We, the undersigned, hereby address this communiqué to the President of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. We are representatives of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, Communities and stakeholders in the development of the Niger Delta region. In the light of recent events at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and similarly past antecedents of unprecedented and monumental corruption manifesting in extensive contract frauds, Procurement law infractions, non-budgetary and extra-budgetary spendings, audit violations, cronyism, fiscal recklessness and flagrant disregard to procedural rules, the Civil Society Network and communities, on Friday, July 17, 2020, held a virtual meeting to deliberate on a way forward in the interest of the people of the Niger Delta.
By Vivian Bellonwu
Nigeria’s hitherto precarious economic state appears to be in for an unmitigated meltdown as the present Coronavirus pandemic has exposed and is bringing to the fore, both the weak nature of the nation’s economic fundamentals as well as the deficient capacity of its managers and management.
Nigeria is currently battling the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. So far, Delta State has some confirmed cases, according to information released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Nationally, the federal and state governments initiated various policy frameworks and actions to stem the spread of the virus.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as part of the efforts by the Nigerian government to reduce the adverse economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,released 50 billion Naira for vulnerable households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
Communique issued at the end of the Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference 2019 on the theme: Reviving Popular Action for Democracy and Freedom in Nigeria
The Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) in partnership with African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized the 2019 Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference at Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, on Tuesday December 17, 2019.
The recent statement made the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola that “those who complain we [Federal Government] borrow too much should tell us where else to find funds” is not only unfortunate but alsoa glaring admission of cluelessness.
Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) has been leading advocacy, amongst other thematic areas, on open and inclusive governance with a vision to entrench a regime of transparent and accountable governance and a citizen-centred public budgeting system. For about a decade now Social Action has been working with like-minded partner organisations in the Niger Delta to bring this vision to reality.
In a feat that marks the triumph of the rights and will of citizens, Social Action Nigeria has obtained and published the budget of the Rivers State Government for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years on its website.
This breakthrough is coming on the heels of years of secrecy following the emergence of the administration of Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike in 2015. Since then, the government in the state refused to make its annual budgets public but instead carried on with the business of governance with expenditure figures unknown to residents and taxpayers. To this end, participatory governance became relegated to irrelevance even as accountability and transparency suffered a similar fate. Budget secrecy in Rivers State was sustained even at a time governments at all levels across the country were embracing Open Government Partnership (OGP).
Recently, the Kogi state government made a public admission and disclosure that it has defaulted in paying its workers’ salaries due to huge loan servicing by the State. The State’s Director-General, Media and publicity stated in the report that “. . .the loans were taken by the two previous administrations for projects that did not add value to the state. Sometimes, we repay between N400m and N500m monthly as loans that add no value to the state. These loans were taken by the last two administrations and some of them were invested on projects that were never completed”.
Organized by Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) in collaboration with Kabetkache Women Development and Resource Centre and Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) on Thursday, February 22, 2018, at Aldgate Hotel, Abacha Road, Port Harcourt, communities and civil society organizations across Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Rivers states, (during the Town Hall meeting) examined issues of notable concern over communities and environmental matters as related to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.