By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja.
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has launched Nigeria Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO) to enhance governance in Nigeria by contributing to the fight against corruption.
Speaking with journalists after the launch in Abuja, the Executive Director of ANEEJ, Rev. David Ugolor explained that the gesture will further strengthen rule of law and the protection of human rights by reinforcing prevention mechanisms and enhancing civil society and public engagement.
” The project is dear to our heart as it is a bold effort from Civil Society to support Government anti- corruption initiave especially as it focuses on corruption prevention”. He said.
He said that through the implementation of her Civil Society Advocacy to support anti Corruption and Rule of law in Nigeria (CASARN), ANEEJ has ranked the performance of Ministries, Departments and Agencies on the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO).
According to him, “Following the adoption and implementation of Open Government Partnership (OGP) framework by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), it became imperative for stakeholders especially the non-state actors within the OGP framework to support the implementation of such commitment and data publication”. He noted.
The ranking been first of it’s kind and in compliance with the Secretary General of the Federation (SGF’s ) circular issued in 2018 on the implementation of Open Contracting at the federal level through an algorithm-based Ranking, a total of 113 Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were assessed or evaluated out of the 173 MDAs on the Open Data Segment of the Nigerian Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO) as at the time of the evaluation, as the according to him, the ranking was designed to cover 2018 procurement records and 2019 procurement plan and only evaluated data published on the NOCOPO platform by MDAs.
On her part, the manager, Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (ROLAC) programme, Oluwatoyosi Giwa, said for ROLAC been funded by European Union and implemented by British Council in Nigeria, it will support and encourage more civil society organizations just as ANEEJ to collaborate with government in the implementation of anti-corruption policy and initiave.
“We are supporting variety of intervention including this one which look at the opportunity for CSOs and government to work together, to pull their effort together,to carry Citizens along and to provide a space for CSOs to have a voice in the way that the government implements anti-corruption initiative”. She noted.
According to him, the representative of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Benson Upah while expressing displeasure over the current status for the country interms of how Nigeria ranked internationally on corruption index, he noted that even though about 28 States out of 36 States have made procurement laws, he advised that the laws should be obeyed, calling on Nigerians and non-state actors to always play an active role in ensuring that those laws are obeyed. He said.