THE REPORT OF A  TWO-DAY ADVOCACY TRAINING ON CORRUPTION, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOCUSING ON SDG 16 ORGANIZED BY CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (CSCSD), CAFSO-WRAG FOR DEVELOPMENT AND TAP NETWORK HELD ON WEDNESDAY 16 AND THURSDAY 17 OF AUGUST 2017 AT DIPLOMAT HOTEL, IKEJA, LAGOS NIGERIA

The training started with registration of participants at around 8:45 am, while the business of the day commence with an opening prayer by Mr. Oliver Ajah Chima at around 10:08 a.m. The moderator, Mr. Paul Olatunde introduced dignitaries and invited them to the high table. Participants then introduced themselves. Mr. Olaitan Olumide, delivered the welcome address on behalf of the BOT chairman of CSCSD in the person of Rev. Fr. John Patrick Ngoyi. In his welcome address, Mr. Olumide gave a brief information about the SDGs and its implementation so far. He buttressed the role of CSOs in the implementation of SDGs and also talked about the paradigm shift in CSOs’ work. He enjoined CSOs to embark on research and be involved in data revolution. He welcomes all participants to the training programme.

The programme proceeded with a key note address from Head, DFID office and South West Regional Coordinator in the person of Mr. David Ukagwu. In his address, he talked about the importance of the SDGs, and the challenges ahead of all of us in the implementation of the SDGs. He talked about the role of DFID in achieving the global commitment dating back to the time of the MDGs and their commitment in achieving the SDGs globally and in Nigeria. He talked about the DFID strategy of leaving no one behind which are; understand, empower, and include. He further talked about DFID Nigeria programmes intervention. He tasked CSOs on plans, programmes and activities to drive the achievement of goal 16 of the SDGs. He concluded is address by enjoning participants to identify, prioritise, integrate, sustain and spread the needs for the SDGs and the benefit thereof.

Goodwill message was given by three participants namely Mr. Victor Anyanwu,  Mr.Oladotun Akinrinmade, and Mr. Mohammed Sharaf’deen. The workshop was declared opened by Alhaji Kabiru Hamisu Kura. Mr.Olaitan Olumide gave a vote of thanks to appreciate both dignitaries and participants. The training then adjourned for group photograph and tea break.

The training program resumed from break with the first technical session chaired by Barr. Gbemisola Titi Akosa. A pre-test was carried out on 20particpants who volunteered themselves for the test. It was administered by Mr. Wasiu Adebiyi and Mr. Tony Mbani. Mohammed Sharaf’deen and Abideen Olasupo took participants through the workshop objectives. Training expectations were identified by participants and ground rules for the training were set.

The first technical session was facilitated by Dr. Tola Winjobi on background to advocacy, meaning, concept, purpose, qualities etc. Dr. Winjobi started his presentation by engaging participants on the meaning of advocacy. Participants gave different definitions of advocacy and Dr. Winjobi agreed that all the definition were correct. He further expatiated that advocacy is not a noise making exercise, not a blind agitation, not just for proposing change, and not an information, education and entertainment initiative.

He gave the origin of advocacy and gave different definitions from Tearfund, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Tola Winjobi.  He further explained kind of advocacy, purpose of advocacy, objectives of advocacy and qualities of advocacy.

The second session was facilitated by Barrister Kehinde Adegbite who spoke on promoting the rule of law and ensuring equal access to justice for all as the underpinning factors for good governance, transparency and accountability within the purview of successful implementation of SDGs. Barr. Kehinde Adegbite started his presentation by emphasizing on the fact that SDGs unlike MDGs made provision for the rule of law and justice. Barr. Kehinde in defining rule of law referred to case of governor of Lagos state vs. Odumegwu Ojukwu in which the presiding judge Justice Okputa jsc stated that the state including Lagos state is a subject of the law. That judiciary is a necessary agency of the rule of law. The government including the Lagos state government should respect the right of individual citizens. He further stated that rule of law is not according to rule of man. Rule of law is equality before the law. And everybody is bound by the law.

Barr. Kehinde Adegbite stated that rule of law connote four thing which are accountability, just law, open government and impartial dispute resolution. He also define the term access to justice according to professor Mohammed Ladan as envisaging people in need of help in finding effective solution available from the justice system which are accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to ordinary people. He explained the indicator to know whether rule of law exist and also gave list of right that can be conferred on citizens in Nigeria. In explaining the right to freedom from discrimination he gave a case of girl child inheritance issue in the south eastern part of Nigeria. He also explained that some good laws have been enacted in Nigeria such as the FOI act, Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and VARP act. He further explained that for our justice system to move forward there must be independent judiciary which must be bold and incorruptible, vigilant, vibrant and enlightened CSOs and citizens. He concluded his presentation by explaining the treat to access to justice in Nigeria.

The training moved to question and answer session moderated by the session chair. Seven participants asked different questions on the two papers presented and both facilitators did justice to the questions and comments to the satisfaction of the participants.

The training continued with group work. Three groups were formed to come up with advocacy steps and stages on important developmental issues. The three groups broke into syndicate session and came back for the presentations of their work. Rev. Bolaji Emmanuel presented on behalf of group one and explained the processes that could lead to a successful advocacy. Other participants’ critiqued Group One’s presentation and the group members defended themselves. Amala Anakwuenze presented on behalf of Group Two and explained the processes that could lead to a successful advocacy.  The group was spared from any criticism. Anthony Obi presented on behalf of Group Three and explained the processes that could lead to a successful advocacy. Other participants’ critiqued their presentation and the group defended themselves.

Dr. Winjobi made another presentation on advocacy cycle. He explained that the chain of advocacy cycle follows the following chain; proposal – information gathering – assessed and analyzed- planning – action and implementation – evaluation. He stated that John Hopkins University, Centre for Communication Programs, defined advocacy cycle as steps using “A-Frame for Advocacy” with the chain: Analysis – Strategy –Mobilization – Action – Evaluation – Continuity. The training program then broke for group lunch after his presentation.

The technical session started with presentation by Mr. Olusola Akinbode of Centre for Human Rights and Empowerment on the topic “Profiling Nigeria Corruption Perception index: CSO strategies contributing to the fight against corruption and bribery in their forms so as to attain SDGs. He started his presentation by giving an illustration on the world perception about corruption after which he gave the definition of corruption according to the dictionary of law by B Curzon.  Corruption generally “refers to an inducement by means of an improper consideration to violate some duty”. He also gave definition by Webster Dictionary and UNDP. It was said by him that none of the definitions could be termed holistic because of the omission of “private sector” which forms an integral part in the definition. He further gave the Nigeria 2016 ranking of Corruption Perception Index as 28(highly corrupt).

Olusola in his word said “a critical assessment on goal 16 of the SDGs will show that we are yet to meet the target of substantially reducing corruption in all their forms because opaque, burdensome an inefficient regulations and procedure nurture opportunities for corrupt officials to extract bribes or unofficial payments. He encouraged the CSOs to build strong institutions, initiate projects that emphasize on citizens’ responsibilities as those are the major strategies in combating corruption to attain SDGs while encouraging government to protect Whistle Blowers. He concluded by x-raying the 17 SDGs and how they are inter-related and depends solemnly on one another for effective realization.

The training continued with the last presentation by Dr. Tola Winjobi on advocacy method. According to him advocacy method is built on tripartite structure which are benevolent, beneficiary and benefactor. He further broke it down advocate, the poor and agent of change. He explained that one can identify the stakeholders in advocacy by asking some question such as who does the move, in whose interest etc.

He also analyzed stakeholders in advocacy. He analyzed the stakeholders to be in two forms; within the government and outside the government. He also explained the different agents within the government and outside the government. He further analyzed stakeholders in form of allies/supporter and opponent. He gave questions we can ask to indentify our supports and opponents.

Participants raised some comments and questions after the two presentations and the chairman of the session (Titi Akosa) gave insight into where corruption level in Nigeria is heading towards using example of a case of two robbers going to court to determine how their loot should be shared. She admonished that all hands must be on deck to reduce incidence of corruption in our society.

The first day of the training came to a close with information on housekeeping by Mr. Efosa and the closing prayer by Mr. Kunle Salau.

Day two of the training began with an opening prayer by Mr. Tony Mbani at around 10:08 a.m. Then a recap of the first day of the training was read by Mohammed Sharaf’deen and Abideen Olasupo. The whole house agreed that the recap was a true reflection of what transpired at the first day of the training.

The first technical session was delivered by Mr. Shina Loremikan on ensuring public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms; the imperative of implementing Freedom of Information Act in achieving SDGs. He started his presentation by giving historical background of the Freedom of Information Act. He said the Freedom of Information Act 2011 was spearheaded by Media Right Agenda. He also explained the essence of Freedom of Information Act which to him is to promote and enhance our new democracy.

He gave some highlights of the FOIA, some of the highlights are; Section 1 of the Act “provides that every citizen whether adult or minor including foreigners are entitled to have access to any records under the control of the government or any public institution”. The application for the information can either be in written or oral form and the applicant does not have to demonstrate and/or indicate any specific interest in the information applied for. Section 3(3) of the Act also allows an illiterate or disabled applicant to request for information through a third party. Section 1(3) of the Act allows an applicant who has been refused information by a public institution, to institute proceedings in Court (Federal or State High Court) to compel the public institution to release the information sought.

He also gave different steps to Freedom of Information Act success and enhancement. He gave insight into how participants could send freedom of information request and achieve success. One of the examples he gave was the address where the FOI request is being sent to. He told participants to always include their name, address, and phone number on the Freedom of Information Act letter/request. This is because if an agency on Freedom of Information Act Officer has questions about your request a phone call can speed up the process. He also told participants about the exemption to the FOIA citing instance when the freedom of information request can be turned down. Example of such instance is when one’s request for classified document, or confidential business information among others could be turned down.

Mr. Shina concluded his presentation by giving participants option of what they could do in case their freedom of information request was not attended too.

The chairman of the session Alhaji Kabiru Hamisu Kura then sought the indulgence of all participants that the training should proceed to the next session instead of question and answer session. The whole house agreed to that. The Chairman then called on Dr. Tola Winjobi to render his presentation.

Dr. Tola Winjobi presented a paper on advocacy method. He started his presentation by relating the issue of the president health and strategy/method used by agitators agitating for the president to resume or resign to explain advocacy method. He said it is vital when advocating to use method that complement each other in order to have greatest impact on the widest selection of targets possible. He also explained that “protest” is a tool under campaign. He also explained that lobbying is a method under advocacy and it is largely used in USA Congress. He further explained that collaborating and partnering are key in advocacy, hence the need for coalition. He reiterated that mobilization of equipment is key; there is a need for resource mobilization during advocacy.

According to Dr. Winjobi “petition is a tool in advocacy, letter writing is also key”. He explained petition as a document written by a large number of people singling out a particular issue of general concern. He concluded is presentation as he gave insight into five integral parts of letter writing which are content, language, source/messenger, format, time and place.

Eight persons asked questions on the first and second presentations, and the resource persons did justice to all the questions to the satisfaction of all participants. The training proceeded with a group work on advocacy method. Three syndicated groups were formed and were given different task to perform. Group I was to write a letter to the presidency on the secrecy in the salary and allowance of the legislature. Group II was to write a letter to the house of assembly on the need to pass laws that would help in achieving goals 1,2,4,5, 8 and 16 of the SDGs. While Group III did a role play lobbying getting passed a bill against human trafficking, child abuse, sexploitation and domestic violence. The training then broke for tea.

The training continued with group presentations. Group III was the first to make their presentation on role play on indirect lobbying while the participants critiqued their presentation and offered suggestions. Members of the group responded to the question raised by the participants. Group II presented their sample letter and participants critiqued their presentations as well. Members of the group responded to the question raised by the participants. Group I presented last their letter and participants also critiqued their presentations. Members of the group responded to the questions raised by the participants.

Using TAP Network Advocacy guide, Mr. Victor Anyawu presented samples of relevant tools and worksheets. He explained the relevant tools and worksheet in advocacy and enjoined all participants to make judicious use of the worksheet in a bid to help achieve the aim of CSCSD. The training proceeded with presentation by Barr. Titi Akosa on situation analysis of and strategies for ending abuse, exploit, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children and women. She started her presentation by talking about the success achieved in the MDGs and the importance of the SDGs to the world. She continued with her presentation by explaining the constitutional provision against abuse of children and women and international treaties signed by Nigeria to ensure that women and children enjoy their life devoid of abuse, exploitation want and discrimination.

She gave insight into the Child Right Act that was passed in 2000 and the domestication of the Act in 24 states in Nigeria. She also explained steps taken by the Senate to ensure that all the states of the federation pass the Act protecting Nigerian child from abuse, discrimination and exploitation.

She also explained laws against trafficking and other laws and policies in different states of the country like National Policy on female Genital Mutilation 2000, Law to prohibit Domestic Violence  Against women and maltreatment Law No10 of 2004 by Cross River State, Nigeria Gender Policy and Strategic Action Plan 2006, Law prohibiting Domestic Violence In Lagos state (2007) , Ekiti (2013), osun(2013)and Oyo State, Laws Prohibiting Withdrawal of the girl child from school for Marriage in Kano, Niger, Gombe , Bauchi and Borno states, Schools Rights  Parents, Children and Teachers Law) No.2 2005b Rivers states, Street Trading Restriction Law 2004 Anambra state, Female genital Mutilation Law of Edo State ,Equal Opportunities Law, Ekiti state 2013. She further stated that despite the enactment of these laws, Nigerian women and children still suffer and are subjected to all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse, due to inadequate implementation and enforcement. She concluded her presentation by highlighting strategies for ending all forms of violence and death such as ensuring the enactment of VAPP Law in all the states. These include: working with CSOs to raise critical awareness about the laws, provide legal assistance and support to victims, and advocate for more budgetary allocation for the implementation of the laws. Others are invest in agriculture to ensure food security in order to address malnutrition in children and women, enhance poverty reduction interventions to reach more women, and conduct survey on the cost of violence and make a business case for ending violence.

Questions were asked by participants in respect to the presentations and the resource persons did justice to all the questions. The training proceeded with experience sharing on High Level Political Forum and Nigeria’s Voluntary National Report in New York by Mrs. Louisa. She gave insight on what transpired in New York and the role Nigeria played including members of the Civil Society Organizations. She discussed on the voluntarily reporting and steps that Nigeria has taken in the pursuance of the implementation of the SDGs at the recently concluded High Level Political Forum (HLPF). She explained that Nigeria’s Voluntary Report attempted to give a comprehensive and coherent report on all the SDGs and also captured activities of civil society organizations in complementing efforts of government in this endeavor.

She concluded her presentation by sharing some challenges from the NVR sessions which include challenges of disaggregated data. She also talked about the challenges of CSOs at the NVR session such as time issues.

Mr. Kunle Salau gave insight into Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development (CSCSD) and TAP Network. He talked about the formation of CSCSD and the metamorphosing of campaign2015+ to CSCSD. He gave out contact details of CSCSD and also directed participants to check out the website of CSCSD and Campaign2015+ for more information about the activities of CSCSD. He also explained the role that TAP Network has been playing in providing platform for CSOs to make their voice heard in the implementation process of SDGs. Importantly he emphasized the work of TAP Network around SDG 16 on the issue of  access to justice for all with special focus on promoting  peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. He concluded by saying that TAP Network substantially financially supported the advocacy workshop being organized that day..

Mr. Anyawu came back to talk about the paradigm shift for effective engagement on SDG 16 in Nigeria. He analyzed SDG 16 including its target and indicators while he also enjoined participants to follow the data revolution in development sector to effectively achieve goal 16 of the SDGs in Nigeria.

Post training evaluation was carried out on the 20participants who participated in the pre-training evaluation at the beginning of the training.  The results of the two sets of score were compared, and there was a significant difference between the two. In summary after the post training exercise, Dr. Winjobi appreciated all the participants and saying that there had been a significant increase in the knowledge base of participants on the subject matter. He then called out the names of participants who showed perfect understanding of the training. He also appreciated participants who actively contributed to the success of the training by rewarding them with copies of text books on transition “From MDGs to SDGs” and a book he wrote on advocacy.

A vote of thanks was given by the chair of the session Alhaji Kabiru Hamisu Kura to Transparency Accountability and Participatory Network for co-sponsoring the programme. He also thanked CAFSO-WRAG for Development for the support. Mr. Efosa made some announcement on housekeeping, while Rev. Bolaji Ebenezer gave the closing prayer. The two day training on corruption, accountability, and access to justice focusing on Goal 16 came to a close at around 5:15 p.m.