Niger Delta States Record Poor Budget Performance in 2017

Niger-Delta-States-Record-Poor-Budget-Performance-in-2017

In 2017, Social Action carried out analyses and monitoring of the budgets of the states of the Niger Delta, as part of the process of monitoring development goals and tracking corrupt practices at the subnational level.

A detailed report will be published early in 2018.
Social Action’s budget advocacy activities are aimed at calling attention to the need for citizens to get actively involved in the processes of fiscal governance and engaging the government on incipiencies observed in the budget and the actual performance. Evidence indicates that where this is the case, the performance of governments have significantly improved, thereby enhancing accountability and transparency and reducing corruption.

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‘Restructuring’: Social Action and Claude Ake School of Government Hold Conference

Restructuring-Social-Action-and-Claude-Ake-School-of-Government-Hold-Conference

Recently, the conversation on the need or otherwise of restructuring the Nigerian state has gained renewed prominence in contemporary Nigerian discourse, especially with the emergence of groups seeking various degrees of structural changes, including the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Niger Delta Avengers. In response to the need to interrogate the different contending issues, Social Action and the Claude Ake School of Government, University of Port Harcourt jointly organised the Nigeria Social Action National Conference in December 2017 in Port Harcourt.

This collaboration stemmed from the need to provide space for serious and constructive dialogue between scholars and thought leaders in the civil space, as a measure to provide clarity and understanding of the critical issues bordering on the restructuring of the Nigerian state. Specifically, the Conference provided space for leading scholars and civic activists to present papers and lead conversations on various sub-themes relevant to the restructuring question with the purpose of engendering a new perspective to the issues as well as developing literature on the subject.

The National Conference which held on the 11th of December 2017 in Port Harcourt, brought together leading Nigerian academics and civil society actors including Prof. Adele Jinadu, Prof. Basil Nwankwo, Prof. Andrew Efemini, Prof Eme Ekekwe, Prof Okey Ibeanu, Dr. Sofiri Peterside, Dr. Yakubu Jae and author of the book We are All Biafrans, Chido Onumah.

Professors-Eme-Ekekwe-and-Adele-JinaduProfessors Eme Ekekwe and Adele Jinadu

Declaring the Conference open, Acting Executive Director of Social Action, Ken Henshaw said “every year the Social Action National Conference is organised to provide spaces for critical voices to discuss one topical issue facing the Nigerian state. This year, the question of restructuring is by far the most contentious of them all. Since the end of the civil war in 1970, never has Nigeria been so deeply divided along the lines of separation and secession. This Conference aims to dive deeper into the various issues toward creating clarity, understanding and policy alternatives in approaching the issue”.

The representative of the Claude Ake School of Government, Dr. Sofiri Peterside in his welcome address stated that “in recent time the call for a restructuring of the Federation had been swelled with two of the dominant ethnic nationalities leading the demand. This brings to the fore some thought-provoking questions about the nature of Nigeria’s federalism: What is the problem with federalism in Nigeria, and what ought to be done about it? Is the problematic the reference to federalism, as such, or to its Nigerian variant? Or is the problem not with federalism, as such or with its Nigerian variant, but with the underlying causative factors that gave rise to it and with which it interfaces, like the antinomies between identity and authority? What should be the federating entities in Nigeria – regions, states, zones or nationalities? What are the salient and historically deep-seated characteristics of the country’ political economy? The preceding questions underscore the complexity of the problem, which federalism poses to the future of Nigeria. Recent calls for a return to an undefined ‘true federalism’ has complexified the ongoing national debate in the context of federalism as an ideology, a political system or as a form of government, or even in the specific context of Nigeria’s constitutional theory or political history. It is in the above-stated context that this Conference is both timely and essential”.

Papers presented at the Conference will be edited into a book on the theme of Restructuring of the Nigerian State, to be published in 2018.

Professor-Andrew-Efemini,-Chido-Onumah-and-a-cross-section-of-participantsProfessor Andrew Efemini, Chido Onumah and a cross-section of participants

Examining Civil Responses To Conflict And The Humanitarian Crisis In North-East Nigeria

Examining-Civil-Responses-To-Conflict-And-The-Humanitarian-Crisis-In-North-East-Nigeria

In November 2017, Social Action and partner organisation, YARAC organised citizens’ dialogues in Maiduguri and Yola as part of the ongoing effort to identify alternative solutions to social and ecological crisis in north-eastern Nigeria.
Participants comprising civil society groups, development experts, academia, governmental and non-governmental actors have identified the correction of structural imbalances embedded in the socio-economic, political and ecological configuration of north-east Nigeria as fundamental to engendering genuine and lasting development in the region. They said any effort to sustainably re-build the region must incorporate concrete mechanisms for tackling ecological issues while incorporating solid frameworks for socio-economic development and sound governance principles with active elements of citizens-focused accountability mechanisms.

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Forecasting a Post-Humanitarian Situation in the Lake Chad Basin

Families-in-IDP-camps-in-Borno-state-complain-of-inadequate-food-rations
Families in IDP camps in Borno state complain of inadequate food rations

Isaac ‘Asume’ Osuoka, Executive Director of Social Action reflects on field visits and a Roundtable Conference on the Ecological Crisis and Conflict in the Lake Chad Basin, which held in Maiduguri, Borno State, northeastern Nigeria.

On Saturday, 22 July 2017, Social Action organized a roundtable conference in Maiduguri, Borno State, with a focus on violence and displacement in northeastern Nigeria. The meeting, convened in collaboration with the organization YARAC, was in continuation of efforts to build a pan-Nigerian civil society response to the ecological crisis and violence in the Sahel region. The Maiduguri meeting provided the first opportunity for local civil society activists, academics, and members of the local media and officials of the Chad Basin Development Authority (CDBA) to examine immediate and longer term challenges to resettlement of over two million people displaced by Boko Haram violence in the area.

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The Niger Delta and the Politics of Usable Nigerians

Young men struggle with a barrel of petrol in Yenagoa, near Oloibiri. Most inhabitants of the Niger Delta do not have access to reliable and affordable energy. Photo by Ed Kashi

By Omolade Adunbi

Omolade_AdunbiLife expectancy in the Niger Delta averages just 40 years, compared to between 53 and 55 within Nigeria as a whole. Yet, the Nigerian state and the multinational corporations operating in the Niger Delta have refused to address the historical processes that led from a ‘usable’ Niger Delta of the 1950s, to a current population of unemployed, ‘unusable’, youths castigated to the margins of Nigerian society.

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Shortchanged: How the Senate’s Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) Fails the Environment and Local Communities

From right to left: Doifie Buokoribo (Board member), Isaac ‘Asume’ Osuoka (Executive Director), Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor (Head of Advocacy) addressing the media at Social Action’s National Advocacy Centre, Abuja

From right to left: Doifie Buokoribo (Board member), Isaac ‘Asume’ Osuoka (Executive Director), Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor (Head of Advocacy) addressing the media at Social Action’s National Advocacy Centre, Abuja

 

Based on the text of the Press Conference by the Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action), June 21, 2017, Abuja

The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) was passed by the Senate in May 2017 (the Federal House of Representatives is still working on the bill). Social Action has undertaken a thorough study of the PIGB. The result of our examination is contained in the briefing paper, “The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), 2017: Implications for the Environment and Local Communities”.

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THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY GOVERNANCE BILL (PIGB), 2017: Implications for the Environment and local communities

PIGB_Briefing

In May 2017, the Nigerian Senate passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), which is revised version of the original Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that was presented to the National Assembly by the Yar’adua administration in 2008. This briefing paper by Social Action provides an analysis of the PIGB, which focuses almost exclusively on the creation of new commercial entities to manage privatized national petroleum assets. There is a glaring neglect of host communities’ interest in the proposed new institutions. The PIGB does not provide for health, safety and environment concerns; there is no provision for an end to gas flaring. The PIGB proposes to remove all powers of the Federal Ministry of Environment (and its agencies) over environmental regulation and enforcement in the petroleum sector. Read Full Report

Oil Pollution, ‘Bush Fires’ And Funerals In Ogoniland: Researching Resource Governance In The Niger Delta

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Isaac ‘Asume’ Osuoka, Director of Social Action, reflects on the challenges of researching oil pollution and resource governance in Nigeria

“Why is the mortality rate in Bodo so high?” That was a question posed by Ben Naanen, a professor of history at the University of Port Harcourt. “Every weekend, there are numerous funerals in Bodo”, he informed the group of researchers from universities, think tanks and NGOs working on resource governance issues in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

The meeting was convened by Nigerian NGO, Social Action and other institutions to promote research collaboration. The objective of the meeting was to identify immediate research needs by examining how current politics, policies, practices and institutions related to the petroleum industry inform social and environmental impacts.

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State of Open Budgets in Five States of the Niger Delta

state-of-open-budgets-in-five-states-of-the-niger-delta

This new Social Action briefing presents findings of research into the extent to which 5 states of the Niger Delta- Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Bayelsa- operate their fiscal processes in line with the principles of open budget. It equally examines how citizens in these states relate with and perceive government and its officials on fiscal matters.

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THE CROSS RIVER SUPERHIGHWAY: Route to Land Grabs?

the-cross-river-superhighway

The Cross River basin in south-eastern Nigeria contains the largest remaining natural rainforests in Nigeria. Most of the forests have been protected by the government and through community initiatives. However, a new Super-Highway project by the government of Cross Rivers State could open up the forest to more land grabs for property speculation, commercial agriculture and logging. This briefing paper examines how the road construction is violating the livelihood rights of several forest dependent communities whose rights to land and access to the forests for food, medicine and energy is being threatened. The Super-Highway also calls to question the viability of the controversial United Nations-backed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD+) scheme in Cross Rivers State. Read Full Report