By Isaac Kertyo
•Made progress in tracking of recovered Abacha loots
•Combat human trafficking and forced migration
Ms Ruth Olofin, Acting Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation says the organisation recorded some giant strides in the outgone year 2021 in curbing the spate of insecurity in Nigeria, especially the northern part of the country using technology.
Olofin, in her new year message, said the establishment of an Early Warning and Early Response (EWER) system is helping to prevent and mitigate recurring violence against civilians in at-risk areas of northern Nigeria. While noting that attacks from the armed bandits and the reoccurring farmer-herder clashes are a keen interest areas for the foundation, Olofin informed that the EWER initiative will be expanded to include escalation of real-time alerts of village burning incidents using geospatial technology.
She said: “This project will work collaboratively with existing EWER structures in focal states and empower women and youths to be change agents in the security of their communities. We explored the use of geospatial technology to build the capacity and skills of the Nigeria Police.
“The ongoing insurgency and counter-insurgency efforts by our security forces have continued to be a key pillar of our strategic focus in the last four years through ensuring these efforts are human rights friendly and respectful while actors and institutions are held accountable for their actions.”
The acting ED listed several other interventions and achievements of the organisation. According to her, the foundation’s initiatives to combat human trafficking and forced migration of women and girls in at-risk communities and teenagers in selected schools in Edo and Lagos States reached a total of 1,100 teenagers.
She said the foundation enhanced the voice, agency, advocacy and communication capacities of grassroots women-led organizations in the focal states to form a critical mass of advocates against human trafficking of young women and girls.
“Our innovative strategies of programming led to a collaboration between the CLEEN Foundation, Silver Bird and Kada Cinemas to screen documentaries based on the experiences of survivors as pathways to drive home the point in an atmosphere of fun and entertainment. We carried out massive radio sensitization campaigns and documentaries on human trafficking and forced migration reaching thousands of listeners beyond our catchment areas,” she said.
Olofin also disclosed that the Foundation has made progress in tracking the utilization of the forfeited Abacha Loot 3 for infrastructural development in Abuja-Kano Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and 2nd River Niger bridge.
She said the infrastructures when fully completed are poised to further open up the states and their environs to robust development and commercial activities all to the benefit of the Nigerian people.
The ED equally noted that the Foundation has been active in election monitoring to ensure compliance. She added that gender equality and social inclusion formed the core of all interventions to ensure equality and social justice for women and men involved in our initiatives.
“For this year 2022, and in line with our strategic Plan (2019-2023), we are set to deliver results-packed interventions on various projects in line with our mission and vision. At this point we must reiterate our commitment in bridging the widening justice gaps and improving the security of Nigerians and their communities by strengthening the existing institutions to be more accountable to the people,” Olofin said.
According to her, the foundation will strengthen police reform processes and community policing in Nigeria to stimulate and inspire human rights-centred approaches and compliance for effective police and policing. These interventions, she notes, are to entrench deeper democratic principles and values in Nigeria; reduce serious organized crime through streams of interventions to build a more effective, efficient and professional police service.
Given securing the polls ahead of the 2023 elections, Olofin assured that the Foundation will build the capacities of security actors on a rights-based approach to election policing and enhance civic participation towards free, fair and peaceful elections.
“Some of our 2021 interventions as outlined above will continue to run and deliver results. We must not fail to acknowledge the tremendous support from funders and partners through which we are achieving all of the above,” she said.
“Our profound gratitude goes to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Ministry of Justice, the Mac-Arthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, UN Women and the Government of Italy, OSIWA, Open Society Foundation (OSF), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Equal Access International, U.S. Department of State, UNDP and the European Union and other strategic partners.
“Finally, our story continues to be one of awe-inspiring grit and dogged determination. Armed with the hope of new beginnings and what they inspire, we are ready to take on 2022. While the tasks ahead look daunting, we are rolling up our sleeves and getting the work done and excellently so at the CLEEN Foundation.
As always, we will be leveraging on the superlative leadership of our Board and Trustees, an effective Management Team, and a rich workforce of dedicated and competent staff,” she further said.