An Observatory Panel on Civic Space constituted under the banner of a collaborative research project between S4C and the UK-based Institute for Development Studies, brings together civil society leaders and expert voices engaging the civic space to analyse and synthesize findings of various documentations on civic space and citizen-state-society relations in Nigeria, especially in the light of COVID-19 realities. Undertaken under the auspices of the Navigating Civic Space component of DFID’s A4EA programme, the research will focus more specifically on how Covid-19 is opening or closing spaces for civic action in three countries: Mozambique, Pakistan and Nigeria.
Launched on June 30, the Panel comprises 8 (eight) expert civil society leaders from across the country who participate in monthly dialogues exploring and dissecting the overall impacts of the pandemic on civil society operations in Nigeria. Panel members include Victoria Ohaeri of Spaces for Change, Abiodun Baiyewu of Global Rights, Chitra Nataragan, a researcher in North-East Nigeria, Emmanuel Ikule of NOPRIN Foundation, Fyneface Dunmamene of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, Akindele Ayuba of Center for Community Education and Empowerment and Moses Ilawole of Communities Alliance Against Displacement. The panel members have been selected to reflect key axes of difference including gender, capital-city vs subnational vantage points and fields of expertise/activism.
These expert commentaries and dialogues will provide a baseline for assessing changes that have followed the arrival of the pandemic in Nigeria, and inform the development of expert papers that will be published in peer-reviewed journals read across jurisdictions. This initiative has been designed to deepen the current understanding of the trends and drivers of closing civic space in Nigeria, through a comparative analysis of the trajectories of social, political and policy responses to them across the three focal countries.