A gathering of Social Justice Crusaders: The Heart of The Matter

It was a room full of very passionate people … but it wasn’t only passion that brought them together.

It was much more.

It was a deeply shared sense of conviction that the social benefits and privileges of the Nigerian society - or any other society for that matter, ought to be divided equitably. The Social Justice Community of Practice (CoP) recognizes that social justice is the fulcrum of human needs and aspirations as it is a solid foundation required for nation building, peace and progress. They also see it as the collective responsibility of individuals, communities, institutions and government.  This was one of the reasons behind organizing a one-day stakeholders engagement forum on Social Justice in Nigeria, an event supported by the Voice Nigeria program, an innovative grant funded by the Netherland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which aims to increase participation, access and justice for marginalized groups.

Held on Wednesday 20th July 2022, in the heart of the capital city of Abuja, the stakeholder forum was an avenue for experts, implementers and citizens to share learnings, experiences, best practices and case studies around various social justice themes, create access to trending social justice information and contribute to the existing body of knowledge on the subject matter.  The CoP’s learning journey will culminate in the development of a toolkit that will serve as a key resource to help individuals and organizations working within the social justice space and strengthen the capacity of the users.

The keynote address was given by Hilary Ogbonna, a renowned human right activist, international development expert and currently with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). His address was indeed a ‘key note’ as he clearly communicated the current state of social injustice in Nigeria from the foundations of the 1999 constitution, the statistics that validated the continued existence of social injustice in Nigeria and global best practices that relate to social justice. He rounded up by sharing thoughts on how the Community of Practice on social justice can navigate the murky waters, focus on critical areas, leverage partnerships and boost collaborations that will help amplify their activities and efforts to hold office holders accountable and help steer Nigeria onto a path of adhering to the well-intentioned principles of social justice enshrined within her constitution.

For attendees with an appetite for entertainment, the event featured a bouquet of poetry, dance and music hosted by ARTvocates, youth from the Street Project Foundation who use their artistic talent for social development. Thereafter, expert panel sessions were held to examine various themes including: Understanding Social Justice in Nigeria; Tools and Tactics for Effective Social Justice Advocacy and Advancing Social Justice in Nigeria - Opportunities and Challenges.

Panelists were drawn from the government and private sector across the length and breadth of Nigeria to weigh in on these aforementioned social justice dimensions. They included representatives from law enforcement agencies such as the Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria Correctional Service as well as other government agencies such as National Human Rights Commission and National Orientation Agency. Other organizations like the Nigerian Bar Association, representatives from the mass media and a host of other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) were well represented.

The parting charge that reverberated with all attendees and summed up all the ongoing interventions and targeted actions to enshrine social justice principles in Nigeria, consisted of two simple words:


The work of the CoP on Social Justice continues as learnings and outputs from the stakeholder engagement will be harnessed into the ongoing development of a social justice toolkit.




Cognito .


Cognito Studios is a visual communication and knowledge management focused social enterprise that uses creative communication approaches to achieve program objectives and tell development stories that amplify the voices of the underserved populations.

Posted on Friday, August 12, 2022


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