CITAD in partnership with CEPORED Train North East CSOs, CBOs, FBOs on Take Action Platform.


By Hamza Ibrahim Chinade.

The Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) in collaboration with the Center for Political Research and Development (CEPORED) have conducted a one day training in Damaturu, the Yobe state capital for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), community leaders as well as citizens on their role in the rebuilding process in the North East and how to use the newly developed platform for reporting cases of corruption, abuses or threat to peace in the region.

Giving an opening remark, the Executive Director of CITAD, Dr. YZ Ya’u noted that the civil society organizations, community leaders and the media need to collectively play an important role in rebuilding the North East region, and non participatory process or efforts often lead to unsustainable development hence the need to involve relevant stakeholders, Ya’u cautioned that people should eradicate the culture of regarding projects as “government-owned” which makes them have no concern for it even where they are expected to help monitor and ensure it’s security. It is a responsibility of everyone to ensure that programmes and projects function because government cannot see everywhere; in essence citizens are the eyes of the government. On the platform developed by CITAD, Dr. YZ Ya’u said “what we intend to do is to create a platform where citizens can report problems, issues, security threats that they see in their communities so that relevant agencies can easily look at the reports and take necessary action, sometimes it is not that the government does not want to take action but because nobody cares to report what is happening, if there are no security alerts, security problems can become magnified”. Ya’u categorically maintained that it is an objective of the gathering that the cost of reporting and the time it takes for people to report is made shorter and virtually at no cost.

The chairman of the occasion Alhaji Tijjani Musa Tumsah who is also the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Committee on North East Initiatives (PCNI) gave an overview of the Planned Interventions for the North East, he began by acknowledging that engagement with CSOs is something that he always cherish because CSOs facilitate development. On PCNI he said it is the apex coordinating body, policy and guidance institution for all interventions coming into the North East, as a result of the insurgency in the region all human development index in the region appears to lag behind. Any intervention that is not owned by the people is not an intervention at all, PCNI is mandated to collaborate, coordinate, communicate and ensure that there is a participatory process for the civil society organizations and all stakeholders in the region, Tumsah added.  

Executive Director of CEPORED Dr. Abubakar Sadeeque Abba led the next session on “The Philosophy Behind the Take Action Platform at a Glance”. Take Action Initiative as Dr. Sadeeque put it is a platform of interaction between and among stakeholders in the re-building process especially in the North East and a citizen driven simple technology that addresses the relationship between the government and the governed in terms of policy ownership and implementation processes. He said Take Action Initiative (TAI) is meant to assist in the dissemination of the mission and vision of the Buhari Plan for people to claim ownership and to ensure value for money on all projects implementation.  

The platform developed for reporting issues and problems was demonstrated to the participants by Adamu Umar of CITAD who carefully explained all the necessary steps for submitting reports and how they can be submitted. Representative of Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) gave an insight on Government-Civil Society Partnership on rebuilding the North East while representative of the Commandant, Nigeria Civil Defense and Security Corps (NSCDC) presented a paper on Tips on working in a Volatile Environment. The last session was facilitated by the Executive Director of CITAD Dr. YZ Ya’u on “The Role of CSOs, Community Leaders and the Take Action Platform in the Rebuilding Process”. After the session, participants engaged in a syndicate interaction where they discussed some anticipated difficulties in their communities or organizations and ways to overcome them. The training was attended by PCNI, NOA, NSCDC, CSOs, CBOs, FBOs, Community Leaders from the six North East states as well as the Media.


In its continues engagement with the relevant stakeholders on the need to ensure accountability in the education sector of the Northeast, the North-East Social Accountability in Education Cluster which has CITAD as an anchor, paid an advocacy visit to some major stakeholders at the National level. The advocacy team led by Kabiru Dakata has on Tuesday; 29/11/16 visited the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiatives (PCNI) at its office located in Maitama, Abuja. The team was received by the Vice Chairman of the PCNI, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsa and four other members of the committee. While presenting the advocacy message to the PCNI, Dakata made lights on some points that need to be inputted in the education component of the PCNI plan. He also advocated for transparency and accountability in the process of implementing the PCNI project. In his response, the vice chairman of PCNI, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsa commended the pro-active effort of the CITAD cluster in taking time to analyze the education component of the PCNI and made relevant inputs. He said the inputs came at the right time as the committee is planning to validate the Buhari Plan document that will guide the work of the PCNI. He assured the team that PCNI will work in partnership with credible CSOs like CITAD and its cluster members.Kabir Dakata's photo.

The advocacy team was at the National Assembly on Wednesday 30/11/2016. It first visited the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education where it was received by the vice chairman of the committee, Hon. Emeka, the clerk of the committee and others. The cluster briefed the committee on the research it conducted in the six states of the Northeast, the report of which proved beyond reasonable doubt that the region has worse education statistics than the other five region in the country. Some of the advocacy messages to the committee include the need for effective Oversight function to monitor school construction and renovation in the constituency projects, ensure proper utilization of funds released to states by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), increase National budgetary allocation to the development of the educational sector in the North-East, conducting public hearing on the budget allocation made for basic education, provide timely update in terms of funds disbursement and projects implementation, etc. Responding to the messages, Hon. Emeka said, “it is painful that, huge amount of money spent for educational development are not accounted for”. He assured the cluster of their readiness to partner in ensuring that money budgeted for education is spent for the purpose.

On how to improve the welfare of the IDPs in the Northeast, the cluster visited the chairman house committee on IDPs, Refugees and Northeast Initiatives, Hon. Sani Zorro. The cluster advocated for special attention to the education for children in the IDP camps and their general welfare. According to the representative of the cluster, Kabiru Dakata, “despite the huge amount of money the governments and other development partners are spending to improve the welfare of the people in the IDP camps, it is unfortunate that in most cases these monies are not accounted for, and the result of this is high level of malnutrition among children in the camps, abuse of girls in the camps, and other atrocities that further complicate the lives of people in the IDP camps”. The cluster therefore advocated on the need for the committee to set up monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that will ensure every one Naira allocated for the IDPs is spent for that purpose. Dakata also advocated for serious punishment against people found diverting resources meant for the IDPs. In his response, Hon. Zorro expressed appreciation on the commitment of the cluster in looking for ways to tackle the suffering of the IDPs. He therefore assured the commitment of the committee to partner with the cluster to come up with initiatives that will improve the welfare of the IDPs.

Investigate diversion of IDPs’ relief materials, NGO advises EFCC

By Rita Michael, Bauchi

A non-governmental organisation, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate diversion of relief materials meant for Infernally Displaced camps in the Northeast.
The CITAD Executive Director, Ya’u Zakari Ya’u, made the appeal in a statement made available to newsmen in Bauchi yesterday.
He said that both the states in the Northeast and the Federal governments must ensure that relief materials especially food items are promptly delivered to the displaced persons.
Ya’u said, “We like to reiterate that corruption cannot be corruption by mere official declaration. It can only be fought when government embraces openness, transparency and demand accountability from its officials and agents.”
The CITAD director explained that it was only when government embraces openness, transparency and accountability that Nigerians could view the promise it made of ridding the country of endemic corruption.
He wondered why the Federal government lacks proper instrument or institution to deal with issues of IDPs which he attributed to failure of the government to domesticate the African Convention on the Protection of IDPs, otherwise known as the Kampala Declaration.
According to him, “Without such, government has been relying on adhoc structure and diversion of relief materials and corruption is the results. This therefore is the time that government must put in place a proper IDPs policy”.
He recalled that on several occasions both the states and federal governments have been alerted on the issue of relief material diversion, but they often either dismissed or make noises and let the matter to continue unabated.
According to Ya’u, “This is not the way a government elected on the basis of its promise to stem out corruption in the country should respond to the unscrupulous acts of corruption.
“The lack of action from the government to take concrete measures to stop this hemorrhage of resources meant for the IDPs is resulting in a situation in which the government by its own inaction is aiding the mass murder of people who have earlier on been traumatized by Boko Haram insurgents, and have seen their loved ones killed.”
Ya’u said that it would appear to the IDPs that surviving Boko Haram is the only stop gap for them to be killed by hunger engineered by relied officials, describing the action as a major crime against humanity.
He further explained that CITAD is horrified by the callous way IDPs are being treated and the culpable silence of governments at all levels, saying various ways in which food item meant for the displaced persons have been diverted by officials and taken to markets for sale or misappropriated by those officials for their personal use.
“There are also many stories of extortion in which officials demand for money from the IDPs to register to collect relief materials, as well as other abuses such as demanding for sexual gratification from the IDPs”, he said.
As a result of these negative tendencies, he said, many people especially children have died of hunger and malnutrition, as has been reported by the media.
He recalled that the August 25, 2016 demonstration by thousands of impoverished internally displaced persons on the streets of Maiduguri that they have not been fed for days is an attestation of the systematic starvation the IDPs have been subjected to by the people who have been saddled with the responsibility to care for them.
He expressed delight that people in the Northeast are happy that the military has been recording successes in liberating a number of areas hitherto controlled by the insurgents, but are worried that their brothers, sisters, uncles, grandparents and children are dying of starvation due to callousness of officials who government entrusted the welfare and well-being of the IDPs.

When North East Internet Forum deliberated on protection of women, children online

By Rita Michael, Bauchi
The Internet Governance Forum and CITAD, a non- governmental organization, have ended a one-day Internet sensitization meeting in Bauchi.
Participants deliberated on women empowerment and protection of children on the Internet.
The event, with the theme, “The Internet of our choice: Empowering women and promoting children online, held at Prof Iya Abubakar Centre Bauchi. It was attended by stakeholders from all the six states of the North East.
At the occasion, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Garba Danbatta, disclosed that the commission has developed a Child Online Protection framework to promote the protection of Nigerian Children on the Internet.
Represented by the Director, New Media and Information Security of NCC, Haru Alhassan, Prof Danbatta said that arrangement NCC would soon launch and commence implementation of the Nigerian Child Online Protection Policy.
He explained that the implementation would promote the protection of Nigerian children on the Internet against all forms of negative influence.

He lamented that some Nigeria children through the internet have been influenced negatively by participating on negative issues on the internet, expressing optimism that the framework would protect them against such negative influence.
According to Danbatta, as number of mobile users, digital applications and data networks increases, the opportunities for utilization of the Internet also increases. “It is obvious that with the growing concerns with issues around the privacy rights, safety, security and exclusion, greater attention is required to protect sensitive business and personal information, as well as safeguard national security. The governance of the Internet has therefore become a major global issue.”
He also revealed that the commission has commenced the development of the Internet Industry Code of Practice document, saying, “This document that will guide the Commission and the Industry in developing obligations, processes and procedures for dealing with Internet Content issues, outlines the obligations on Internet service providers, content service providers, application service providers and mobile network operators in relation to Internet inappropriate, offensive or potentially harmful content for minors and vulnerable audiences.
“This will lead ultimately to the establishment of Shared principles, Norms, Rules that shape the use of the internet in the country,” he said.
According to him, “The Commission has also commenced implementation of the National Broadband Policy, by initiating the licensing process for the Broadband Infrastructure Companies. The implementation of the policy is expected to improve Broadband Internet penetration from currently 10 percent to about 50 percent in 2018.

He assured that the Commission would continue to engage with relevant stakeholders and other members of the Local Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group, the planning committee for NIGF to ensure that NCC offers more platforms such as this for the other zones in the country.
“At the end of the discussions and deliberations at the forum, we would have a clear position on what needs to be done, who needs to do what and how it should be done. Also articulating Nigerian’s position in the Global Internet Governance Fora.
He thereby commended the NIGF, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) and the other organisers for the anticipated success of the forum.

Also, the Excutive Director of CITAD, Yunusa Zakari Ya’u, said that the aim of the forum was to provide a platform for various internet user groups and excluded communities to engage their views.
According to him, ” views and positions harvested from this would feed into both national and international discussions around the issues, including the Nigeria and Global Internet Governance Forum that are holding in November this year”.

He also said that the forum would also provide opportunity for stakeholders from Nigeria to harmonize their positions before going to the Global Internt Governmace Forum holding on November in Mexico this year.
“This is the first Forum after the global internet Forum held in November last year in Brazil and report back to the stakeholders and it is an honour for that this is being done in the North East, the second zone to host the zonal forum.
He thereby expressed the determination of CITAD to continue to educate and sensitize women on the use of Internet facility to make wealth and protect children on Internet.
Also, the Chairperson of Nigeria Internet Governance Forum, Mrs Mary Uduma, frowned at the way and manner young people abuse the use of Internet facility by engaging in negative activities that are capable of destroying their future.
She said that young people and women were supposed to use Internet forum as a platform of learning as well as create wealth to better their lives, saying the aim of the forum is to sensitize and educate Internet users on the positive way of using Internet facility.
She lamented that many youths are being recruited online to join terrorist groups hence the need to counter such evil activities on Internet.

Mrs Uduma expressed determination of the forum to take internet to rural areas to ensure that rural women, children and youth learn utilise internet especially as a way of making wealth and creation employment for themselves.
She said, “With the advent of Internet, you don’t need to always go to market to sell your product because you can market your product online and people will patronize you”.
Mrs Uduma thereby stressed the need to counter western culture on Internet by introducing Nigerian culture as well as local languages that will enable illiterates to utilise Internet facility to better their lives.

Insurgency: CITAD Urges State Of Emergency In North-East

By Bashir Mohammed

Executive Director, Centre for Information Technology and Development  (CITAD), Dr. Yunusa Zakari Yau, has called on the federal government to declare a state of humanitarian emergency in the North-east.
Speaking to newsmen in Kano yesterday, Yau said the call had become necessary as greater action was much-needed to rescue millions of people from starvation.

Yau said there was also the compelling need for developing a comprehensive frame work for humanitarian intervention in the North-east, stressing that the federal government was only using the
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) act which focused attention on refugees from other countries rather than on internally displaced persons.
He emphasised the need for the protection of rural communities in the North-east who as soft target had been bearing the worse burden of the insurgency.

He said even the government military offensive against Boko Haram insurgents had continued to record huge success, it was daily revealing a crisis that had been understated as thousands of people were pouring out with no food, medication and shelter.
He called on the National Assembly to, without further delay, conclude deliberations and pass into law the North-east Development Commission Bill “so that an accounting mechanism and structure for coordination of effort in rebuilding and reconstruction of the region would be in place.”



Nigeria Urged To Declare Humanitarian Emergency In Northeast Region

Internally displaced persons in Nigeria
The Nigerian government has been urged to declare a state of humanitarian emergency in the conflict-ravaged northeastern region, to galvanize greater action to rescue millions of people from starvation.

This call was contained in a press statement made available to journalists this week, by the Centre for Information Technology and Development, CITAD, an NGO which has been implementing various programmes as part of the rebuilding and reconstruction efforts in the region, and  was therefore worried about the grave situation in the rural parts of northeastern Nigeria.

The statement, which was signed by YZ Ya’u, CITAD’s executive director noted that whereas the government’s military offensive against the Boko Haram insurgents in the region had recorded significant successes and most of the territories earlier taken by the group, have been retaken, the development was daily revealing a crisis that had been “understated as thousands of people are pouring out with no food, medication and shelter”.

“They are daily starving to death. Over two Millions (2.5 million) have been displaced internally and are scattered across Nigeria. Most of them in impoverished host communities which further worsen their situation. These are different from these internally displaced persons who are in camp. They are the unaccounted IDPs who have no luxury of camps,” said the statement.

“They have been trapped for years in the bush and have no means of escaping. For over four years, these people could not farm, could not conduct business and have lost contact with other communities and the government. They have no homes, food or water to drink. Education had been disrupted. They are dying of both hunger and thirst as well as from drinking of unhealthy water out of desperation.”

The statement decried the fact that efforts aimed at addressing the needs of the internally displaced persons have been largely concentrated in the urban areas and relief materials were being channeled to official camps whereas those disconnected communities were even in greater need of such aid.

“Daily people are dying for want of food and water,” it said  “As the rainy season sets, their conditions will even be worse by the lack of shelter, leaving them at the mercy of the elements that they have been exposed to for so long a time. Already there are reports of tens of people dying every day of hunger, thirst and lack of shelter especially in communities outside Maiduguri and the danger of mass starvation in these communities is so real.”

Amongst others, the statement categorically demanded of governments in Nigeria to “develop a comprehensive framework for humanitarian intervention in the northeast” asking the government to come up with “a policy on IDPs as currently the government has no policy on IDPs and has been using the NEMA act which has its focus on refugees from other countries rather than on IDPs.”
It further called on Nigeria to protect rural communities in its northeastern region whom it said, as soft target, have been bearing the brunt of the Boko Haram insurgency. It also called on the National Assembly, to expedite action and ensure the successful passage of the North East Development Commission bill so as to bring about “accountable mechanism and structure for the coordination of effort in rebuilding and reconstruction of the region.”



Coalition urges northern governors to accord Northeast priority attention

By Adam Alqali,

As the governors of the 19 northern states converge for their next meeting, a coalition of CSOs working in the northeast, the Northeast Education and Social Accountability Cluster, has urged the Northern Governors Forum to make the reconstruction of the Northeast, and more specifically its education sector, a key-point in its agenda of the meeting scheduled for the 29th April of 2016, in Kaduna.

This was contained in a statement made available to journalists in Kano on Thursday by the group.

“Although we are yet to see commeasure impact of their past meetings, because the decisions of the meetings were hardly implemented, we remain optimistic that the future ones will be different and that the Governors would come up with mechanisms that would ensure follow ups and implementation of these decisions,” said the statement.

“It is now clear that northern Nigeria is faced with multiple issues that need urgent attention, and that might be the reason why the Northern Governors Forum schedules to meet in Kaduna. The forum has been meeting in recent times, all in their efforts of making the North a better and stronger region.”

The statement said the civil society and other stakeholders were this time more committed to advocate for the implementation of progressive decisions taken by the Governors’ Forum as well as to continuously monitor and track the implementation of these decisions.

“It is our belief that without addressing the educational sector, not much would be achieved in the other sectors. We therefore wish to see the governors take a dispassionate look at the sector and come up with bold initiative that will readily result in concrete outcomes in revamping the education in the region,” said the statement.

The coalition which commended the commitment of the individual state governors in the Northeast towards improving the quality of education in their respective states added that they hoped other states in the region would emulate Bauchi state, by declaring state of emergency in the education sector.

“As they meet, we extend our solidarity and hands of fellowship to them and hope, that they will respond positively by providing hope to ordinary people who queued in the sun and gave them their votes in the believe that they  (the Governors) will address the existential conditions of the people,” concluded the statement.

CSOs Express Worry Over Delay In Northeast’s Reconstruction

A group of civil society oganisations under the auspices of the North East Education and Social Accountability Cluster, being anchored by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has expressed worry over the failure of the federal government to commence the reconstruction of the war-ravaged Northeast region over 7 months into the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Cluster which was established with the special goal of mobilizing all stakeholders towards rebuilding and reconstruction of the North-east and with a particular focus on ensuring social
accountability in the education sector was dismayed over the failure of the region’s reconstruction to commence despite the President’s promise.

In a press statement made available to newsmen in Bauchi on Wednesday, amongst others, the Cluster demanded that the federal government “establish the necessary agency or structure that will implement government intervention programmes for the rebuilding and
reconstruction of the Northeast.”

It further demanded that the FG “facilitate(s) through the General T. Y Danjuma-led PCNI the immediate convening of the Stakeholders Conference On the Reconstruction and Rebuilding of the Northeast to help the government come up with a blueprint for that purpose as well
as give its support for the speedy passage and accent of the Northeast Development Commission that will eventually take over from the adhoc agency that government could establish as a stop gap.”
They also called on the Danjuma committee to become more proactive and engage all stakeholders in the search for ideas and resources for the rebuilding and reconstruction of the Northeast as well as reiterated their commitment towards working with all stakeholders to ensure that all resources meant for the rebuilding and reconstruction of the region were optimally, transparently and accountably utilised for the purposes they were meant.