CLEEN Foundation, a non-governmental organization supported by MacArthur Foundation has trained 20 Heads of Civil Society Organization platforms in Bauchi State to monitor the implementation of administration of criminal justice law in the state.
Gad Peter, the Executive Director of the Foundation, who was speaking at the official launch of CSO platforms towards the efficient implementation and compliance with administration of criminal justice law, held at the Chartwell hotel in Bauchi, said that the essence of the training was to strengthen and enhance the capacities of Civil Society Organizations in Bauchi state to work closely with government agencies, institutions, agencies and stakeholders working on justice administration to live up to their responsibilities.
According to him, the democracy Nigerians are enjoying today, the fight against corruption and the cry for social justice are all made possible because Civil Society Organizations have been adding their voices and demanding that appropriate actions should be taken.
“What we doing this morning is to enhance the capacities of CSOs and help them form a loose coalition or network that will be able to work as a team instead of, at an individual level, to be able to put subtle pressure on government to do what they are supposed to do”
‘For example, we are looking forward to the possibility of the CSOs to remind government of it’s responsibility to decongest prisons from time to time, ensure that the police are reminded that when they arrest suspects, they have a right to life, a lawyer and fair hearing and also, in the area of criminal cases in court, someone is there to keep an eye to ensure that the proceeds are going appropriately” he said’
He said that the fight against corruption is a collective effort by all, adding that people should serve as whistle blowers in their own capacity to reduce the menace of corruption to the barest minimum.
According to the Executive Director ”We should try to fight corruption in our own little way. When you talk about corruption, people think that it is only government agencies that should fight corruption, but in our homes, churches, mosques, our work places, we can also support that effort by stopping corruption in these places and when there are bigger cases of corruption, we are able to amplify our voices and demand that government take appropriate action”.
He told the Civil Society Organizations to use the tool of Advocacy to create the change they want to see in the society, pointing that advocacy requires a clear vision of the desired outcome through a deep understanding of the particular issue as well as the ability to prepare evidence-based policy proposal.
“In Advocacy, do not put yourselves in the picture, your aim is to be able see how your advocacy can benefit the poor people, the vulnerable, the less privilege in the society, those whose rights are been violated and cannot defend themselves. As CSOs, you must have the right information and know the right persons to advocate to as well as being sensitive to cultural and religious issues” he said