Unresolved death of journalist Pelumi Onifade: MFWA, CPJ, IPI petition Lagos State Governor

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), together with two other media rights organisations, has petitioned the Governor of Lagos State in Nigeria, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, to intervene for justice to be done in the case of deceased journalist, Onifade Emmanuel Pelumi.

In a letter directly delivered to the office of the Governor, the petitioners, including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Press Institute (IPI), prayed the Governor to have Pelumi’s body released to his family for burial and to ensure that proper investigations are carried out to identity and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“The continued refusal to release Pelumi’s body violates the family’s customary right to custody of the remains of their deceased kin so that they can provide a proper burial. The lack of disclosure on the exact circumstances of the journalist’s death also contravenes the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary, and Summary Executions.

“It is against this background that we request your intervention to get Pelumi’s body released to his family and ensure that the perpetrators of his killing are identified and held accountable,” the petition read.

Pelumi was a level- 200 History student of the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ogun State, who was interning as a reporter at Gboah TV, an online television channel based in Lagos at the time of his killing. On October 24, 2020, while on assignment covering the #EndSARS protests for Gboah TV, he was reportedly hit by a bullet and carried away in a police van. Six days later, on October 30, 2020, his body was discovered in a morgue at Ikorodudu, Lagos, the journal

The petitioners referred Governor Sannwo-Olu to the Nigerian government’s obligation under various laws and international instruments to conduct effective and impartial investigations into incidents of attacks on journalists in Nigeria, as well as to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of such attacks.

“This obligation derives from Section 33 of Nigeria’s Constitution; Article 2(3) of ICCPR and Article 66(2)(c) of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty. Also, under the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, governments have a responsibility to adopt effective measures to protect and guarantee the safety of journalists. Furthermore, Article 66(2)(c) of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty and Principle 20 (1, 2, & 4) of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, place an obligation on governments to protect journalists, guarantee their safety and ensure effective investigation, prosecution and punishment when journalists are attacked.”

The petition was copied to the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Culture, the Lagos State Ministry of Justice and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police. So far, the Lagos State Ministry of Justice has promptly acknowledged the petition and assured that it is being attended to.

The petition forms part of the MFWA’s ongoing advocacy to get justice for Pelumi Onifade. On July 27, 2023, the MFWA issued this statement to mark the 1000th-day milestone of Onifade’s death.

Read the full petition here.

Vital Voices Kicks Off Women’s History Month with an Interactive Art Exhibit at the United Nations and our 17th Annual Global Mentoring Walks

Media are invited to capture stories of change and inspiration

NEW YORK, March 01, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In celebration of Women’s History Month, Vital Voices Global Partnership, an organization dedicated to empowering women leaders worldwide, announces two initiatives aimed at honoring and inspiring women across the globe.

March 1 – 22 – Vital Voices and UN Partnerships Art Exhibit at United Nations Headquarters
With support from the UN Office of Partnerships, the Portraits of Progress: Women Powering the Global Goals exhibit underscores the need to invest more deeply in women change makers who are key to solving the world’s greatest challenges. This interactive storytelling exhibition inside the U.N. Visitor’s Gallery is on display through March 22. It features portraits and first-person recordings of women leaders from around the world who are driving creative solutions that collectively advance 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each woman profiled in the exhibit is tackling one of the 17 Global Goals. Alongside each portrait, visitors can scan a QR code to listen to a message from the featured leader, who shares more about how she is addressing her particular Goal.

“Our aim with this project is to spotlight the critical role of women leaders worldwide in achieving global progress through the SDGs,” said Vital Voices President & CEO Alyse Nelson. “Because women and girls are disproportionately impacted by pressing issues such as climate change, conflict, and inequality, their perspective and ideas are invaluable. Women leaders consistently bring forward unique and inclusive solutions that benefit entire communities, countries, and our shared planet. As world leaders consider how to close current gaps in targets for the Global Goals, we believe that greater investments in women’s proven, innovative solutions will be pivotal to progress.”

The women featured in the portraits are:

  • Goal 1 – No Poverty: Zeinorin Angkang, founder at Hill Wild
  • Goal 2 – Zero Hunger: Nora Jeanne Joseph, founder & CEO at RADIKAL
  • Goal 3 – Good Health & Well-Being: Dr. Yetunde Ayo-Oyalowo, public health physician and founder at Market Doctors
  • Goal 4 – Quality Education: Zoya Lytvyn, founder of Novopecherska School and Osvitoria NGO
  • Goal 5 – Gender Equality: Hellen Lunkuse, founder & executive director of Rape Hurts Foundation
  • Goal 6 – Clean Water & Sanitation: Christelle Kwizera, founder and managing director of Water Access Rwanda
  • Goal 7 – Affordable & Clean Energy: Inna Braverman, co-founder and CEO at Eco Wave Power
  • Goal 8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth: Aline Sara, co-founder & CEO at NaTakallam
  • Goal 9 – Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure: Sarah El Battouty, founder of ECOnsult
  • Goal 10 – Reduce Inequalities: Sara Minkara, Special Advisor on International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State
  • Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities & Communities: Michelle Hong, co-founder & COO at Rooftop Republic Urban Farming
  • Goal 12 – Responsible Production & Consumption: Leah Lizarondo, founder of Food rescue Hero and co-founder of 412 Food Rescue
  • Goal 13 – Climate Action: Helena Gualinga, environmental and human rights activist from the Kichwa Sarayaku community
  • Goal 14 – Life Below Water: Lakshmi Menon, Head of Impact at CleanHub
  • Goal 15 – Life on Land: Petronella Chigumbura, ranger and assistant instructor sergeant at Akashinga
  • Goal 16 – Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions: Shirin Musa, founder & director at Femmes for Freedom
  • Goal 17 – Partnerships for the Goals: Group Portrait

Nearly a dozen of the women featured were present for the unveiling. The artwork was created by three women artists: Gayle Kabaker, Stef Wong, and Erin K. Robinson. (Click here to view and download photos from the opening featuring global women leaders featured in the portraits.)

Saturday, March 2 – Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walks in NYC with DVF
Join influential women leaders at the High Line in New York City for the 17th Global Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walks. Led by luminaries such as DVF Founder & Co-Chairwoman Diane von Furstenberg, along with Vital Voices Co-Founder, President & CEO Alyse Nelson, this event brings together established and emerging women leaders from various fields for a one-mile walk. Participants will engage in insightful discussions on career growth, work-life balance, career transitions, and conflict resolution – all in the spirit of global community and mentorship.

More than 200 women from New York City will join the walk as mentors and mentees under this year’s theme of “Inspire Inclusion,” recognizing that impact stems from inclusion. This event serves as a prelude to International Women’s Day on March 8, fostering mentorship and camaraderie among women leaders.

Simultaneously, thousands of women across hundreds of cities worldwide will participate in mentoring walks, advocating for equality, and celebrating the power of mentorship. With over 135 walks planned in 43 countries for the 2024 Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walks leading up to International Women’s Day, this event marks a global movement toward gender parity and empowerment.

To learn more about this event and Global Mentoring Walks happening all around the world, click here.

For media inquiries or further information about these events, please contact: media@vitalvoices.org

About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Vital Voices Global Partnership was cofounded in 1997 by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and the late Secretary Madeleine Albright. Now celebrating 26 years, Vital Voices has directly invested in more than 20,000 women leaders across 185 countries and territories since its inception. Driven by the universal truth that women are the key to progress in their communities and nations cannot move forward without women in leadership positions, Vital Voices has provided early support for leaders who went on to become Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, U.S. Youth Poet Laureates, prime ministers, award-winning innovators, pioneering human rights defenders, and breakthrough social entrepreneurs, including Amanda Gorman and Malala Yousafzai. To advance and expand this work, in 2022 Vital Voices opened the doors to the world’s first global embassy for women, the Vital Voices Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership. It is a first-of-its-kind space that allows for convening, innovation, planning, and action—all in the pursuit of serving women leaders who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges.


Vital Voices Global Partnership

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Bobo-Dioulasso Hosts 21st National Culture Week with Niger as Guest of Honor

Bobo-Dioulasso – Niger has been selected as the guest of honor at the 21st edition of the National Culture Week of Burkina Faso, which is set to take place from April 27 to May 4, 2024, in Bobo-Dioulasso. The announcement came from Mr. Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo, the Minister of State, Minister of Communication, Culture, Arts and Tourism, and Spokesperson for the Government of Burkina Faso, following a meeting with the President of the National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland (CNSP), Brigadier General Abdourahamane Tiani, on the morning of Friday, March 1, 2024.

According to Burkina Information Agency, Brigadier General Tiani has expressed his approval for Niger’s prominent participation in the event, underscoring the importance of culture in the ongoing efforts for sovereignty and dignity among member countries of the AES. The Burkina Faso Minister of Culture emphasized that the National Culture Week is a pivotal moment to celebrate and enhance the shared values of fraternity, mutual respect, and solidarity among the peoples of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali. He highlighted the role of culture as a cornerstone for building a united community in the Sahel region.

The National Culture Week, a biennial event held since 1983 in Bobo-Dioulasso, is a significant cultural gathering that attracts thousands of artists, creators, and cultural enthusiasts from across Burkina Faso and neighboring countries. This year’s edition aims to further promote the rich cultural heritage and values of the Sahel nations, with Niger playing a key role in the festivities.

Court of Auditors Report and Tragic Accident Dominate Burkina Faso News

OUAGADOUGOU – The press in Burkina Faso on Friday covered a range of significant topics, including a devastating traffic accident on the Sikasso-Bougouni axis in Mali that resulted in multiple fatalities among Burkinabè nationals, issues of rural land management, and the findings of the 2022 report by the Court of Auditors. The state-run daily Sidwaya led with a headline on the Court of Auditors’ report, highlighting persistent irregularities in the management of public finances.

According to Burkina Information Agency, the Court of Auditors released its annual public report for the year 2022 in Ouagadougou during a press conference held on Thursday. The report sheds light on the Court’s dual role in overseeing public finances and correcting management errors, in addition to aiding the parliament in implementing financial laws and certifying the state’s accounts.

L’Observateur Paalga, a leading private daily, reported that 53 political actors have failed to account for their financing in the 2020 elections. Meanwhile, Le Pays, another private newspaper, emphasized the Court of Auditors’ efforts to regulate the subsidies provided to political entities in the country.

Le Pays also brought attention to the upcoming parliamentary inquiries into rural land management in Burkina Faso. These investigations aim to clarify issues related to real estate development liabilities and the impact of externally funded projects and programs. The Transition deputies in Ouagadougou have endorsed the establishment of commissions to undertake these inquiries, as reported by the newspaper.

Furthermore, the tragic incident on the Sikasso-Bougouni axis in Mali, which claimed the lives of 40 Burkinabè, was prominently featured in the news. L’Observateur Paalga detailed the Burkinabè government’s response, expressing condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes for a swift recovery to the injured. Sidwaya, reinforcing the sentiment, urged road users to exercise increased caution and vigilance.

The establishment of three parliamentary commissions of inquiry focused on land management and development aid was confirmed by Sidwaya, highlighting the government’s commitment to addressing these critical issues comprehensively.

IPERMIC Students Rally for Resilience Amid Security CrisisIran Denounces Terrorist Attacks in Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU – The Pan-African Institute for Studies and Research on Media, Information, and Communication (IPERMIC) at Joseph KI-ZERBO University initiated a three-day event on February 29, 2024, focusing on the theme “Security context and humanitarian management: role and responsibilities of information and communication journalism actors in resilience”. This gathering, aimed at communication and journalism students, drew approximately a hundred attendees from various institutes, marking a significant mobilization against the backdrop of Burkina Faso’s security challenges.

According to Burkina Information Agency, president of the IPERMIC student club, the event serves as a platform to underscore the importance of solidarity and social cohesion. These values, he noted, are crucial for fostering socio-professional integration and ensuring a harmonious coexistence among students and the broader community. “Given the socio-political and security context that you already know, these values are more necessary than ever within our populations,” Drabo emphasized.

The inauguration witnessed the participation of IPERMIC’s faculty, its interim director Dr. Lassina Kaboré, members of the young international chamber, students, and alumni. Perfect Silga, representing the honorary sponsor of the 72-hour event, Adama Kanazoé, a notable IPERMIC alumnus, praised the students’ initiative and thematic selection. Silga highlighted that the chosen theme reflects the communication and journalism community’s awareness of the enduring crisis affecting the nation.

The 72-hour event also features cultural activities, aiming to reinforce cultural identity and the spirit of unity and resilience in adversity. Silga encouraged students to fully engage in the edition’s activities, emphasizing entertainment’s role in this context.

Yandi Lompo, speaking on behalf of Christelle Kalhoule, director of the NGO Children Believe, underscored the critical role of communication professionals in amplifying marginalized voices, raising awareness, and mobilizing resources for vulnerable populations. “Your pen, your camera, and your voice are powerful weapons in the service of justice and peace,” Lompo stated.

Jean Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel OUEDRAOGO, representing the Minister in charge of Communication and the patron of the ceremony, commended the thematic choice, recognizing it as indicative of the desirable quality of training and the patriotic and civic spirit driving the students. He urged students to be agents of change, combating misinformation and manipulation.

The event’s agenda includes panels, debate competitions, donation drives for internally displaced people, cultural showcases like the screening of the film Sira, and networking opportunities. These activities provide a unique learning, sharing, and action-oriented experience for students committed to forging a more united and resilient world.

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – The Iranian embassy in Ouagadougou issued a condemnation of the terrorist attacks that occurred on February 25 against both a mosque and a church in Burkina Faso, resulting in numerous casualties.

According to Burkina Information Agency, The statement, released on the embassy’s Facebook page, denounced the violence that took the lives of and injured many innocent people. Expressing condolences to the government and people of Burkina Faso, especially to the families of the victims, the embassy underscored Iran’s position as a strategic ally of Burkina Faso in the fight against terrorism and imperialism.