An anti-corruption advocacy group, Social Development Integrated Center, (SDIC), has urged Niger Delta citizens to begin the process of engaging their representatives at the state and federal levels, as it concerns their basic needs in the areas of health, education, and agriculture.
While presenting their Citizens Budget Analysis and Monitoring Report for 2018 tagged: Closing The Gaps, during their third anti-corruption regional conference in Asaba, Delta State, themed: ‘Promoting Accountability In Service Delivery And Public Finance Management At Sub-national Level,’ they also came hard on politicians and the three tiers of governments’ on low budget performance and parliamentarians’ penchant for constituency projects that are rarely delivered as promised.
Head of National Advocacy, SDIC, Abuja, Mrs. Vivian Bellonwu Okafor said their motivation stems from available records, which reveals that between 1999 to 2016, the over N7tr accrued to the states and local governments in the nine states of the Niger Delta, based on the 13 per cent derivation principle, has been squandered, primarily due to public finance mismanagement.
According to Okafor, who doubles as the SDIC Director of Programmes: “This intervention project is a citizens-led anti-corruption and accountability process that is focused on states and local government areas in the Niger Delta region. It is aimed at mobilising and providing skills and tools for citizens and Civil Society Organisations (CSO), within the region to carry out advocacy on issues of corruption and good governance that affect the region; a strategy towards promoting accountability in the management of public resources at the sub-national level.
“This report spotlights the performance of seven states, which includes Rivers, Bayelsa, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Nasarawa and Kano, in the management of revenues and expenditures in the year 2018. The study is based on months of field assessments of performance, analysis of budget and fiscal documents, as well as interviews with local residents and relevant officials.”
A participant, Her Royal Majesty, Obi Martha Dunkwu, Omu Anioma, said the academic exercise would remain a pipedream until CSOs take their crusade to the grassroots and sensitise citizens.