Goodwill Message at the National SDGs Stakeholders’ Retreat Presented on Behalf of the Civil Society Community by – Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive, Connected Development [CODE]

Hamzat Lawal August 30, 2016 0

On behalf of the participating CSOs at this very important retreat, we wish to acknowledge and respectfully appreciate the invitation of the CSOs to be part of this very important retreat on SDGs as it is coming at a no better time than now in line with the spirit of goal 17 on “Partnerships” and in the inclusivity of “Leave No One behind”.

Your Excellences, the Civil Society in Nigeria had been active players in the formulation and designing of the SDGs right from Rio +20 to the Open Working Groups (OWG) and have held key positions why playing very important and sensitive roles all through the negotiations leading to the adoption and signing of the SDGs.

Just as this promising African nation called Nigeria is clothed in rich historical apparel, signifying the process through which it evolved its democratic experience, the stellar role played by civil society in guiding both the needle and the fabric cannot be overemphasized.

The Third Sector, as some would like to call the Civil Society, is a potent molding tool with which Nigeria nurtures its conscience at every given moment.

As a testimony to the central role played by this sector in birthing a new Nigeria, it is instructive to note that some of our present leaders like Mrs. Amina. J. Mohammed, (Minister of Environment and former SA to the President on the MDGs) and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, (former Governor of Ekiti State, and present Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals), are products of the country’s vibrant civil society community.

At the dawn of the twenty first century, our dear country was privileged to receive the cooperation it needed in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While we met few, we backslide on some and many were unmet.  However, the lessons learnt are useful as we set out our implementation of the SDGs.

Therefore, as a sector we are convinced that today, and specifically, this distinguished forum, presents a great opportunity for the CSO community to candidly communicate our expectations, share our experience and hear fromgovernment and other critical stakeholders, on how we can jointly lay out the needed robust implementation plan forattaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.

As we all know, following the progress made under the MDGs which drove global development efforts from 2000 to 2015, the world determined that the SDGs for the period 2016 to 2030 would continue to fight against extreme poverty,achieve gender equality and empower all women and girlswould add the challenges of ensuring more equitable development and environment sustainability.

Hence, we must emphasize the need for Nigeria to follow the global trend by upscaling its capacity and sharpening its strategies for international best practices and norms. This basically means that we deploy lessons learnt from the MDGs for the implementation of the SDGs. But more importantly, it recommends a new paradigm shift in the partnership between CSOs, private sector and the government.

Civil society plays a fundamental role at the national and sub-national domestication and implementation of all international protocols and conventions. The trainings, outreaches, data mining, and various interventions of the civil society have helped immensely in ensuring that both national and international agendas are brought closer to the ordinary Nigerians. And in this way, we as a sector along with our stakeholders, the international community and our development partners are able to monitor the impacts of our interventions.

With the SDGs, there is a new, exciting challenge before us all. With our capacity as a sector and using our networks of citizens and citizen organizations, we have started popularizing the SDGs, 17 goals and 169 targets. And, of course, it is our duty to reticulate their impacts. It is also collective responsibility as participants at this forum to ensure that transparency and accountability remain the key words for all SDGs actors, the more reason why we ‘Follow TheMoney’.

The Nigerian civil society has already made some remarkable achievements right from the process of designing the SDGs. For instance, we were part of several consultations that led to the development of the SDGs from 2012 to 2015. We consulted with citizens all over the world through the ‘’my world survey’’ and brought citizens voices to bear on the design and negotiations that led to the development and adoption of the SGDs. We were well represented as active stakeholder’s at all high level events and intergovernmental processes including leading the African Women Major Groups at the UN processes and at the African Regional Consultative Meeting on the SDGs. It might also interest you to know that one of the outcomes of that forum, which was to vigorously utilize data collection, is already being implemented in Nigeria.

We were present as a sector in September 2015 in New York when world leaders including our President Muhammadu Buhari made history by adopting the 2030 agenda. The SDGs, it was agreed, presents a “key window of opportunity to improve the existing, haphazard approach to data collection and reporting”. It was also decided that civil society, private sector and citizens should collaborate with the government to evolve better strategies for strengthening statistical systems that can measure and incentivize progress across the goals.

We are glad to announce to you that Nigerian CSOs are already implementing this strategy in conjunction with the government, as agreed by the international community (Women Environmental Programme in conjunction with the National Bureau of Statistics just finished the first phase of their data collectors training for Nigerian youths).

However, we strongly believe that there are many more things to do for effective implementation of the SDGs, and many other strategies to adopt in order to ensure Nigeria performs better than it did under the MDGs.

Excellences,

Firstly, the government needs to exhibit more willingness to cross the line from average to perfection by creating the enabling environment for optimal multi-stakeholder participation in the framing, development and implementation of national, state and local government plans of action on the attainment of the SDGs. We anticipate a domestication of the SDGs within our national and states development plan.

We recommend seamless coordination between local, states and the federal government; and also between the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including synergies with the private sector and civil society sector which of course includes the media and the academia.

Secondly, we recommend a planned upgrade of institutional capacity in order to ensure service delivery and effective project implementation.

Thirdly, a coherent national data management system would be effective in mainstreaming the efforts and interventions of civil society, private sector and development partners while enabling all actors within the development space to carry out their task unencumbered. Strategically, capacity building on the Open Data concept targeted at those who will be implementing the SDGs is a major first step in realizing that at the review and progress of the implementation of the SDGs can only be measured through presentation of data.

We are confident that if collectively we remain positive, focused and determined, our country can achieve the SDGs goals before 2030 and other developmental aspirations we have.

On behalf of the CSOs, I urge our government to see us as allies and partners to achieving the Nigeria we want, with the SDGs, particularly around data at the grassroots to inform policy and decision making, leveraging on innovative technologies.

Thank you for listening and for this opportunity!!! God Bless You All and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Tracking to ensure Accountability on Great Green Wall project in Jeke in Jigawa State

Hamzat Lawal May 27, 2016 0

Tracking of the  GGW project in Dutse the State Capital of jigawa

The team reached Jeke community and met with Jeke ward heads in his compound together with some of Jeke Community Families

However, things have  change compared to the last visit by the team to Jeke community.  Although the community  is demanding the Wind Mill be converted to solar owing to the fact that Wind only blows in season and not on a daily.

They also urged the concerning bodies to look over some certain issues which some haven mentioned by the ward head and community group of Jeke District Development Association.

Interactive Section between CODE and Jeke community

YAHAYA HUSSANI (JEKE DISTRICT HEAD SAID)

GGW is one of the must important national projects that Jeke district ever benefited from in history, due to its Environmental protection methods’ on Agriculture and Clean Water Aiding to our Community, but I will like to remind the concerning bodies that; Still this project have some certain challenges ware I hope GGW will put this challenges in to serious considerations for the success and sustaining the GGW project, which are:-

  1. Compensations of the farmlands, Still the landlords of the farm Land are waiting for the Compensations, nothing have been given to them and raining Season have stated in the area. They are telling us that they must plant their farms because they still haven’t earn the farmland compensations’ and the working is moving so slowly.
  2. Vegetable session is not complete, some of the water pipes have been laid in the farm land and nothing is going on the the last two years until now.
  3. Terminations of the forest guard Assignment, All the forest guards Assignments of GGW project in Jeke have been terminated by the responsible bodies.

 

WHAT WE WANT FROM RESPONSIBLE BODIES OF GGW PROJECT IN JEKE ?

Our must importantly needed on this projects are:-

  1. To achieve the desired goals of this project and to benefits from.
  2. To settle and compensate the farm landlords for the successful implementations of the project.
  • To re-employ the forest guards or to renew the previous offers in order to sustain the project and to achieve better results.
  1. To complete the uncompleted session of the project more especially a vegetables session in other to achieve the project goals and to benefits from the vegetable session of the project.

NEW DEVELOPMENT COMPARED TO THE CODE PREVIOUS VISIT

In recent times, water problems have reduced due to the rotation of wind turbine of GGW water project, consider to the act that the  raining season wind is now available in the area and  many people are fetching water, our animals watered from and must of our water problems are solved through GGW water project, but I will like to remind you that when there is no wind in the area means no water, because wind turbine can stop rotating for up to two weeks, we need GGW to provide another alternative of water source in Jeke.

Presently we have nine hand pumps in Jeke but only two are working, we also have one MDGs overhead tank which has its  own issues, so presently we are managing the MDGs water source and GGW water project due to the wind condition (availability of wind and rotation of wind turbine) Jeke’s main water source is GGW water plan, and we hope GGW Authority will look over our needs concerning project in Jeke and take all the serious/necessary action on all what they hear from Jeke community.

 

Muhammad Hussaini (chairman Jeke District Development Association)

Honestly speaking, things have stated moving but very slowly, I will like to add more on what our district head have just said, concerning the organization roles in the in a view of sustaining the project we will like to put more concern about the promises that have been made to the organization concerning GGW project so as to uplift the development of the project as well as Jeke community.

 

Having said that, water is very essential in our everyday life. And this community  are still very hopeful that more wind mills are provided to them  by the government, not just more but be converted to solar.

 

 

8 things to know about LEAD Poison

Hamzat Lawal May 13, 2016 0

Many Nigerians only hear about LEAD Poison and how it is affecting children in most of the mining states in Northern part of Nigeria. But careless of how its been contacted or passed on.

Many people have that tiny voice in their head that tells them (any way, wetin concern me, na village people na, dem get the sickness,dirty people, farmers dem).

Many of us already have a nonchalant attitude towards the disease, not knowing the mode of transmission, causes, symptoms or even how deadly it is. I am so sure i just spoke your mind. Not to worry i will give you an insight to it.

Let me start by explaining what LEAD Poison is?

According to research carried out by scientists, LEAD Poison is a very serious and highly fatal condition which only occurs when it builds in the body system. Aside from that, it is also a highly toxic metal and very lethal poison.

From that definition, one would know that in one way or the other we touch or hold metal which simply means it affects us all. Having said all of that, here are eight (8) things you need to know about LEAD poison.

1) It is found in lead based paints (Paints on the walls of old houses); Ever since we all heard about the poison, all we hear is, the farmers from one community went into illegal mining and as a result of that came in contact the poison. But here it is, go to urban areas; you would find old houses with paints falling out.

2) It is also found in toys; Let me ask, how many villagers buy toys for their kids? I am sure your answer is none. Ninety percent (90%) of our kids today all have toys with which they play with it. For instance, it could be seen in old toys or imported toys. It gets to them while making them in the factories.

3) Pregnant women are at a high risk of getting it; All over the world today, from villages, to communities, to town to city, we have women who get pregnant and also give births on a daily basis. They are at higher risks of getting it.

4) Drinking water also can be contaminated by the poison; It is often said that “Water is life” and we all drink water, but ironically LEAD poison can be found in water. This happens through metal corrosion or the wearing away of pluming materials in the water system and households.

5) It also breeds in soil; Do you know that soil and walkways around industrial areas may contain LEAD. It could get contaminated through past use of LEAD in gasoline.

6) Children are also at risk; Children below the age of six (6) can contact the poison because their brain and nervous system are still developing, and they often play with soil, aside from that pregnant mother could pass it on from the womb through the intestine.

7) If discovered early, it could be treated but if not it cannot be reversed; Once it’s detected early enough, it can be treated with Chelation therapy and EDTA , but in  cases where it leads to severe damages, it cannot be reversed. Chelation therapy is a series of intravenous infusions containing disodium EDTA and various other substances. It is sometimes done by swallowing EDTA or other agents in pill form.

8) Basic symptoms of LEAD poison; This is a list symptoms of patience with Lead Poison; i. Abdominal Pain, ii. Abdominal Cramps, iii. Aggressive Behavior, iv. Constipation, v. Sleeping Problems, vi. Headaches, vii. Irritability, viii. Loss of Developmental Skills in Children, ix. Loss of appetite, x. Fatigue, xi. High Blood Pressure, xii. Numbness or Tingling in the extremities, xiii. Memory Loss, xiv. Anemia, xv. Kidney Dysfunction.

One would realize that LEAD poison is not only restricted to the people from the mining states. Yes, they might have one way or the other gotten exposed to the poison due to ignorance and lack of job by going into illegal mining. But anyone could be a victim of Lead Poison.

Let’s give a helping hand to the affected victims, as it is often said “Health is Wealth”.

Next episode promises to be interesting as we talk about prevention of the LEAD poison.

 

CODE receives grant from The Indigo Trust

Hamzat Lawal February 29, 2016 0

The following blog post is reproduced from the Indigo Trust website. The original post can be found here 👇👇👇
[LINK] http://goo.gl/Bi49A5

Visitors to the Indigo site may already be familiar with the work of CODE in Nigeria (formerly Follow the Money). CODE, which uses data, social media and offline campaigning to press for more accountable and effective government, has previously received funding from us and has grown from a small start-up organisation into a much more ambitious and financially sound organisation over the last couple of years. It’s for that reason that we have awarded them with a grant of £37,492 towards core costs, including salaries and rent. We recognise the importance of supporting organisations’ core costs, realising that to do so frees them up from the day-to-day problems of covering next month’s rent and instead lets them focus on their programmes and just getting on with things.

#PowerUpShere: An Isolated Community in The Federal Capital

Hamzat Lawal January 18, 2016 0

CYr74IjUEAA3app Ever imagined there is a community in the Federal Capital Territory that never had access to electricity? You will be shocked to discover there is, and that community is Shere which is under the Bwari Area Council.

Shere is a community with an estimated population of about 3000 people in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory. For a community that is located just few minutes away from the Federal Capital, one would expect it to have access to basic amenities, but unfortunately this community never had access to electricity in its almost 200 years of existence, the roads are bad, no access to clean water, ill-equipped health care facilities, high rate of illiteracy and school dropouts.

Going to Shere from Bwari, you will be welcomed by abandoned road and power projects; upon arrival in Shere, your body will be covered in dust after surviving the 25 minutes bike ride on the bumpy roads. You will find a dilapidated building with the roofs torn off by the wind over 2 years ago serving as their health clinic; 14 classes, most of them with half roofings or no roofs accommodating over 1,000 students; 2 toilets serving over 14 teachers and 1,000 students; a well filled with sand-colored water which serves as the major water source of the community. That is the reality of Shere community; a community not far from the Federal Capital but far away from advancement and civilisation.

 

The Border Town, Casted Away in the Sahara Desert – Jeke!

codepress November 24, 2015 0

Have you wondered how communities in the Sahara get water? to use for personal purposes, and their livestock? To be candid, it can be a whole tussle, and frustration. But with recent innovations in Wind and Solar Energy, it should be a thing of the pass, but in Jeke, a border town with Niger Republic (On your cell-phone, an Airtel Subscriber will be switched to the One-Airtel roaming plan on receiving a welcome message from Airtel Niger), it is still the case, as the estimated 7,000 that inhabits Jeke wait every 3 days to have access to Water.

IMAG0972

Inhabitants of Jeke lining up their Jerrycan while in search of Water

 

Jeke located in Sule Tankarkar LGA of Jigawa has 14 shelter belts, and most are predominantly farmers involved in dry crops.”You can get those big water melons here for 20 Naira, and when you get back to Abuja, maybe you will buy it for 600 Naira” explained Husseini, the Motor Bicycle Rider that took us through the sandy path that took us to Jeke. This community reminds me of Bagega in Zamfara State, with a wind propeller that powers the water points lightening up the village, and embedded within the orchard and nursery set out for the village to use in sustaining their tree plantations.

 

“This wind powered water tank provides water 3 times in a week only when the wind speed is high, but when it is not we cannot get water, and this could have been an alternative to the MDG solar powered tank we have in the community, which cannot serve all of us.The MDG powered solar tank constructed 2 years ago only gives water between 9am and 2pm, that’s why you see so many people carrying kegs around” explained Yakubu Magaji, a spokesperson for Jeke

The wind powered water tank in Jeke that supplies water to the orchard - The tank gets filled up only at high wind speed

The wind powered water tank in Jeke that supplies water to the orchard – The tank gets filled up only at high wind speed

 

Jeke alone, due to its border line with Niger enjoins most of the shelter belt line that the GGW initiated, but the continuation and sustainability of the project still lives many inhabitants of Jeke in the dark. “As you must have seen, the shelter belts are only growing on their own, without nurturing, and some are already getting dried up, as their are no forest guards around, we only took up the initiative in the hope that their will be continual support from the government” said Muhammad Hussaini the leader of the Men’s Development Association who also went for a training in Kano on sustaining the GGW project.

 

A noteworthy plan for the GGW was the cash transfer system which will allow these association or cooperatives of farmers to have direct access to cash in their bank accounts to use in sustaining and localizing the GGW but the beneficiaries haven’t seen the plan grow into implementation. “We have submitted our bank accounts to the government since this started a year ago, but no amount has been transferred to the account, and so how do we trust the government if all this promises are failing” lamented Hussaini as he explained further.

Muhammad Husseini sharing his experiences on the GGW  with the FTM team

                                  Muhammad Husseini sharing his experiences on the GGW with the FTM team

 

While one wonders what will happen to the 5 – 20 hectares of land that was used for this project, the locals claimed it was their land, and that although the government paid tokens for some of the land used, it still has some pending cases of land acquisition for this project in Jeke to be settled. “Aside the issue of Water which remains pertinent for our people to survive, it should be noted that there are three people in our community that have not been duly compensated for their farmlands that was used for the orchard, it will be pleasing for the government to fulfill their promises”. Adiu Hassan exclaimed

 

When the Follow The Money team embarks on community outreaches like this, we endeavour to meet with policy makers as well to get insights into some of this projects, but at times, you get some shocking response, just like in Jigawa state.”We will not be able to entertain any question fro your team, as we do not have directives from the Federal Ministry of Environment to talk to you, and also we advise you do not visit the communities, as you might be instigating them” cautioned Hilary Ammani, Director, Desertification and Forestry for the Federal Ministry of Environment. But as much as we get disturbing responses like this, so also do we have comforting ones “We have attached a representative who will take you around the shelter belts in Gumel and Jeke, but we can inform you that the GGW has made its little progress in that it is only a year old, and for some months now, there has not been follow up, because of the change in government, but we assure you of our cooperation” Hamisu Ahmed representing the State Forestry Services Department.

The FTM Team with the Forestry Department Representative at the Shelter Belt in Jeke. Trees here include Neem, Senegal Acacia, and the Doum Palm

The FTM Team with the Forestry Department Representative at the Shelter Belt in Jeke. Trees here include Neem, Senegal Acacia, and the Doum Palm

 

Many times, we intend to create the missing feedback loop between the government and the people, while amplifying the voice of this lurked away communities like Jeke. As the following months will pass by, we will be engaging the people and its government on how to break these barriers that stand between empowering this communities. No doubt, more can still be done on the side of the government to make water available in Jeke!

#Kadandani – Thriving on the heels of economical trees, threatened by unfulfilled promises!

codepress November 21, 2015 0

How does doing a community outreach in a state where a suicide bomber just killed so many lives sounds like? Yes we were in Kano, when the tragedy struck, but many times this would not distract us like someone said during our radio engagement “I think the Follow The Money team are a group of Nigerians that are never shaken, even in the light of insecurity in the North”.Maybe the next conversation, might be – “How do you manage it?”

 

We are typical Nigerians that follows not only money for good, but our passion pushes us, and so same passion took us to Kadandani in Makoda Local Government of Kano State. Estimated to have a population of 6,000 with one primary and secondary school each, only one source of water that  thrives on an alternative power – the AC generator;and a clinic that has only one midwife attending to patients.

The Shelter Belt initiated by the Kano State Government two decades ago

                                            The Shelter Belt initiated by the Kano State Government two decades ago

 

Kadandani has a long stretch of shelterbelts, which made us think the community might be thriving on economical trees “Each woman in the community has four Date trees she nurtures, hoping that in future years, we will reap from each Date fruit”  affirmed Hajiya Mari the head of the women association in Kadandani who recently attended a 2 days seminar on the importance of the Great Green Wall project and they were directed to submit their registration and bank account details which they did. She mentioned that same project was initiated by the Kano State government and has been in existence 4 years ago. “The huge shelter belts surrounding our community is an initiative of the state government, it started decades ago, but what we hope for now is that the government can now provide processing machines for peanuts harvested by our women, as such we can make kuli-kuli in large scale” explained Mari

 

The Great Green Wall (GGW) project in Kadandani has lived to its expectation with awareness, trainings and shortcomings in unfulfilled promises of water and social projects. “The Kadandani inhabitants are much aware about the benefit of planting trees, owing to awareness and training programmes by the government, but it has had its own challenges, at the beginning of the GGW, we were promised water, an important amenity to us and our livestocks, but looking back, this is not the case if you visit the proposed site for this amenities” explained Adamu Abdullahi, community head of Kadandani

The FTM team with key groups in the community - from top left is Hajiya Mari

                                           The FTM team with key groups in the community – from top left is Hajiya Mari

 

100m away from the fences of their mud – thatched roofs, is located a “drying up” orchard  with a solar powered tank, which was meant to generate 10 water points for the community, and  a livestock water storage trough. “6 months after this was installed, it stopped working, and since then we have written to the federal government, but there has not been any response and the nurseries and orchards are getting dried up” – says Adamu. But one would have thought that the community would have invested or carry on the burden of sustaining the project, “When there was no response, I had to start using sprinklers and trying to raise new orchards, and I encouraged other community members to do as well, but we can only do a little” Shehu Ibrahim, the owner of one of the 5 hectares of land which the community offered to the federal government for this project.

 

Speaking with the Director, Forestry Department of the State Ministry of Environment, he clearly affirmed the situation in not only Kadandani “although we are trying to restore this water source for the plants, livestock and the people, its been challenging getting the contractors to fix the water tanks properly, and this is not peculiar to Kadandani, we have 5 shelter belts in other 3 other communities in Makoda, and we need to provide water at each communities for the GGW  to survive” explained Danusa Ibrahim, Director, Forestry Department.

The orchard and nursery site in Kadandani, just behind is the non-functional 10 water points

                           The orchard and nursery site in Kadandani, just behind is the non-functional 10 water points

 

Little wonders, why laudable social projects in local communities gets abandoned at the height of hysteria, perhaps, no thinks about its sustainability, or projects are initiated to gain political integrity. “Although as a lead, I have been more enlightened about the benefits of projects like GGW, as we have seen in Zinder, Niger during one of our field trips, it is more important to consult the local communities first before starting social projects like this, also I will advise stakeholders such as lawmakers from these communities should take the lead in some of these consultations, this can help in the sustainability of the project” Miyaki said
So what happens to Kadandani afterwards? As these kind of stories interests us at FTM, we will be looking at every opportunity to get water to the 5,000 people that inhabits Kadandani; and not just to forget their livestocks and flora that exist in their community. If you are in Kano, and you think you want to join in tracking the 70 million Naira that was meant for Kadandani which might lead to getting back water to the 5,000 inhabitants, join us now!