Since the attainment of independence in 1960, civil society groups have contributed decisively towards enabling and enhancing national independence, for instance in the mobilizations against the Anglo Nigeria defense pact, judged to be against the national interest; as well as in the anti-structural adjustment program protests and movements under the military dictatorship of General Ibrahim Babangida. Civil society did what it could to hold the military governments accountable by organising citizens to demand the return to democracy in the 1990s. Since the return to civil rule in 1999, it has been in the forefront of constitutional reform processes to promote inclusion, participation, and improved quality of representation and governance.
As a result of the opening of the civic space brought about by the global wave of democratization and the increased international funding opportunities that came with it, developing countries in the past two decades, have witnessed the mushrooming of civil society organisations (CSOs). Most credible CSOs are primarily involved in advocacy or service delivery with some combining both. These represent diverse ideologies and while some are membership-based and exclusively concerned with issues of particular interest to their members, others adopt a broader approach, relative to their objectives, to either reform or transform the system.
More recently there has been a trend of CSOs either specifically established by the government to advance its interests or those that are co-opted to do so; what orthodox practitioners derogatorily refer to as government non-governmental organisations (GNGO). However, this abuse of the sector is not limited to governments as there have also been numerous cases of bad CSO actors not associated with governments.
However, on the whole community and state actors both acknowledge that civil society has made positive contributions towards ameliorating the sufferings of Nigerian. Evidence from existing literature, as well as findings from focus group discussions and key informant interviews existing literature, as well as findings from focus group discussions and key informant interviews undertaken for this project, show that CSOs have played and continue to play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s development in the past two decades.
It was noted that CSOs have increasingly stepped in to replace a receding, and in some cases, nonexistent state with respect to the delivery of basic, often life-saving, services. Key contributions identified included in the role they have played in humanitarian assistance; influencing policy towards more pro-people legislation; reshaping the attitudes of traditional and cultural practices; improving the publics awareness of human rights, providing economic support to agriculture and trade sectors; supporting skills acquisition initiatives; and support for internally displaced persons and communities. Finally, CSOs are also an important provider of well-paid jobs and employment opportunities.
The study found there to be an overwhelming consensus that civil society plays a complimentary role to the state. At the same time, it was noted that tensions in state-CSO relations do exists. These are often generated in the context of advocacy, and demands for transparency, accountability and the defence of human rights of citizens rather than around initiatives of service delivery. Whilst the state and CSOs work together on a regular basis, the reports findings underscore the need to also include private sector actors in wider development processes to address Nigeria’s myriad of challenges.
Further recommendations include the need for improved and more participatory community and citizen engagement strategies from CSOs; sustained efforts to build an understand between the state and civil society about how they can better work together and not as adversaries; a recognition by states like Nigeria to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens on a daily basis; and the need for domestic civil society groups to set the priority agendas for their countries, rather than have these imposed by external funders. Finally, efforts should be put in place by CSOs to initiate a commonly endorsed Peer Review Mechanism based on a voluntary code of conduct and of practice – for the purposes of mutual support, mutual learning, and strengthening transparency and accountability within the sector itself.
A Weekly Highlight on Political, Security, Socio-Political and Health Happenings Across the West African Region – July 29th to August 4th 2022
MALI, BURKINA FASO, SENEGAL, GUINEA
In the week under review, key highlights focus on developments on the case of the 49 Ivorian soldiers, the 2022 legislative elections in Senegal, responses or reactions to the French President’s African tour, the FNDC issues in Guinea, and on the health scenes, the persistent rise in the number of confirmed new cases of COVID across the region. Macron’s African Tour In line with French President, Emmanuel Macron’s African tour to Cameroon, Benin and Guinea Bissau to strengthen bilateral ties between these countries, Macron was received in Benin Republic by President Patrice Talon on July 27. In Benin, the two presidents used the occassion to renew their friendship, as well as discuss the restitution of cultural property and the threats of armed terrorist groups affecting northern Benin. During a press conference in Guinea Bissau, Macron expressed France’s support to the development of the country’s agricultural sector, respect of ECOWAS in regional matters, and solidarity with the region in fighting against terrorism. On Mali, he highlighted that the military junta in government is no longer fighting terrorism which prompted the withdrawal of French forces from Mali and also reiterated ECOWAS responsibility to help the Malian people “build a stable environment” to fight jihadist groups
MALI Political Dynamics Mali sends a message to Macron The remarks made by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron during his African tour, precisely in Guinea Bissau on July 28, 2022, have yielded responses from the Malian Transitional Government. During his press conference, the French Head of State reiterated erroneous accusations by asserting that the Malian authorities maintain relations with a paramilitary group. Another was on the exercise of violence by the Malian authorities targeting a specific ethnic group.
In response, the Transitional Government has condemned with the utmost rigor these “hateful and defamatory” remarks by the French President and called national and international opinion to witness these serious accusations which are likely to arouse ethnic hatred and undermine their living together, cohesion, as well as harmony among Malians. The Malian press release  underlines that “these subversive remarks by the French President vindicate the Transitional Government which, rightly, put an end to defense cooperation with France for its unsatisfactory results in the fight against terrorism in Mali”. 
French President Emmanuel Macron was thus demanded “to definitively abandon his neocolonial, paternalistic and condescending posture” with the understanding that no one can love Mali better than the Malians themselves.
ECOWAS Mediator Praises the Transition Process The ECOWAS Mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck JONATHAN, was in Bamako from July 20 to 21 to monitor and evaluate the Transition process. During his 48-hour stay, he met with the Malian authorities and members of the local Transition monitoring committee. 
It would be recalled that the noteworthy progress made by the transition government enhanced the recent lifting of economic and financial sanctions by ECOWAS and WAEMU. However, ECOWAS had upheld other sanctions such as Mali’s suspension from decision-making institutions, until a peaceful return to constitutional order was attained.
Mandated to continue exchanges with Malian authorities, the Mediator noted the resumption of economic activities in post-sanction Mali upon his arrival at the airport. He acknowledged the progress made by the authorities and hoped that it will be maintained for the organization of the elections to allow the democratically elected government to take the reins of the country.
An International Arrest Warrant Against Former Prime Minister An international arrest warrant against former leaders of IBK’s regime was issued on July 25, 2022 by the Supreme Court of Mali. The former leaders involved include Boubou Cissé, former Prime Minister and former Minister of Economy and Finance of IBK; Tièman Hubert Coulibaly, former Minister of National Defence; Mamadou Igor Diarra, ex-Minister of Economy and Finance, and Babaly Bah, ex-boss of BMS-SA. The case is related to the purchase of equipment under a public contract known as PARAMOUNT, a part of the implementation of the Orientation and Programming Law for Homeland Security . Official investigation reports established overcharges of 40 billion CFA francs ($72 million), in the case related to the purchase of presidential aircraft and military equipment.
The reason for the international nature of the arrest warrant must be linked to the current residences of the concerned former leaders being outside Mali. Former Malian Prime Minister Boubou Cissé took residence in Côte d’Ivoire since December 2021, after having been accused of wanting to destabilize the transition. Tieman Hubert Coulibaly, former Minister of Defense, took refuge in France after being suspected in the framework of the Military Orientation and Programming Law.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been described as China’s most ambitious push for a dominant role in global geopolitics and trade. Launched in 2013 by China`s President Xi Jinping the overarching goal of the BRI is to promote interconnectivity and partnership among countries along the ancient maritime silk road which spans Asia, Eastern Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The US-based Council on Foreign Relations estimates that 139 countries that have signed up to the BRI: 49 of the 54 African nations are signatories.1 In 2020, the African Union and China signed an agreement to promote the BRI in Africa, becoming the first agreement signed between China and a regional body to jointly promote the initiative. The BRI has three fundamental objectives: to explore drivers of global growth in the post–great recession era, to rebalance globalization, and to create new models for regional cooperation in the twenty-first century. It is underpinned by five components: policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds. The people-to-people segment is where media sits in the ecology of the BRI.
An action point from the Forum on Africa-China Cooperation (FOCAC) in Dakar in 20212 was for the two sides to “actively promote exchanges and cooperation in the field of press and publication”. But the going out’ campaign of the Chinese media was first launched in response to the Western media’s framing of events leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. This, along with China’s increasing bilateral trade with Africa, provided an important background to its media expansion on the continent. It was eager to counterbalance international media coverage of China’s engagement within Africa, that framed it as being driven by self-interest and a desire for natural resources. In 2007, with the objective to tell a different story of China-Africa relations and support from former prime minister, Wen Jiabao, who urged China to extend its cultural engagement with other countries, the country’s efforts to shape the African it was confirmed that Chinese media outlets going international would receive funding to enable them ‘present a true picture of China to the world. By 2006, the Africa regional editorial office of Xinhua News Agency had already relocated from Paris to Nairobi. But in 2010 it commenced mobile news delivery. These developments were followed in 2011 by the establishment of China Central Television – now renamed China Global Television Network (CGTN) – in Nairobi, the first and largest bureau of CGTN outside China. The following year saw the launch of the African edition of Xinhuanet, an online service of the Xinhua News Agency (XNA). The Economist estimates that China now spends as much as US$10 billion annually on its media internationalization project globally.
However, there are growing fears that Chinese media expansion into Africa is impeding freedom of expression4 and engendering limited professional autonomy among journalists. This, in part, accounts for why Chinese presence in the media space on the continent continues to elicit widespread anxiety both within the industry and among outside observers. While some express concern over the authoritarian model employed by Chinese media, others are worried about how its narrative may impinge on, and indirectly impact, the continent’s fragile democratic space.
On the whole, Chinese media outlets subscribe to a model of journalism that emphasizes ‘positive reporting’ over the western model of ‘watchdog journalism’ that seeks to hold leadership to account. This ‘positive reporting’ model of journalism entails collaboration between the media and government which limits scrutiny of the latter’s actions. There are concerns that if Chinese media replicate this model of journalism in West Africa democratic governance will be further threatened by authoritarian tendencies. But the expansion of Chinese media challenging dominant Western narratives about the continent and has sparked competition between China’s state led media and the Western media organizations for audience. African-focused broadcasting programmes such as the BBC’s Focus on Africa and CNN’s Inside Africa which started in 2012 and 2014 respectively, responded to the creation of CTGN and its two hours of dedicated Africa news bulletins, which began in Reflecting on these dynamics this paper will outline some of the key ways in which China engages and cooperates with African media operators and rather than months – perceived it to lack journalism content and viewed it more as an avenue for channeling China’s soft power.
The hands-off approach of the US towards the African continent under the Trump administration, that has continued under Joe Biden and the continuation of failing European influence has afforded Russia the space to step up. Initially by strengthening regional military forces’ capacity to respond to the threat of Islamist groups across west and central Africa. What Russia stands to gain asides from conflict diamonds and mining rights, its increased influence and the numbers required for key votes in the United Nations General Assembly. The long term effect of this, though, is that democratic gains in West Africa, and indeed the whole of the African continent, could be pegged back as more countries look towards Russia for support.
While China’s spending power on the continent is unmatched, Russian re-entry builds on historic socio-political ties which date back to the Cold War era. During the Cold War the Soviet Union provided arms to revolutionaries in places like Angola and Congo seeking to overthrow colonial governments and their “puppet” successors. The Soviet Union’s interest in exporting its brand of Marxist-Leninism did not just stop at military and ideological support. It expanded that core into a more social enterprise drive model: offering scholarships to a whole generation of African scholars, academics, technocrats and soldiers to be trained in Soviet institutions. The adoption of socialist economics in many an African state was a clear example of this influence. With the collapse of the Soviet Union these African “socialist” states were starved of moral and ideological support as Russia retreated.
However, Russia has recently shown a renewed interest in Africa.2 A meeting co-hosted by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, which was held in Sochi, Russia in October 2019, marked the very first Russia-Africa Summit. At that summit, Putin told a gathering of African leaders that Russia was “not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa”. Renewed Russian interest in Africa has focused on two main areas of support: economic cooperation and military support.
The West is increasingly reluctant to sell arms to West African state actors based on concerns over how the weapons could be used to violate human rights. In 2020, the UK parliament asked Downing Street to investigate human rights abuses by the Nigerian government3 and security agencies against citizens. Securing weapons has been a challenge for state security forces in Nigeria’s northeast and northwest, and in the Liptako-Gourma region4, which borders Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Multiple reports have documented terrorists, operating as militia in these regions, carting away weapons after successful attacks on military facilities. This raises further concerns that arms could end up in the hands of non-state actors, who are even less accountable for their actions. The government in Moscow is less concerned about human rights given its record against its own people, and its continued support for Soviet-era relics like Aleksandr Lukashenko in Belarus.
As the second-largest weapons producer in the world, Russia is a major supplier of arms to Africa: according to the think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 13% of Russian arms are sold to African countries. The weaponry sold is predominantly secondhand equipment, such as combat helicopters, aircraft and surface-to-air missile systems. During the two-day summit in Sochi in 2019, the Nigerian government signed a contract6 with Russia for the supply of twelve Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters, likely to be used in the fight against the jihadist movement, Boko Haram, in the northeast of the country. On 1 October 2021, Mali’s Interim Defence Minister Sadio Camara said that the country had acquired four helicopters, arms and ammunition from Russia in a contract agreed in December 20207 to support its armed forces in their battle with fighters linked to ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. The inability of the modern state to find lasting solutions to the crisis has seen the country experience three coups, with the latest happening early this year when the transitional government of Bah Ndaw was deposed by Col Assimi Goita who led last year’s coup that ousted deeply unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Russian private military contractors have also latched on to the security needs of West African states bordering the Sahel where Islamist insecurity is prevalent. In September 2021, a security deal between the mercenary Wagner Group, which is rumoured to have ties to the Kremlin, and the Malian state was agreed according to a report by Reuters. Under the terms of the deal, a thousand personnel are to be deployed to guard regime officials and their families with the Wagner Group paid an estimated 6 billion CFA francs ($10.4 million8) a month for its services. One security source working in the region said the mercenaries would also train the Malian military and provide protection for senior officials. An arrangement that angered French officials given its long-standing military support to the country. But anti-French sentiments in the Sahel have been rising among citizens9 given the inability of French troops stationed in the area to stem violence attributed to the Islamists.
A weekly update on political, security, socio-political and health events across the West African region
In the week under review, our focus is on the outcomes of the 61st Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held on July 3 2022 at Accra, Ghana, and the impact on ECOWAS Member States.
Key outcomes of the ECOWAS Summit of July 3, 2022 On terrorism in the region, specifically in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria and the expansion to Benin and Togo, these attacks were strongly condemned while the Authority expressed solidarity with the affected Member States and populations. The Authority reaffirmed its determination to combat relentlessly the scourge of terrorism, to strengthen the operational and logistical capacities of the forces in the frontline countries through the 2022-2024 Action Plan and to promote development programmes and humanitarian support in the affected areas. To that effect, Member States were encouraged to fulfil their pledges on the voluntary contributions into the dedicated fund to support the implementation of the 2020 – 2024 Action Plan.
On Burkina Faso, a progress report was presented by the mediator, former President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou. The ECOWAS Authority acknowledged the proposal by the Transition Authorities for the establishment of a joint Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism with ECOWAS to accompany the Transition process, the release of President Roch Marc Christian KABORE and the new proposed timetable set at 24 months from 1st July 2022. Therefore, the economic and financial sanctions adopted on 25 March were lifted while the suspension of the country from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies was upheld.
On Guinea, the unacceptability of the 36-month transition timetable announced by the Guinean Authorities was reiterated. In response to the Transition’s renouncement of Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas as the ECOWAS Mediator to Guinea, the Authority appointed H.E. Yayi BONI, former President of the Republic of Benin as the new ECOWAS Mediator to Guinea. The new mediator is expected to work with the Transition Authorities to arrive at an acceptable transition timetable for the transition latest by 1st August 2022, after which economic and financial sanctions and targeted sanctions will be enforced if no acceptable transition timetable is presented. Furthermore, Guinea remains suspended from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies. On Mali, the economic and financial sanctions previously imposed by the Commission on January 9 were lifted: the closure of the land and air borders between ECOWAS Member States and Mali; the suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Mali; the freezing of the assets of the Republic of Mali domiciled in the Central Banks and Commercial Banks of all ECOWAS Member States; the freezing of the assets
of public and parastatal enterprises of the Republic of Mali domiciled in commercial banks of all ECOWAS Member States; the suspension of all financial assistance and transactions in favour of Mali by ECOWAS Financial Institutions, particularly EBID and BOAD. Although the Ambassadors of ECOWAS Member States to Mali were to resume duties, Mali’s suspension from the ECOWAS decision-making bodies and individual sanctions against individuals and groups were maintained pending progress reports on the transition to democracy. A joint monitoring and follow-up mechanism for the implementation of the transition timetable with agreed benchmarks was also established. The Heads of State reiterated the non-candidacy of members of the transition authority in the elections organized for the return to constitutional order.
On the appointment of new statutory appointees of ECOWAS Institutions, taking cognizance of the end of tenure of the statutory appointees on June 30, new appointments were initiated during the summit. The Gambia which was allocated the position of President of the ECOWAS Commission, with Dr. Omar Alieu Touray appointed as the President of the ECOWAS Commission for a four-year term with effect from 11th July 2022. Togo’s Ms. Damtien Tchintchibidja emerged as the Vice-President. The President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo was elected the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government for a one-year term.
The outcomes of the Summit were welcomed by the United States through a press statement
2. Particularly the agreement between ECOWAS and Mali on a 24-month transition timeline starting in March 2022, the Burkina Faso transition government’s proposal to ECOWAS for a two-year transition timeline to return Burkina Faso to democratically elected, civilian-led governance, and the release of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore. They urged the transition government in Guinea to move the country quickly toward a constitutional, civilian-led democracy through a transparent and consultative process. They commended the leadership of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo over the past year and welcomed the election of Bissau- Guinean President Umaro Embalo, while expressing the United States’ commitment to supporting ECOWAS and the transition governments of Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso as they navigate their paths toward responsive democratic governance. In reaction to the lifting of sanctions, Malians have expressed joy over ECOWAS decision in the hope that their country’s economy would improve
3 .BURKINA FASO
Political Dynamics Former President Roch Marc Kabore is released
As part of the dynamics of strengthening social cohesion and national reconciliation in the country, the Government has reaffirmed the total release of the former Head of State, Roch Kabore. This was announced in a Communique by the governing authorities
4 . His freedom was also confirmed by the former Alliance of the parties of the presidential majority (Ex-APMP)
5 .Activists and supporters of the former presidential majority (APMP) paid a courtesy visit to him on July 6 at his home in Ouagadougou. They used the opportunity to reaffirm their loyalty to the former president deposed by the military on January 24, and to assure the general public of the soundness of his mind and shape
6 .72nd Ordinary session of the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) The members of the National Political Bureau of the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP Futurist Wing) held the 72nd ordinary session of their party on July 2 in Ouagadougou
7 .During the meeting, discussions revolved around the party’s internal crisis and the party’s receipt. The party president, Eddie Komboigo asks the transitional authorities to respect the administrative rules and enhance the issuance of the document. The party also congratulated members how refused to leave the party, especially those claiming to belong to the historical wing of the party. He reminded the party members of their objective which is the conquest of power to soothe the pain of the people of Burkina Faso. He also called for unity among party members.
The ECOWAS Mediator to Burkina Faso meets President Damiba The ECOWAS Mediator for Burkina Faso, Mahamadou ISSOUFOU met the Transition President on July 2, ahead of the ECOWAS Summit on July 3. He also met the Prime Minister and certain members of the government, representatives of political parties, religious authorities, the National Youth Council, and a delegation from the Francophonie. The report of his visit was presented at the ECOWAS summit
8 .Burkina Faso strengthens its relationship with the Republic of Chile Personalities from the Republic of Chile including Alex Wetzig, Secretary General for Foreign Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and Ambassador of Chile in Addis Ababa met Excellency Sylvain Yaméogo, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative, on July 4
9 . The exchange meeting, part of a bilateral framework of mutual support, served as an avenue for
Burkina Faso to learn of opportunities for collaboration in the sectors of agriculture, livestock, education and mining. The meeting ended with good political will to seal a development partnership for the benefit of the two States.
Burkina Faso’s reaction to the ECOWAS Summit’s decisions In response to the withdrawal of the economic and financial sanctions which had been adopted at the Extraordinary Summit of March 25, 2022, the government of Burkina Faso acknowledged that the opportunity of consolidating its cooperation with its bilateral and multilateral partners
10 . The Government appreciated the patience and attentive listening of their mediator, Mahamadou ISSOUFOU, and his enhancement of a compromise between ECOWAS and the transition governing authorities. Nevertheless, the government deplored the upheld suspension of Burkina Faso from ECOWAS decision-making bodies, while reaffirming its will and determination to promote a peaceful and timely transition to democratic rule.
While visiting the President of Faso, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo DAMIBA, at the end of his mission on July 5, the Danish Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Steen Sonne ANDERSEN, also appreciated the agreement between Burkina Faso and ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the return to constitutional order. Additionally, in view of strengthening the cooperation between Denmark and Burkina Faso, the diplomat reiterated Denmark’s commitment to supporting Burkina Faso in tackling humanitarian challenges
11 . In line with this, the two countries recently signed an agreement on a major five- year cooperation program of 100 billion FCFA, that will focus on activities to help populations in their development.
High-level meeting of the presidents of Burkina Faso
Transition President of Faso, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo DAMIBA met the former Heads of State of Burkina Faso on July 8 in Ouagadougou. Invited presidents included Roch Marc Christian KABORÉ, Michel KAFANDO, Yacouba Isaac ZIDA, Blaise COMPAORÉ and Jean-Baptiste OUÉDRAOGO.
The reconciliation initiative and the return of former leader Blaise Compaoré was initiated by former president Roch Kaboré but halted by the trial of the assassination of Thomas Sankara. However, arrangements made by the current transition president have facilitated Compaoré’s arrival in Ouagadougou and participation in the reconciliation.
Although the meeting was to enhance a lasting peace and reconciliation, Michel Kafando was absent for health reasons, Yacouba Isaac Zida for administrative reasons, and Roch Kaboré prevented by an angry crowd, also could not attend this meeting.
Even before the current spate of rural violence and banditry in northwest Nigeria, Kaduna state has been a hotspot of violent conflict with a history of religious and ethnic conflicts, political violence as well as deep-rooted indigene-settler disharmony. Present-day rural banditry, in the form of kidnapping, pillage of rural communities and mass killings, has fluidly diffused into pre-existing ethno-religious tensions and bigotry, which is often amplified by the media and political commentators. Every killing, kidnapping or act of violence in Kaduna is seen as Muslim against the Christian or vice-versa, thereby inflaming the multiple complexities of the conflict. As a result, armed banditry in the state has the potential of being misinterpreted in different ways, compared to other states with less of a history of ethnic and religious violence.
Traditional leaders—Hakimai and Ardo—are ever-present conflict actors either as its victims or as agents of peacebuilding and resolution. Socially speaking, traditional authorities are the agents of peace and social cohesion. They operate at the grassroots and interact regularly and closely with the masses. In addition, they are custodians of culture and traditions. They are also the major pillars for the success of any social programme and public policy design and implementation. When it comes to conflict resolution, they have a vast knowledge and experience of the acceptable traditional methods and procedures of conflict management, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. In fact it has been argued that the collapse of the traditional conflict resolution and peacebuilding architectures in many societies was partly responsible for the escalation of this violent conflict in Kaduna state.
In recognition of this Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Abuja in partnership with the Centre for Peace Studies, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto organised a two-day capacity building training for selected Hakimai and Ardo in Kaduna state on peacebuilding and conflict resolution under its Strengthening the Delivery of Peace and Security (SDPS) Project.
The key essence of the training was to provide a platform in, which the capacity of traditional leaders would be improved by strengthening their traditional methods of conflict resolution in order to serve as agents of peace and conflict resolution. This approach is based on the premise that traditional leaders are best placed to counter negative narratives by the media and individuals that could instigate and inflame violent conflict. Without challenging and correcting ethnic and religious profiling the evolving conflicts in volatile Kaduna state will likely continue to linger and spread. The situation requires more urgent and effective proactive measures and CDD believes the best point to start is from the Hakimai and Ardo, who are the custodian of peace and conflict resolution. The main objective is therefore, to build the capacity of traditional leaders to strengthen their knowledge and expertise to understanding the challenging dynamics, trends, dimensions and complexities of all types of conflicts in Kaduna state and to support their efforts to contribute meaningfully towards peacebuilding and resolution using all necessary traditional and religious mechanisms as differentiated in various communities and religious domains.
This is because, over the last three years, CDD has implemented Nigeria Anti-Corruption Agencies Strengthening Initiative Project (NACASIP) funded by Macarthur Foundation. The broad objective was to strengthen and calibrate the operational capacities and efficiencies of the key ACAs in Nigeria to enable them effectively counter corruption through prevention, investigation, prosecution and asset recovery. Within the context of the insidious complex corruption problem in Nigeria; the CDD support has not only been phenomenal and a game changer; it has assisted the ACAs to up the ante in the fight with ground breaking achievements CDD supported the ACAs by deploying state-of-the-art technological equipment including hardware and software, computers, and digital forensic equipment necessary to help timeously detect fraud, track money laundered and analyze complex financial transactions associated with stolen wealth. Technology deployed has helped to reduce turn-around time in investigations leading to the expeditious prosecution of offenders and recovery of humungous resources with a positive impact on national budget performance. The use of technology in fighting corruption became a game changer.
The EFCC and ICPC alone recovered the sum of roughly NGN900 billion (about $2.2 billion) in stolen assets over the last two decades and secured a total of 3,362 convictions between 2010 and 2020. This was a remarkable and significant improvement over previous years within the same period. The NFIU was upgraded with an enhanced go-AML schema to facilitate efficient financial reporting by financial institutions. This improved the quality of suspicious transactions reports and analytical products generated therefrom which produced financial intelligence that enhanced the tracking of stolen assets. CDD’s creation of a Central National Web Portal linked to the websites of the ACAs was a major innovation which enabled the ACAs to build partnerships, synergize work, share information and disseminate their activities and enhanced public buy-in and support. Public awareness galvanized support for the ACAs through increased intelligence reports and tips by citizens that greatly help to burst corruption schemes in the public space and reduced the misappropriation of money budget for public projects.
The decline of public ethics and morals is a major hindrance to fighting corruption in Nigeria. CDD gave it a major boost by supporting the ICPC and TUGAR in driving public education and value reorientation with the printing and dissemination of the newly approved National Ethics and Policy on Integrity Policy and the development of the Explanatory Manual of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers. These documents perhaps for the first time provided a clear road map to guide public officials on how to comply and indeed the public to identify infractions which may be reported.
The support to the sub-national ACAs of Kaduna and Jigawa states has expanded the frontiers of anti-corruption and added a new impetus to the fight against graft at that level and filled a yawning gap in the national fight against corruption. The visibility, awareness and impact created are already shown with the spate of other sub-national states enacting anti-corruption laws and setting up anti-corruption agencies. On the whole, CDD support to the ACAs has changed the anti-corruption landscape in Nigeria by enhancing collaboration, partnerships, energization, and policy harmonization and facilitated the monitoring and evaluation of national anti-corruption performance in line with UNCAC.
Significantly, the support has enabled anti-corruption sustainability through the capacities and efficiencies built; partnerships fostered domestically and internationally leading to the recovery of huge stolen assets. Given this, kindly help disseminate on your various network platforms.
In August 2020, Mali’s democratic government was overthrown by the military. A second coup, in May the following year, saw Colonel Assimi Goïta take full control of the transitional authority. But the elongated transitional period proposed raised concern among democracy watchers in the region. Concerns that have only grown following coup d’états in Guinea, Burkina Faso and the apparent attempt by security forces to oust the elected government of Guinea-Bissau in early 2022. This series of articles offers some reflections on the impacts and implications of these events at both domestic and regional levels.
The first piece, by Idayat Hassan, highlights how coups in the region cannot be disconnected from the failure of governance which continue to be beset by an inability to address insecurity, tackle corruption or deliver comprehensive socio-economic benefits to their citizens. Gilles Olakounlé Yabi asks what more the Economic Community of West African States could be doing to proactively reduce the risk of military interventions in politics in the region. He argues that for the regional body to be a more effective defender of democracy, it must support member states to become more transparent and accountable to their citizens.
THEME: “STRATEGIES AND MECHANISMS FOR THE TRANSPARENT
MANAGEMENT OF COVID-19 FUNDS”
The Centre for Democracy and development is pleased to join the Africa Union and its esteemed governments, as well as other stakeholders in commemorating this year’s African Union Anti-corruption Day, slated for 11th July 2022. The theme “Strategies and Mechanisms for the Transparent Management of Covid-19 Funds” is not only apt, but very important at this time as it seeks to draw global and continental attention to the need to address a disturbing corruption problem associated with Covid-19 pandemic which severely tasked many economies and brought social and even political dislocations in Africa. CDD commends all African countries that have signed and ratified the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) which was adopted in Maputo, Mozambique on 11 July 2003 and came into force in 2006. CDD also commends the countries that have enacted laws and created independent anti-corruption agencies to tackle corruption.
Corruption is still an unnerving problem in Africa and indeed the major cause of underdevelopment. CDD urges all states to work towards complying with the provisions of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) and indeed other similar multilateral instruments such as the UNCAC as well as relevant international resolutions. There is also an urgent need for member states to collectively take steps to diligently implement the recommendations of the Mbeki report on Illicit financial flows which found that the African continent suffers an annual loss of over $50 billion as of 2015 through illicit financial flows (IFFs). That figure has since risen to over $80 billion. It is pertinent to note that through corruption and mismanagement, some of the Covid-19 funds in Africa may have become a source of illicit financial flows to countries in the North.
It also remains concerning that national and continental transparency initiative and efforts to stem the unbridled illicit financial flows from Africa to the Northern hemisphere has been embroiled in complex international politics. While noting that the problem of illicit financial flows cannot be solved post-haste, Africa must continue to stand together and push for a world order that discourages resource and trade price manipulation structured to fritter resources from Africa and keep the continent perpetually undeveloped. Corruption and illicit financial flows are twin evils which continue to constrain Africa’s progress and development. Regrettably, the utilization of Covid-19 funds has also become a major source of Africa’s corruption conundrum.
Depuis quelques mois, un nombre croissant d’organisations de la société civile et de classes politiques et intellectuelles africaines manifestent fréquemment leur désapprobation des politiques de la France dans ses anciennes colonies, singulièrement le Mali qui, depuis une décennie, est en proie à une menace terroriste et irrédentiste existentielle. Cet article présente un examen de la toile de fond, des circonstances, causes, dynamiques, et enjeux de l’acrimonieuse épreuve de force qui oppose le Mali et la France depuis Mai de l’an dernier lorsque leurs relations se dégradèrent brusquement. Il est suggéré que, tout compte fait, les promoteurs de la « démocratie et du développement » en Afrique se doivent d’accorder le bénéfice du doute aux dirigeant de la Transition dont la décision de secouer le statu quo des relations sécuritaires avec la France semblent avoir secoué dans ses fondations, et est susceptible de saborder, la Françafrique. Cependant, cette solidarité doit s’accompagner d’une vigilance méticuleuse afin que la Transition aboutisse à un État sécurisé, stable et véritablement en voie de démocratisations.
Under the Project of: Strengthening the Delivery of Peace and Security (SDPS) Project
Kaduna State’s unfortunate history of violent conflict has been driven by religious and ethnic conflicts and long predates the recent spate of rural violence and banditry that has engulfed in North-western region of the country. Incidents have often stemmed from indigene-settler, farmer-herder and Muslim-Christian conflicts. This history has sadly been amplified by the media and political commentators, which has only led to more kidnapping, attacks on rural communities and killings by bandits in the region.
Because of these different fault lines, armed banditry in the state has often been misinterpreted in different ways when compared to other frontline states with lesser history of ethnic and religious violence. Every violent incident, whether a kidnapping or a killing, is unique but is always seen through the lens of religious conflict – which only serves to inflame the situation and ignore how complex the situation really is. Given their unique position as custodians of culture and history, as well as leaders in the community charged with maintaining peace, traditional leaders in Kaduna State – the Hakimai and Ardo – are at the centre of such issues as either victims or peacekeepers.
The important role that these traditional authorities play in maintain peace and social cohesion cannot be overstated. Because they lead their communities directly, they are often in touch with grassroots issues and engage with the masses and have often had experience dealing with conflict resolution in their territories. This means that they are key stakeholders in ensuring the success of any public policy-focused social Programme and its expected implementation. The failure to effectively leverage these traditional conflict resolution and peacebuilding architectures in the state is partly responsible for the escalation of this violent conflict in Kaduna State.
In order to correct this error, and in line with its mandate, the Centre of Democracy and Development (CDD), in partnership with the Centre for Peace Studies at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, organised a two-day capacity building training for selected Hakimai and Ardo in Kaduna State on peacebuilding and conflict resolution under its Strengthening the Delivery of Peace and Security (SDPS) Project.
Justification and Objectives
The background provides apt justification for this training session. Within the parameters and contours of armed banditry and kidnapping, violent ideological groups, such as Boko Haram, ISWAP and Ansaru, are exploiting existing religious, ethnic and indigene-settler tensions to infiltrate Kaduna State.
The Abuja-Kaduna train attack and numbers of passengers currently under captivity is a case in point. This growing trend is existentially why this training is being anchored by the CDD. The situation requires more urgent and effective proactive measures. And, the best point to start is from the Hakimai and Ardo, who are the custodian of peace and conflict resolution. The main objective is therefore, to build the capacity of traditional leaders (see concept note) to strengthen their knowledge and expertise to understanding the challenging dynamics, trends, dimensions and complexities of all types of conflicts in Kaduna State and to contribute meaningfully towards peace building and resolution using all necessary traditional and religious mechanisms as differentiated in various communities and religious domains.
Violent conflicts between nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists and sedentary farmer communities in Nigeria have led to thousands of deaths and significant economic losses in recent years. The conflict has worsened the already protracted food crisis in the country. Land-use disputes, historically resolved through traditional dispute resolution mechanisms, have become more difficult to contain, with the increased availability of small arms and light weapons a factor. Climate change and population growth have also increased pressure on available resources, while farmer-herder relations have become increasingly politicized as ethnic and religious identities have hardened. While farmer-herder conflict now exists in every region of Nigeria, it has evolved into banditry and terrorism in parts of the northwest and north-central zones. To find lasting solutions to these conflicts, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) organised a national multi-stakeholder conference on farmer-herder conflict in Nigeria on June 7-8, 2022 with support from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and United States Institute of Peace. Participants included the Emir of Argungu, the Commissioner of Internal Security in Kaduna State, members of civil society organisations, academics and the media.
Among the key topics discussed during the conference were:
The root causes of farmer-herder conflict, including mismanagement of land-use disputes, climate change and urbanization, the hardening of ethnic identities, corruption, a lack of opportunities for youths, and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons
The local variations in farmer-herder relations across Nigeria, including the factors behind certain communities’ successful sustenance of historically peaceful relations
The role of traditional institutions in managing farmer-herder relations
The successes and shortcomings of government efforts to address insecurity and land-use disputes, such as the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP)
Recommendations for improving relations at the federal, state and local levels
Press Statement by the Forum of Fellows of the Centre for Democracy and Development
Date: Monday, 4th July 2022
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, resigned his appointment on 27th June 2022 and the next in line, Olukayode Ariwoola, was sworn in the same day in an acting capacity, as is the practice. The manner of the resignation – voluntary or forced – and the reason for it – ill-health or cover up for corruption – have raised critical questions on the state of the judiciary. Even more important is the circumstances of the said resignation, the letter from his peers that was leaked to the media.
Fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court had written to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, lamenting the parlous situation in the court. In this first-of-its-kind protest letter in the 58-year history of the apex court, the justices chronicled the operational challenges that have almost crippled the efficient adjudication of cases at the court. The aggrieved justices led by the second most senior judge of the Supreme Court, Olukayode Ariwoola, listed the problems to include vehicles, electricity tariff, supply of diesel, Internet services to their residences and chambers, and epileptic electricity supply to the court. The jurists further noted that “we find it strange that despite the upward review of our budgetary allocation, the court cannot cater for our legitimate entitlements”.
The justices also complained that for three years the CJN withheld assent to the rules of court, thereby slowing the dispensation of justice. They saw the situation as “the peak of the degeneration of the Court; it is the height of decadence and clear evidence of the absence of probity and moral rectitude.” The import of this leaked letter is that the CJN had lost the respect of virtually the entire justices of the Supreme Court.
Even more disturbing is that since the “resignation”, there have been allegations, rumours and innuendos in connection with the former CJN, including rumours of bribery and undue interference of his family in the work of the Supreme Court. Although there is no evidence to back this, the speculations suggest that he did not resign of his own volition.
We can surmise from these that all is not well with the Supreme Court. It would be recalled that CJN Tanko Muhammad’s predecessor, Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, was suspended on the 25th of January 2019, following a questionable prosecution by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, at a time also that the residences of several judges, including Justices of the Supreme Court, were raided by security operatives. There is strong evidence of the Executive getting involved in activities that interfere with the independence of the judiciary. In other words, there is a challenge to the constitutional principle of separation of powers and the integrity and the independence of the judiciary. The not so hidden hands of the Presidency have also been often seen in the appointment and removal of judicial officers. Indeed, the same can be said of the relationship between State Governors and the judiciary at the state level.
The Forum of Fellows of the Centre for Democracy and Development therefore make the following observations:
The crises in the Supreme Court reflect a significant challenge with the operations of the principle of the separation of powers and it is important for all democratic forces to strive to maintain the independence of the judiciary.
In recent years, several high-profile mid-night attacks on the houses of senior judicial officers, including justices of the Supreme Court has indicated Executive agency in the harassment and intimidation of the judiciary.
The process of appointment of judicial officers, from the lowest levels right up to the Chief Justice of Nigeria has become politicised and integrity and competence are no longer core criteria in the selection process. The outcome is that there is a steady decline in the quality of judicial officers;
The powers of the Chief Justice of Nigeria are excessive within the Supreme Court and the National Judicial Council. The same is true of the State Chief Judges in relation to the State judiciary. These should be reviewed to reflect a more collegiate approach among peers.
There is a very high level of corruption in our society which clearly has penetrated the judiciary and threatens to compromise the whole system of justice delivery.
Many judges have become very cosy with politicians and prominent members of society, and no longer keep to the age-old principle of maintaining a healthy distance from political and social networks.
Based on the foregoing, the Forum recommends that:
Defending and protecting the principle of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary should constitute a principal plank of advocacy by all democratic forces and organizations.
The process of appointing judges at all levels, including the CJN, should be reviewed and made more open with a focus on competence and integrity.
The excessive powers of the Chief Justice of Nigeria in the control of the Supreme Court and the National Judicial Council should be reviewed and transformed into a more collegiate system.
The conditions of service of judicial officers, especially Judges and Magistrates at all levels, should be improved and their tenures properly guaranteed to insulate them from political and societal pressures and corrupting influences.
Since 1999 Nigeria has conducted periodic elections and in 2015 witnessed the first democratic transfer of power from one political party to another. This democratic progress has seen the expansion of the frontiers of political participation and provided citizens with an opportunity to expand civic engagement. At the same time these developments have been challenged by increasing poverty, unemployment and conflict. From Boko Haram in the northeast; to the secessionist violence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in southeast; to the oil bunkering activities of Niger Delta militants; to the prevailing ethno-religious tensions and conflict in north-central; and the violent armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in the northwest, Nigeria is beset by insecurity. These violent conflicts continue to push the country towards failure, collapse and even disintegration.
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has taken a leading role in nurturing Nigeria’s democracy through cultivating peaceful co-existence, supporting conflict resolution and peace-building and aiding conflict mitigation effort. One of its key strategies for achieving this objective has been sustained community engagement. This is again at the heart of its approach to supporting efforts to reduce the threat of conflict in Nigeria’s northwest. As part of ongoing interventions a two-day community engagement and roundtable event was organised on ‘Quitting Banditry, Exiting Conflict: Pathways, Options and the Way Forward’ in Sokoto. Its key objective was to generate ideas regarding possible pathways and policy options to address the violent armed banditry in the geo-political zone.
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has been declared the winner of Saturday’s Ekiti governorship election.
Declaring the winner, Prof. Oyebode Adebowale, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returning officer, said Oyebanji polled a total of 187,057 votes to win the election.
He said Oyebanji had certified the requirement of the law and was, therefore, declared the winner.
“That I, Prof. Oyebode Adebowale, hereby certified that I am the returning officer of the Ekiti 2022 Governorship Election held on June 18.
“That Biodun Oyebanji, the candidate of APC, having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and returned,” Adebowale declared.
Here are fiv things to know about the governor-elect.
Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, fondly called BAO, is a politician and member of the All Progressives Congress, who was born on December 21, 1967 in Ikogosi-Ekiti, Ekiti State. He is 54.
He earned a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) degree in Political Science from the Ondo State University (now Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti) in 1989 and continued his quest for honours at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State in 1992 where he bagged a Masters Degree (M.Sc) in Political Science (International Relations & Strategic Studies).
Oyebanji started his professional career as a lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Ado Ekiti, where he worked for four years (1993 –1997) and later proceeded to work as the manager, Treasury, and Financial Services at the defunct Omega Bank Plc (now Heritage Bank) till May 1999.
Until his decision to run as Governor of Ekiti, Oyebanji was the Secretary to the Ekiti State Government under incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi.
He is married to Mrs Oyebanji, a princess in Ado Ekiti and associate professor at the University of Ibadan.
CLAIM: A trending news story was spotted making the rounds on social media platforms on June 24th, 2022, with the claim that ICPC operatives conducted an operation that led to the recovery of over a Billion Naira and 50 luxury watches from the former Chief of Army Staff General Tukur Buratai.
VERIFICATION PROCESS: To verify the authenticity of the claim, CDD-fact-checkers sourced valid evidence on the web. Checks on the Twitter handle of the ICPC revealed that the Commission released a statement, debunking the news story on Friday, June 24th.
The ICPC confirmed recovering the sums of N175,706,500 and $220,965 along with cars and several designer wrists watches, including three Rolexes from a Military contractor and not from General Buratai as claimed. According to the report, the operation was conducted as part of an investigation into a suspected money laundering case. The Commission added that the property located in Wuse 2 Area of Abuja is owned by K. Salam Construction Company. Following the operation, the Managing Director of the company, Kabiru Sallau, was arrested.
ICPC Spokesperson, Azuka Ogugwa, confirmed that its operatives raided the house in Wuse 2, Abuja, on June 16, but described the media reports as “inaccurate and concocted”. He added that the Commission was yet to conclude its investigation and prefers not to preempt its outcome, while avoiding the frenzy of media trial.
CONCLUSION: CDD fact-checkers can confirm that the claim is false. ICPC operatives did not recover over a Billion Naira and 50 luxury watches from General Tukur Buratai Rtd. However, the ICPC confirmed recovering the sums of N175,706,500 and $220,965 along with cars and several designer wrists watches, including three Rolexes from a Military contractor, Kabiru Sallau.
CDD urges the media to report accurately and the public to always verify news stories before sharing.
A video of about 2 minutes has been trending online with the posters claiming that the winner of the just concluded governorship primary in Enugu, Mr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, has been assassinated.
In the video, a man dressed in what looked like a police T-shirt and jean trousers lay lifeless on the road while another, dressed in traditional attire lay on the ground in a pool of blood, close to a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV which was riddled with bullets.
Old video being circulated
An analysis of the video using InVid, a video verification tool, showed that the video first appeared on the July 7, 2021.
Further search on Google revealed that the video was shot at the scene where the Director General of the Scientific Equipment Development Institute (SEDI), Enugu, Professor Samuel Ndubuisi was assassinated.
As reported by mainstream media, Ndubuisi along with his police orderly were shot dead along the Centenary City Junction axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway on July 7, 2021.
Mbah debunks video
Reacting to the viral video, Mbah’s media office in a statement signed by Dan Nwome, described the report as false labelling, wicked and evil.
The statement titled, ‘Fake news on the assassination of Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah’ reads, “We have been inundated with calls over fake news in circulation on some social media platforms on the purported assassination of the Enugu State PDP governorship flagbearer, Peter Ndubuisi Mbah. The story is false, wicked and evil.
“Our investigations indicate that the story was doctored from the video of the unfortunate gruesome assassination of one Dr. Ndubuisi (real name: Professor Samuel Ndubuisi), the Director-General of the Science and Equipment Development Institute (SEDI), along the Enugu Port Harcourt expressway, two years ago.
“It is the mere coincidence of “Ndubuisi” in the two names that has been twisted by some devious and malevolent characters to spread unfounded panic and alarm amongst our genuinely concerned teeming supporters and well-wishers in Enugu State and beyond.
“We condemn this wicked, ill-conceived misinformation and urge the masterminds to play politics of moderation and sportsmanship, have the fear of God and develop respect for the sanctity of human life.”
Relying on available evidence, Daily Trust can confirm that the video in circulation is an old one and is in no way connected with the Enugu governorship candidate as claimed.
A viral post suggesting that a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, his daughter and son contested and won Senate, governorship and House of representatives seats.
A version of the well circulated post reads: “✓Sule Lamido won for Senate. ✓His son won for Governor and ✓His daughter won for Rep. ✓All under PDP in Jigawa state. ✓If this is Tinubu, some people will visit UN headquarters to submit petition of threat to democracy,”
The post has generated several reactions from Nigerians.
Reacting to the post on his Facebook handle, one Engr. Hameed Olalekan wondered why people complained bitterly about Tinubu whose wife, Oluremi, is a senator.
“Lamido and Sons Nigeria Ltd,” another Facebook user, Hauwa Ahmadu, wrote.
A Twitter user, Kemi Biodun lamented saying, “Greedy fellows and tomorrow they will be complaining about Tinubu.”
One Qudus, @Qdpaper2, also tweeted that Lamido, his son and daughter contested and won PDP primaries.
He stated, “Sule Lamido is contesting for Senate, his son Mustapha Lamido is contesting for governor, his daughter is contesting for House of Representatives.
“All of them won their primaries. Family business! Change the name to Tinubu and see the reaction of online mob.”
Checks by Daily Trust has shown that neither Lamido nor his daughter contested any elective position in Jigawa State.
However, at the recently concluded primary of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, the governor’s son, Mustapha Lamido, won the PDP governorship ticket.
Mustapha defeated his challenger, Sale Shehu, a former junior Minister for Works, polling all the 829 votes cast.
Mustapha expressed joy at the victory.
“I most sincerely accept this nomination with humility, modesty and determination,” he said.
He also described the congress as historic.
“As we move to the next stage of campaign and elections, I ask you to trust me, work with me, campaign with me and vote for me so that we can make the state great again. And I count on you to come out massively to vote for PDP.
“I urge all of us to avoid politics of division and disunity. The interest of the state is far and above any personal or sectional interest.
“To our traditional rulers and elders, I have great respect for them and will consult them regularly on issues that will assist in moving the state forward. I pledge to campaign peacefully, but vigorously, I therefore as for your support and prayers,” he said.
The claim that former governor Sule Lamido, his daughter and and son contested and won the PDP tickets is misleading as only his son contested and won the PDP governorship ticket.
The spread of falsehoods across information ecosystems in West Africa is growing. Although enabled by increasing access to social media and the internet across the region, the flow of fake news is not simply confined to online spaces but moves between offline and digital environments with regularity and ease. A rumour that is started by an online influencer on Facebook, once trending, can become a topic of debate and discussion for television or radio talk shows, broadening its audience. These debates, in turn, are then discussed and debated in gathering spots such as markets, atayah bases, okada stages or grins enabling them to disseminate through well-established word of mouth rumour networks. Completing the circle, these offline rumours can then be transposed back online and can either be further skewed to disinform or simply reinforce an already circulating falsehood.
The way information flows between online and offline networks is critical for understanding how fake news spreads and influences actions across West Africa. So too is trust. Information that a recipient deems to be from a trustworthy source – be that the original source of the information or the individual who last shared it – remains fundamental to decisions about what is true and what is not, along with whether the information aligns with existing beliefs and biases. These factors are increasingly well understood by those involved in the purposeful spreading of falsehoods online across West Africa particularly on issues relating to politics and health.
This report draws on the findings of 15 studies undertaken in 2021 covering all members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Information was gathered through desk-based research, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and the authors’ experiences of using social media platforms. This regional report draws out some of the key trends from those studies. It highlights the individuals or organizations involved in the spread of falsehoods, the tactics they seek to employ, and the influence and impact that they are having. It then draws attention to the range of approaches adopted so far to respond to the ‘fake news’ threat. It concludes by offering recommendations to key stakeholders about what more can — and should — be done.
A 30-second video has gone viral across various social media platforms with the caption “Fulani is ready, are you.”
The video shows women and men wielding guns and chanting in an unfamiliar language. The lead singer holds a microphone with a flag attached to her veil.
Checks by CDD/Daily Trust revealed that the video first appeared online on 12th March, 2022 in a Facebook post tagged as “raising disciples, training indigenous missionaries involved in rehabilitation of destitute children.”
Another post on Facebook was made condemning the video with the caption “why can’t these dancing women be educated for future building; the community leaders should be arrested immediately.”
Another post was made using the same video which suggested that the Fulanis are giving guns to their women to kill Yoruba people.
The post whose caption was written in Yoruba read, “Please take note, the Fulani are giving guns to their women to kill Yoruba people. We need to pray that we don’t have all these political jobbers again. We need to let political jobbers know that there won’t be an election in Yorubaland! Our safety is paramount at this point. #Freedom #Yorubanation.”
This triggered comments as many people alleged that the Fulanis were responsible for the massacre at a Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, weeks ago.
However, going by the flag seen in the video it appeared that the protesters are of an ethnic group in Ethiopia called the Afar and scattered across Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.
The Afar people belong to an ethnic group that has been clamoring for an independent nation for almost half a century now and has a Facebook page: “Afar People’s Force” which is active with multiple videos similar to the viral one.
CDD/Daily Trust can confirm that the video in circulation was not made in Nigeria and the claim that the people in the video are Fulanis from Nigeria is false.