http://ndcbp.org/attachments/audio/audio_wike.mp3 In 2015 during a Governorship debate in Port Harcourt, then Candidate Nyesom Wike promised to run an open government where all citizens will have access to budget information and where transparency, accountability and due process will be the guiding…
Being a Press Statement Released by Social Action, Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform and Partners
It is worrying that at the sixth month of the fiscal year, Rivers state, Akwa Ibom state, Bayelsa state and Delta state have not deemed it appropriate to make copies of their annual budgets available on the state official websites or otherwise for public access. This is the high point of a tradition of executive and legislative secrecy which has become common practice in the aforementioned states.
Plans have been concluded by the Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform and a group of volunteers to visit all Primary Schools in 5 Local government areas in Rivers state. The research visits are aimed at understanding the extent and spread of the Rivers state model primary school scheme. The scheme involves the construction of model primary schools each fitted with libraries, crèches, sick bays, computer rooms, school auditoriums, spacious classrooms, sports fields, play pens, power generating sets, and internet connectivity. While the scheme has been applauded by many, there are however concerns that its applicability is mostly in urban areas, while the rural areas are mostly unattended; and that the key facilities are never in use.
After a three week long field research by the Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform and its volunteers into the state of primary education in Rivers state, findings have been presented to the state Commissioner of Education, Dame Alice Lawrence-Nemi. The research was aimed at understanding the impact of recent government reforms in the sector of primary education and its functionality and applicability. 20 researchers visited all primary schools in, Port Harcourt City, Bonny, Oyigbo, Degema and Ahaoda West local government areas, conducted interviews with teachers and parents, captured GPS locations of all primary schools and collected other relevant data including number of pupils and enrolment.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, we- the Niger Delta Anti-Corruption Network and the Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform- are honoured that you found time to attend this brief but very timely Press Conference.
We are deeply concerned that the Rivers State government is yet to publicly make available copies of the 2015 budget of the state. At various times, our organizations have made requests to the relevant government agencies for electronic or hard copies of the document, all to no avail. On more than one occasion, the response has been that the document is not yet ready. If this is the case, one then wonders what it was that the State House of Assembly passed into Law as the 2015 Appropriation.
As part of efforts to increase awareness and build capacity of civil society organizations on budget advocacy, Social Action’s budget advocacy network the Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform held a training programme for select CSOs in the Niger Delta The workshop which held on the 23rd and 24th of October 2015, was framed as a Train-the-Trainers course aimed at strengthening the capacity of participating organizations and enabling them carry out similar trainings in their own locale.
The Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform will this week begin the monitoring of projects allocated funds in the 2013 budgets of five Niger Delta states of Rivers, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom. The month -long budget monitoring programme is focused on the education, health and food sufficiency allocations of the sub national budgets with primary interest in arriving at an independent citizens’ score card of government budget performance in those sectors.