By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

A group, Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE), has engaged security agencies,media, civil society organizations (CSOs) and relevant stakeholders on safeguarding the Nigeria civic space. 

The group which is a USAID funded project, made the disclosure in a statement issued recently.

It said that the dialogue was part of the series aimed at strengthening collaborations, identifying and developing action plans to address the nation’s shrinking civic space.

Speaking at the event , USAID-SCALE project Chief of Party, Lydia Odeh, said the theme of the dialogue; “Safeguarding Civic Space”, was apt and that it will help participants to develop capacity for implementing efficient and effective policies that support transformational change. 

“This will contribute in improving quality of life for Nigerians, and an open civic space enables them to pursue many roles”. 

“The main objective of this activity was to bring together stakeholders from civil society, government, the Nigeria Police Force,Nigeria Army and Media to identify and develop action plans to address shrinking civic space issues,”she said. 

Odeh explained that, “open and safe civic spaces serve as unique safe havens for citizens from diverse backgrounds to participate and build the competence they need to fully participate in various realms of public life. 

She noted that  government interference coupled with security challenges and COVID 19 have heightened the vulnerability of civic spaces thereby diminishing open dialogue with the government and other critical stakeholders.

Also Speaking, the Nigeria Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Command DSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, explained the importance of dialogue between citizens and the police emphasizing that there is a need for collective responsibility in understanding relevant laws and regulations that govern citizens and rights to peaceful protest and assembly.

“We will continue to engage and collaborate with citizens to ensure our communities are safer”. 
Meanwhile, the USAID-Nigeria SCALE project is aimed to strengthen Nigerian CSOs’ capacity for collaborative advocacy with government on priority policy areas that can improve the quality of life for Nigerians.

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