Tuesday, November 24, 2015

ANEEJ Parleys Journalists & CSOs on REGOND




Press Release

24 November2015

ANEEJ Parleys Journalists & CSOs for REGOND

Benin City, Edo State…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Benin City, will convene a workshop for journalists in Cross River State. The workshop will focus on “The Role of the Media in Institutionalizing Good Governance in the Niger Delta”, to be held in pursuance of the “Resource Governance Enhancement in Niger Delta (REGOND) project” which ANEEJ is currently implementing with support from Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service, Germany. 

The workshop is being organized to strengthen the capacity of journalists to hold government accountable in areas of good governance. ANEEJ will also use the opportunity to equip participants with extra media oversight capacities, develop critical, creative and strategic thinking skills. Twenty-five participants, cutting across both print and electronic media from Cross River State were selected to participate in the workshop by the NUJ Cross River State Chapter chairperson. 

The REGOND project is a follow up to the “Strengthening Oil Revenue Management in Niger Delta Project”, which ANEEJ implemented in seven Niger Delta States with support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Bread for the World (Brot), Germany. The first phase of the project commenced in 2009 after ANEEJ commissioned a comprehensive mapping study of Niger Delta States to evaluate the political commitment of government within the region on the issue of transparency and accountability. The final report of the mapping exercise was launched in January 2009 in Abuja and since then we have been implementing the project.

‘Relevant laws on Fiscal Responsibility, Public Procurement, Public Finance Management, and Cross River State Statistics System were passed in 2011 by the Senator Liyel Imoke administration. With the passage of these laws in Cross Rivers State, can we say that the common man on the street knows about these laws? Has the condition of the average Cross Riverian improved with the passage of these laws on Fiscal accountability and public procurement? If not, how can we all in this hall help government to be open and transparent, and translate this openness and transparency to an improved quality of life for our people in Calabar?  Part of the challenge in making laws is not the making the laws but how the laws can be translated and broken down to the understanding of the common person in Calabar’, ANEEJ Executive Director has said.

Prior to this event, November 23, ANEEJ put together frontline Civil Society Organizations in Uyo, the Akwa-Ibom State Capital. The objective of the workshop was to enhance the capacity of CSOs to hold government accountable to the people. The well-attended workshop was declared open by the Commissioner for Economic Development and Planning, Dr. Emmanuel Onwiduokit on behalf of Akwa Ibom State Government and was attended by 30 participants from Civil Society Organizations in the State. 

 Critical to the Uyo Workshop, participants noted that:
              the debt profile of the State is on the increase (from DMO record, over 93 billion Naira as at 2014).
              the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 2015 enacted the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which Nigerians believe will improve administration of criminal justice system in Federal courts.
              Citizens do not have access to basic information in the State such as annual budget, budget performance report, list of ongoing projects with project value and contractors details.
              CSOs need to collaborate and embark on intensive public enlightenment to improve public awareness on their right to demand accountability from government officials.

Pursuant to the following, participants resolved inter alia as follows:

              the State Government has to enact important legislation such as public procurement law, fiscal responsibility law among others to institutionalize good governance in the State
              Appealed to the Akwa Ibom State Government to consider domesticating the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, to improve the administration of criminal justice system in the State
              Appealed to the Akwa-Ibom state government to create the office of a Special Adviser to the Governor on CSOs, to serve as a liaison Officer between the CSOs and the State Government.
              the Akwa Ibom State Government should involve CSOs in budget processes in the State especially in area of budget preparation and monitoring to provide independent reports on the level of budget implementation.
              Civil society groups should build their capacity; identify their areas of strength and network among themselves to hold government accountable in the delivery of the mandate given to them by the people.
              Akwa Ibom State Government should adopt a budget preparation approach where citizens are given the opportunity to make input through regular town hall meetings and other platforms.
              Akwa Ibom State Government should further simplify the annual budget in small hand book form called “citizens budget” that the ordinary citizen can read and understand and as well follow up to give feedback.
              Civil society group should join the “Budget for people campaign” which ANEEJ will launch soon to pursue budget transparency issues in Akwa Ibom State and in the Niger Delta.


 
From right is the Commissioner for Economic Development and Planning Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Emmanuel Onwiduokit, who officially declared the Training Workshop on How to Hold Government Accountable open,  David Ugolor and Harry Udoh, Chairman, Akwa Ibom Civil Society forum/Guild of Community Advocates


 ABOUT ANEEJ: To contribute to the emergence of a just and equitable African society through socio-economic and environmental rights protection, institutional strengthening and people’s empowerment.
 For more information please contact:
Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku
Communications Manager
Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ
39 Oyaide Street,
Off Benoni, GRA,
Benin City,
Nigeria.
@DsighRobert.
info@aneej.org, majirioghene@aneej.com www.aneej.org
+2348156171133, +2348187674339
Visit and like our Facebook election updates: Nigeria2015electionupdates