A loose collection of Nigerian civil society organisations, (CSOs) might have ignited a transnational advocacy dimension of activism in the West African sub-region by demanding the release from detention of fellow travellers being held by the government of the neighboring Republic of Niger. The 18 or so csos went to deliver a protest letter to the Ambassador of the Republic of Niger to Nigeria, Mandour Maman Hadj Dadda, demanding the release of about 23 civil society leaders in that country arrested since March this year. Although the Ambassador explained how the arrest of the leaders came about, saying they were planning to organise night protest, an action he said the law does not allow in the Republic, he assured delivering the protest letter to his home government.
Although there are the West African Journalists Association, (WAJA) and the West African Bar Association, (WABA), their transnational advocacy occurs mainly within the professional domains rather than this case which resonates with the subject matter of Transnational Civil Society and Advocacy in World Politics or, better still, “Transnational Advocacy Networks in International and Regional Politics”. Scholars and other observers of Networks and Norms would, therefore, be watching this direct, solidaristic action by a collection of csos in one state making a demand on another African state, signifying a concrete activism beyond borders in this clime.
Rising on the ashes of left wing politics, especially in the aftermath of the Cold War, Transnational Advocacy networks (TAN) have been credited with using norm entrepreneurship to raise the bar, particularly in human rights, women’s rights and indigenous/land rights. Some authors further credit TAN with being successors to the anti-slavery movement. While there are success stories to back up this claim, that has not been the case in the West African region. Except perhaps now!
While the West African front is witnessing handshakes across the border, it is violence and death at the Gaza-Israeli border. There is consensus that no less than 55 Palestinians have been killed and over 2000 others wounded as they protest today’s movement of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Already, the Republic of South Africa has recalled its Ambassador to Israel in protest, a trend that other countries might follow. About the longest running global conflict, it is absolutely surprising Arab-Israeli relations is escalating in a world of peacemaking. Speaks so much to power and conflict!