Port Harcourt, Nigeria… Participants at a one-day stakeholders meeting in Port Harcourt Nigeria, organized by the Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ, have called on the Nigerian government to publish the financial audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, on the website of the commission.
Before they made the call, ANEEJ executive director the Rev David Ugolor said that the objective of the meeting is to review the NDDC Act Amendment Bill, discuss an ANEEJ report and collate stakeholders’ feedback ahead of the public hearing to be announced by the National Assembly.
The participants numbering over 30 included CSOs and journalists from the nine Niger Delta States, host community representatives as well as some leadership of the NDDC.
‘The outcome of this stakeholders meeting will be used to e4ngagethe relevant committee of the National Assembly before and during the public hearing to ensure that the final document reflects stakeholders input. For us and the cluster organisations, this process is very important as we desire a transparent, accountable and improved NDDC working collaboratively with key stakeholders to develop the region’, Rev Ugolor said.
The stakeholders also said that part of the reason why projects were left uncompleted, abandoned or ongoing include the fact that the procurement processes did not involve community leaders and CSOs. Critical areas that stakeholders said should be reviewed include part 1 section 3(i) of the NDDC Act, which they wanted reviewed from a two-term tenure to a single term of 5 years for Chairman of the board of the NDDC.
‘We believe that there should be a review of the ‘excessive’ control that the central government has over the NNDC’, the stakeholders said during plenary and group discussion session of the ANEEJ meet.
ANEEJ said review of the NDDC Act Amendment Bill is a Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Enlightenment, SCALE, Enhancing Anti-corruption and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria Project.
‘The SCALE project is a 5-year project being implemented by Palladium and its resource partners with funds from USAID. It is designed to enhance local civil society organizations’ ability to be positive and responsible change agents in Nigeria. The Enhancing Anti-corruption and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria project is designed following the anchor cluster model adopted by Palladium to promote and engage in anti-corruption policy reforms. ANEEJ received grant on the SCALE project as anchor organisation working with 8 cluster member organizations spread across six states and the Federal Capital Territory. The States are Abia, Edo, Delta, Imo, Ondo, Rivers and the FCT, Abuja. ANEEJ is working with the eight cluster members located in these states including the FCT to implement and deliver this project.
The cluster organisations are: 21st Century Community Empowerment for youth and Women Initiative, Abuja; Community Empowerment and Development Initiative (CEDI), Warri, Delta State; Community Heritage Watch for Development Initiative, (KAI) Akure, Ondo State; Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation (CFCF), Owerri, Imo State; Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), Aba, Abia State; Gender and Development Action (GADA) Port-Harcourt, Rivers State; Joint Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD) Edo State Chapter; and New Apostolic Church Centre for Development (NCD), Benin City, Edo State.