The Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform is a collaboration of Civil Society organisations, including NGOs and community groups that promotes mass mobilisation to combat corruption in public offices in the states and local government councils of the Niger Delta, and to support community participation in budget development and monitoring. The platform will be addressing poverty and violence as well as contributing to promoting democratic culture in the region by ensuring that community members and civil society actors are empowered to make input into budget development and monitor budget expenditures.

BACKGROUND
Nigeria is among the major petroleum exporters in the world. The government and transnational oil companies earn huge revenues from oil and gas exports. However, amidst growing exports and increasing revenues to national, state and local governments, poverty levels in the country have been increasing while social infrastructures collapse. The inability of the state to create a community adequate for development has resulted in a disenchanted citizenry and the escalation of violence.

Violence, which has been increasing in different parts of the country, escalated during the April 2007 General Elections with sponsored armed gangs terrorising citizens. In the Niger Delta area, gangs and militia activity have continued to increase with clashes with security agencies, kidnapping of foreign oil workers and sabotage of oil and gas infrastructure. The escalation of the crisis in the Niger Delta could have dangerous repercussion for national stability and global energy security.

The increasing violence in the Niger Delta complicates a social situation characterized by mass poverty and environmental degradation occasioned by the exploitation of crude oil and natural gas in the area, as corruption has robbed communities of potential benefits from the considerable federal, state and local government revenues from oil and gas sales.

The Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform will work to promote a new deal in democratic accountability in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria by improving participation and dialogue among communities, civil society and governments to ensure that government budgets and revenues from natural resources work for the people.

OBJECTIVES:

To build a network of civil society organizations, community groups and leaders to engage governments and their agencies to combat corruption and promote participation in budget making and monitoring.

To encourage collaboration between governments of the states of the Niger Delta and civil society on budget democracy.

To promote the emergence of a civil leadership in the Niger Delta that promotes popular sentiments and development priorities without recourse to violence

STRATEGY:

o NDCBP serves as a forum for generating, analysing and sharing information among members, as well as to community groups, Nigerian citizens, governments, national and international media etc. on developments on revenues and budgets;
o Working with NEITI, utilise and support it as an opportunity to engage with governments in the states and local government areas of the Niger Delta to promote transparency in the formulation and implementation of budgets from natural resources revenues;
o Raising popular awareness by holding public hearings in various state locales as part of the budget-making process to allow for greater public scrutiny of government spending priorities;
o Working with national, state and local government legislative authorities to strengthen legislations that promote free information flows, fiscal responsibility and public accountability;
o Encouraging all levels of government and their agencies to publish all financial allocations and expenditures;
o Monitor and publish information on the performance of state and local governments to encourage good governance and transparency;
o Mobilising communities to increase representation to law enforcement agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corruption and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).