Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola_NurPhoto via Getty Images

Nigeria’s CSOs Outreach Strategy to Combat COVID-19

Civil society actors are mobilizing to mitigate both the threats to peace (and related SDG16+) and health brought by the pandemic in Nigeria. With the support of CSPPS, our member the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA) is running a project to raise awareness, to develop coping mechanisms of resilience and to help in disseminating relevant information and prevention strategies against COVID-19 in the country. 

As the pandemic is already affecting around 60,000 people and at the origin of over 1000 deaths in Nigeria, the health situation is fed by a lack of strategic official communication, or even by a widespread misinformation. In addition, the sanitary crisis and the myths around it are interacting with the socio-economic difficulties and conflicts that the country is currently facing, either by aggravating them or by risking to engendering new ones.

The Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA), a CSPPS member, is an independent organization that seeks to address the challenges of violence, poor governance and health that are making sustainable development elusive in Africa. 

Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola
Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Messages were mainly be broadcasted in radio talk shows, via programmes addressing the need to take sanitary precautions, which reached over 50 million Nigerians. Moreover, the aim was also to promote SDG16+ by discussing about peace, non-violence and inclusion, defending human rights broadly, with a particular attention to the fight against domestic and gender-based violence. 

Indeed, Nigeria is already facing internal conflicts (e.g.: Niger Delta petroleum resources crisis; the farmers versus herders’ conflict) and rampant issues of violence (e.g.: militancy and armed youth groups, kidnappings, violent extremism) which increase are often linked to the lockdown and economic repercussions of COVID-19 (e.g.: increase in rape and domestic gender-based violence, abuses perpetrated by security agents, cyber-crimes, discriminations against foreigners…).

Additionally, CSDEA will engage in advocacy activities towards the Nigerian government to demand the participation of civil society into national programmes to respond to the pandemic. This appears to be highly needed given the shrinkage of civic space induced by lockdown measures and the need to combat the rampant misinformation.

This key information concerning the prevention of COVID-19 and the implementation of SDG16 - related to the existing challenges faced by Nigeria - were published in national newspapers. Theophilus Ekpon, the Executive Director of CSDEA and member of the CSPPS’s Executive Committee, has written 4 articles on behalf of the organization, reaching over 20 million Nigerians. They aim at lifting the veil on the country's situation and to disseminate recommendations to address the COVID-19 pandemic’s aftermaths for health, as well as for peace and development. We strongly encourage you to read these articles, as they give the opportunity to quickly get a clear insight of the Nigerian context. They are simultaneously covering the current conflicts, issues of violence and their interrelation with development in these times of health crisis. And, on a brighter note, Mr. Ekpon is conveying the key statements and advices of CSDEA.

"For Nigeria to avoid another lockdown, and to ensure the implementation of SDG 16, all citizens must come together and support each other in abiding by the COVID-19 guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)." Mr. Ekpon recalls

You will furthermore be able to read the views of the organization on the transparency and accountability of the Nigerian governance; on the inclusion of civil society in the COVID-19 related national task force; on how a wide dissemination of the information can be ensured; or even on why a systematic monitoring of security forces and application of the law, in this area, is imperative.

You can find a first article related to “COVID-19, Peace, Security and Sustainable Development Goal 16” in The Authority, The Leadership, The Daily Trust and Peoples Daily.

And a second one about “COVID-19 and the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 16 in Nigeria” in The Leadership and in Peoples Daily.

A third article about “COVID-19, institutionalisation of Transparency and Accountability Mechanisms in Governance” in The Leadership, in Peoples Daily and in the Authority

And finally, the fourth one on “COVID-19: Responsibility to Uphold Human Rights” in Daily Trust and in The Authority.

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