h.    Assess any health and safety at work and environmental protection implications to the residents of the area in which the crash occurred.
i.        Determine and comment on any broader contributory factors or causes including, management, oversight, maintenance culture and resources.
j.        Make appropriate recommendations.

We request that the membership of the panel should be broadly representative including members of non-governmental human rights organizations and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). This is to ensure transparency and accountability.

We look forward to a favourable and timely response to our request in order to take advantage of the mood of the moment; provide some assurance to the bereaved that the death of their loved ones will not go in vain; prevent avoidable air mishaps in future and more importantly ensure that the Nigerian airspace is not only safe but complies with international aviation safety standards. 

We thank you for your kind consideration and attention to our request.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Yours faithfully,


Dr Jibrin Ibrahim                                      Dr Otive Igbuzor
Saudatu Mahdi                                      Bilkisu Yusuf
Ayisha Osori                                   Prof Ebere Onwudiwe
Yemi Candide-Johnson               Ayo Obe
Saka Azimazi                                 Maryam Uwais
Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim                     Innocent Chukwuma
Chris Kwaja                                    Hassan Hussaini
Dr A. S. Mohammed                     Nsongurua Udombana
Asma’u Joda                                 Nsirimovu Anyakwee
Dr Kabir az Zubair                          Martin Obono
Dr Hussaini Abdu                           Aisha Oyebode
Hubert Shaiyen                             Dr Arabo Ibrahim Bayo
Fatima Wali-Abdurrahman                  Dr Charmaine Pereira
Yusufu Pam                                    Dr. Chidi Odinkalu





Community policing will tackle insecurity’


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Beefing up security at the grass roots of the domestic economy is one sure way of stamping out the menace of insecurity in the country.
This form the fulcrum of  consensus of participants at the inauguration of the Voluntary Policing Service, also known as the vigilance group, at the Agege Local Government Area, recently.
A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Justice for All, in collaboration with the DFID was the brain behind the inauguration of the voluntary policing service.
Members of the vigilance group were drawn from the Isokoko area of Agege, Lagos who were said to be the first set of voluntary policing personnel who have benefitted from a six months  intensive training programme.
They were said to have received training in modern security tips and  fit to be employed in their suburbs to detect crime and support the police in checking criminality in their area.
Innocent Chukwuma, the Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation and the lead consultant for Justice for All, said the vigilance groups play vital and unique roles in the community in checking crime and criminality.
Chukwuma said: “One of the objectives of  this project is to ensure that the voluntary police service, also known as vigilance group, are accountable to the people and for the community to also hold them accountable.
“The members have been trained on crime scene management and other security tips so that they can complement the police in crime fighting.
“They have been taught their limitations and how to uphold human rights in the course of their work.
“It is imperative that we take the voluntary policing service seriously as they are closest to the people and they can reach places where police vans cannot  get to.”
Chukwuma added that Isokoko in Agege was chosen as the pilot community for the training of vigilante groups in the state, adding that the training would also be replicated in other local government areas in Lagos State and other states in the country.
Justice For All also used the occasion to donate work tools to the vigilante members from Gbogunleri, Isale-Oja, Asade, Adeyemi and Ajegunle.
Omodele Moruf, the president of the Gbogunleri Vigilante Group, said members of his group can work better now with the new tools given to them.
Moruf said: “Justice For All gave us rain coats, rainboots, whistles and flash lights so we can carry out our work better both in the rain and in the sun.
“Criminality was rampant in our area but with the training and support we got from the J4A, we have been doing better and we will do more since our efforts have been recognised.
“We want the federal and state governments to also support us so that we can check crime at the local level.”
Comarade Toyin Balogun, the Community Development Committee Chairman of Agege Local Government Area stated that the training programme has improved security in his domain.
Balogun said: “Security is the business of  everybody and should not be left to the government alone.
“Nobody knows the community better than the vigilante and we have to support them to do their work very well.
“If we get security right at the local government level, then we can tackle crime anywhere in the country.”
Also supporting community policing, Alhaji Musa Mohammed, the leader of the Hausa community in Agege, stated: “We need everybody to work together to fight crime and criminality.
“The police cannot do it alone.
“That is why the vigilante group are supporting them.
“We can do our best to ensure that life and property are safe in our community.”
Also present at the event were traditional leaders from all the major ethnic and religious groups in Agege

Friday, 1 June 2012

Community policing to tackle security challenges


Vigilante groups undergo training
Community policing has been described as imperative to tackle security challenges in the country.
Security experts made this known at the completion of an inaugural training programme for Voluntary Police Service, popularly called Vigilante policing.
Organised by Justice for All, a criminal justice reform organisation, in collaboration with the Department for International Development (DFID) a UK-based agency, the six-month programme kick-started at Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The first beneficiaries of the programme were vigilante groups from the Isokoko area of Agege, who underwent training in modern security techniques to employ in their locality.
The participants included members from Gbogunleri Isale–Oja, Asade, Adeyemi and Ajengunle vigilante groups in the area.
Some of the tips shared with the group members included how to detect crime and support the police in checking criminality in their areas.
Innocent Chukwuma, the Lead Consultant of Justice for All, described the roles of vigilante groups in communities as "vital and unique in checking crime and criminality."
“One of the objectives of this project is to ensure that the Voluntary police service, also known as vigilante group, are accountable to the people and for the community to also hold them accountable," he said.
Chukwuma also said that the reach of vigilante groups goes beyond that of the police due to their closeness to the people.
"They have been taught their limitations and how to uphold human rights in the course of their work," he added.
According to the organisers, the project to train vigilante groups  will also be replicated in other local government councils and states in the country.
Omodele Moruf , the president of Gbogunleri vigilante group, said members of his group can work better with the new tools provided for them during the training programme.
“We have been doing better and we will do more, since our efforts have been recognised. We want the federal and state government to also support us so that we can check crime at the local level,” he said.
Toyin Balogun, the Community Development Committee Chairman, also lauded the training programme for the impact it has had on security in the local government council.

Summit: Community policing will tackle terrorism

For Nigeria to tackle its security challenges, there is the need for the government to improve security at the grass roots.

This was the consensus of participants at the inauguration of the Voluntary Policing Service, also known as the vigilante group, at the Agege Local Government Area during the week.

The inauguration of the voluntary policing service was the brain child of the Justice for All in collaboration with the DFID.

The vigilante members from the Isokoko area of Agege are the first set of voluntary policing personnel who have benefitted from a six months  intensive training programme as they were trained in modern security tips  they can employ in their suburbs to detect crime and support the police in checking criminality in their area.
Innocent Chukwuma, the Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation and the lead consultant for Justice for All, said the vigilante groups play vital and unique roles in the community in checking crime and criminality.
Chukwuma said: "One of the objectives of  this project is to ensure that the voluntary police service, also known as vigilante group, are accountable to the people and for the community to also hold them accountable.
"The members have been trained on crime scene management and other security tips so that they can complement the police in crime fighting.

"They have been taught their limitations and how to uphold human rights in the course of their work.
"It is imperative that we take the voluntary policing service seriously as they are closest to the people and they can reach places where police vans cannot  get to."

Chukwuma added that the Isokoko in Agege was chosen as the pilot community for the training of vigilante groups in the state, adding that the training will also be replicated in other local government areas in Lagos State and other states in the country.

Justice For All also used the occasion to donate work tools to the vigilante members from Gbogunleri, Isale-Oja, Asade, Adeyemi and Ajengunle.

Omodele Moruf, the president of the Gbogunleri Vigilante Group, said members of his group can work better now with the new tools given to them.

Moruf said: "Justice For All gave us rain coats, rainboots, whistles and flash lights so we can carry out our work better both in the rain and in the sun.

"Criminality was rampant in our area but with the training and support we got from the J4A, we have been doing better and we will do more since our efforts have been recognised.

"We want the federal and state governments to also support us so that we can check crime at the local level."
Comarade Toyin Balogun, the Community Development Committee Chairman of Agege Local Government Area stated that the training programme has improved security in his domain.

Balogun said: "Security is the business of  everybody and should not be left to the government alone.
"Nobody knows the community better than the vigilante and we have to support them to do their work very well.

"If we get security right at the local government level, then we can tackle crime anywhere in the country."
Also supporting community policing, Alhaji Musa Mohammed, the leader of the Hausa community in Agege, stated: "We need everybody to work together to fight crime and criminality.

"The police cannot do it alone.
"That is why the vigilante group are supporting them.
"We can do our best to ensure that life and property are safe in our community."
Also present at the event were traditional leaders from all the major ethnic and religious groups in Agege.

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