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October 13 2017

TURNING THE TIDE AGAINST INTOLERANCE | NIGERIA

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CORA/ Arterial Network Nigeria participate in ‘A Global Day of Reflection on Human Rights and Freedom’ and launch petition against the Anti-NGO Bill

CORA/ Arterial Network Nigeria took part in ‘A Global Day of Reflection on Human Rights and Freedom’ held at Freedom Park in Lagos on the 6th of September 2017. The event was spearheaded by the International Literature Festival, Berlin, and supported by The Wole Soyinka Foundation and CORA/ Arterial Network Nigeria, with multiple Nigerian artists present. The event focused on the 30 articles that make up the United Nations General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948.



Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Prize for Literature Laureate, once said that, “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.” In recent years, civil society in Nigeria has mobilised to proclaim that enough is enough. With numerous artist arrests, the destruction of dedicated art spaces and loss of cultural heritage (sites, objects etc) due to state negligence, organisations such as The Wole Soyinka Foundation and CORA/ Arterial Network Nigeria have openly critiqued certain actions by regional and national government across Nigeria in order to safeguard the rights of artists and their associated freedoms, such as freedom of assembly, freedom from repression and freedom of creative expression.

Speaking during the event, Jahman Anikulapo, Chairperson of CORA/ Arterial Network Nigeria, urged Nigerian artists to join associations in order to mobilise and strengthen the weight of their objections, and ensure their protection in cases of infringement on their rights. Collaboration, networking and official associations are invaluable mechanisms in times of need, such as the recent petition launched by CORA/ Arterial Network Nigeria condemning the Anti-NGO Bill.

According to the official petition which has been published on line:

“The controversial bill seeks to set up a federal agency to be known as the NGO Regulatory Commission, to regulate activities of civil society organisations across Nigeria. If passed into law, the new agency will be empowered to issue licences to all NGOs, renewable every two years. In the event of the agency’s refusal to renew any group’s licence, that NGO will cease to operate. Every NGO will also have to receive permission from the agency before it executes projects. Its board will also interfere with how funds received from donors are spent, and if any NGO spends without the agency’s permission it would amount to a crime which attracts a jail term of up to 18 months.

CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria notes with concern, the misplaced priority and desperation of some politicians to pass a bill that will do nothing but restrict the capacity of civil society bodies to actively play their constitutional roles in a democratic society.”

To read more about the event at Freedom Park, click here to read an article published by The Guardian.

To read the full Anti-NGO Bill petition, please click
here. Please sign and share.

PHOTO CREDITS

1 - Arterial Network Nigeria
2 - The Guardian Nigeria

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