CSOs Score Kaduna MDAs Low on FOI Compliance
By: Femi Mustapha
A conglomerate of civil society organizations rose from an impact assessment meeting in Kaduna yesterday with a verdict on Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies in the State for consistent failure to comply with Freedom of Information Acts.
The CSOs at the projects tracking meeting included the Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM), Partnership To Learn and Reform (PERL), and EDGAM, among others.
Civil rights advocates, after a brainstorming session and progress assessments on budgets, projects, and their execution and implementation to serve the end users, blamed officials and contact persons in contracts awarding desks for not allowing CSOs, the media, and other watchdogs access to vital documents to scrutinize jobs done in communities for quality, service delivery, and compliance with project specifications.
PERL facilitator in Kaduna, Abel Adejo, lamented the poor quality of jobs done on health, education, and road infrastructures in 23 local government areas in the state, blaming the unfortunate development on the indifferent nature of officials in ministries and government agencies.
Adejo, however, expressed optimism in the ability of civil societies in partnership with the press to positively change the narrative for a better and prosperous society where accountability and transparency would count.
He charged the media and civil societies alike to consistently engage with communities to assess the quality of projects done in vital sectors, so they could, in turn, expose infractions and hold governments responsible.
Dangwa Danjuma, a governance advocate, disclosed that 313 federal and state government-executed projects across 23 local governments had been tracked by community development champions in 2023.
He lamented the secrecy in which most of these projects were shrouded, making the job of the watchdogs ensuring the delivery of quality service very difficult.
Danjuma decried the lack of awareness on the part of citizens to be conversant with their rights and responsibilities to engage policymakers with the view of compelling elected representatives to live up to their pledges and mandates.
He advocated a strong and enduring collaboration between civil society organizations and the media to achieve the set goals of ensuring accountable, prudent, and transparent management of resources for the growth and development of society.