FUND DIVERSION CAUSES SLOW-PACED DEVELOPMENT IN AKWA IBOM COMMUNITIES- NGO SURVEY REVEALS
A Non Governmental Organization, Accountability Lab Nigeria, has claimed that samples collected in Upenekang Community, Ibeno Local Government Area and Uquo community in Esit Eket Local Government Area indicated that reasons for slow-paced development in these communities are due to diversion of funds meant for development of these areas by Government Officials.
Program and Learning Manager of the Organization, Ehi Grace stated this on Thursday, during a Community Town Hall meeting to discuss findings from the Civic Acts Community Survey in Upenekang and Uquo in Ibeno and Esit Eket LGAs respectively.
Ehi explained that the claim was based on research findings by the NGO in collaboration with Ford Foundation, a Non Governmental Organization.
According to her, “the Civic Action Team Project which is geared towards collecting critical information from communities to solve daily problems for marginalised Citizens as well as strengthen the communities’ ability to self advocate ,will help to end impunity within Government by building accountability and improve decision making processes through citizens engagement and inclusion.
Cross section of participants during the town hall meeting recently.
“Our primary objective is to ensure communities in the Niger Delta have an improved understanding of their rights and is better equipped to advocate for improved policies in Public and Private decision making spaces, hence, critical data was collected from communities on what is their challenges, when solving daily problems for marginalised Citizens.” Ehi stated.
Furthering, she said that key findings from the survey sample shows that community members have been marginalised from Government programs and projects such as, access to free education, Health Care, Clean Water, Good road network, food and subsidized agro materials.
Some of the findings reads, “the very primary need of the project focal communities is electricity.
“There is no equality and fairness with regards to Government appointments,jobs , projects allocation in sampled communities.
“Majority of community members are aware that they can play an active role in holding elected Representatives accountable through effective citizens participation.
“There is no form of cordial relationship between elected Representatives and community members as some do not stay in the communities nor visit often , hence are not aware of their challenges.
Particopants at the meeting.
“Access to information is a key factor preventing women , youth and persons with disabilities from engaging in decision making processes.”
Based on the findings, the Organization recommended developing a social contract policy between Government Stakeholders and the communities, noting that it would impact positively on the communities.