ECOWAS and Nigeria agree on a roadmap to institutionalise a government and society wide approach towards improving protection and human security within the context of the Covid 19 pandemic

The Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs organized a 3-day Coordination and Capacity Building workshop for Multi-Stakeholders in Nigeria, including MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) of the Federal Government, the Private Sector, CSOs (Civil Society Organizations) and the Media. The workshop was part of a two-phase Activity in Nigeria aimed at the adoption of a Roadmap and the establishment of an Integrated Protection and Human Security Coordination Mechanism, anchored and coordinated at the highest level of Government. This is towards the establishment of the Society “Protection Web” by strengthening of the Protection and Human Security architecture in the country and the region by extension.

At the opening Ceremony, the Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, represented by Hajiya Raheemat Momodu, Head of the Human Security and Civil Society (HSCS) Division welcomed the participants and expressed the appreciation of the ECOWAS Commission of the efforts made by stakeholders to address human security and protection concerns. She noted that these include the combat of human trafficking, advancing the rights of the child (including combatting VAC –Violence Against Children) and addressing irregular migration. Others she said include drug abuse, IHL (International Humanitarian Law), GBV (Gender Based Violence) and Forced Displacement and Social Protection. She also expressed the appreciation of the Directorate to the Office of the Nigerian Permanent Representative to the ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS National Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their support in co-organising the workshop.

Other speakers at the Opening Ceremony include the UNICEF Country Representative to Nigeria Mr. Peter Hawkins, represented by Mrs. Adebisi Arije and the Head of Delegation of the ICRC Mr. Yann Bonzon, represented by the ICRC Multilateral Liaison Officer Ms. Chinelo Agom-Eze. The ECOWAS National Unit in the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was represented by Mr. Johnson

Ogbole while the Workshop was opened by the Nigerian Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Ambassador Musa Nuhu, represented by Mr. Victor Samuel Makwe.

At the end, the meeting agreed on the need for the establishment of the Nigerian Protection and Human Security Coordination Mechanism and set out key advocacy points for the 2nd phase of the Activity, namely the High-Level Advocacy component. It also made critical recommendations to facilitate the work of all stakeholders in driving the protection and human security agenda. These include: developing a centralized government database to track progress recorded in relation to protection and human security and ensure ease of coordination, eestablishment of specialized funds for supporting access to justice (specifically aiding impoverished victims in civil litigation against their victimizers) and linking all strategies relevant to countering crime against persons (justice system and police reforms; GBV, anti-TIP, child labour policies; humanitarian emergency response, etc.), ensuring effective witness and victim protection measures in dealing with victimization of vulnerable persons, amongst other recommendations.

In closing, the ECOWAS Commission reiterated its commitment in supporting all Member States in improving the protection and human security fortunes for all ECOWAS citizens and for all persons within the ECOWAS space. The Representative of the Nigerian Permanent Representative to ECOWAS Mr. Victor Samuel Makwe and the Minister of Foreign Affairs represented by Mr. Johnson Ogbole, Counsellor at the ECOWAS National Unit in the Ministry also congratulated ECOWAS and the participants for very engaging discussions and excellent outcomes and pledged to continue to work assiduously with ECOWAS to bring the outcomes to bear.

Participants at the Workshop included ECOWAS Staff, ECOWAS National Unit, Office of the Nigerian Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Nigerian Ministries and Departments and Agencies including: Justice, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Women Affairs, Humanitarian Affairs, Labour and Employment, Health, Education, Nigerian Army, NPF, NSCDC, NDLEA, NIS, NAPTIP, NAFDAC, The Presidency- OSSAP-SDGs, NBS, NCFRMI, NEMA, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), NACCIMA, Civil Society Organizations including NACTAL, the CYPF, CISLAC, WOTCLEF,  The International Academy for Gender and Peace,

Constituency Watch International, Impart Africa, Emechihu Favour Discovery Foundation and Media Institutions including the AIT, Channels TV, NTA, Arise TV, TVC News, Daily Trust, FRCN, Radio Nigeria, Premium Times, Vanguard Newspapers, The Cable, This Day, The Guardian, People and Power Magazine and NAN.

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