As p a r t o f s t r e n g t h e n i n g collaboration for safeguarding civic space in Nigeria, the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE)
project, a USAID funded project has held a dialogue session with the
military, police, civil society o r g a n i z a t i o n s ( C S O s ) ,
government, media, and other stakeholders The USAID-SCALE project Chief of Party, Lydia Odeh, said the dialogue will help participants to develop capacity for
implementing efficient and effective policies that support transformational change and contribute to improving quality of
life for Nigerians, and an open civic space enables them to pursue many
roles. The dialogue with the theme,
“Safeguarding Civic Space”,
which held on Wednesday in
Lagos, stressed the need for key stakeholders to identify and develop action plans to address the nation’s shrinking civic space. “The
main objective of this activity was
to bring together stakeholders from civil society, government including the Nigeria Police Force and
Nigeria Army to identify and develop action plans to address shrinking civic space issues,” Odeh said. She said that open and safe civic spaces serve as unique safe havens for citizens from diverse backgrounds to participate and build the competence they need to fully participate in various realms of public life, noting that government interference coupled with security challenges, and COVID 19 have heightened the vulnerability of civic
spaces thereby diminishing open dialogue with the government and other critical stakeholders.
Speaking at the event, the Nigeria
Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Command, DSP
Olumuyiwa Adejobi, stressed the importance of dialogue between citizens and the police and also emphasized the need for taking collective responsibility in understanding relevant laws and regulations that govern citizens and rights to peaceful protest and
“While an issue of inclusion is nonnegotiable, as citizens, we will continue to sensitize ourselves on the various legal frameworks that govern our land and also understand the concept of agitation, which bothers
around consultation, consolidation and confrontation, all these need to be taken into account when engaging on
protest issues. We will continue to engage and collaborate with citizens
to ensure our communities are safer”, Adejobi said.
Present at the event included representatives from the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Special Control Unit on
Money Laundering (SCUML), and the Network of Nigerian NGOs.
The forum discussed priority issues around vulnerabilities of non-profit
organizations to money laundering and terrorist financing in Nigeria, and
how to improve citizen-government relations.