In 1996, IHRLG convened the first of a series of consultations between Nigerian activists and South African parliamentarians, officials and community leaders who had led the fight to overthrow apartheid. The consultations enabled South African activists to share mobilization tactics learned in the struggle against apartheid to help Nigerian civil society leaders develop a strategy for addressing the difficult situation they faced at that time. In 1998, we organized a follow-up consultation in Accra, Ghana, which coincided with a period of escalating state repression, lending great urgency to the discussions.
In December 1999, IHRLG organized a legislative advocacy workshop in collaboration with Human Rights Monitor in Kaduna, which brought together a diverse group of civil society leaders and media experts to investigate the positive and negative role the media has played in advancing a human rights agenda for Nigeria, and envision useful strategies for expanding relationships between civil society and the media within the new democratic environment.
Shortly after launching our Abuja office in 2000, IHRLG brought 16 Nigerian human rights leaders to Washington, DC in June 2000 for a US legislative study tour. IHRLG facilitated the Nigerian human rights leaders' exchange of legislative advocacy techniques with US advocates from like organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, US Public Interest Group, International Center for Research on Women, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and InterAction. IHRLG also arranged meetings with US legislators including Representatives Sam Gejdenson, Gregory Meeks, Maxine Waters and Jim McDermott.
One of the substantial outcomes of the study tour was the decision by the participating Nigerian civil society leaders to establish the Nigerian Coalition for Legislative Advocacy (NCLA), currently comprised of 24 civil society organizations and community-based groups. IHRLG continues to assist NCLA member organizations in building their institutional and legislative advocacy capacity while partnering with them in grassroots mobilization and constituency-building on key human rights and legislative reform issues.