….Places N500, 000 Bounty
“If we agree that Democracy is a government of the people, for the people and by the people, it means that openness, transparency and accountability must be its cardinal pillars.”
The above was the position of an advocacy group that goes by the name “Niger Delta Citizens Budget Network (NDCBN)” in an online statement sent to the fourth estate of the realm by Mr. Phillip Akah, NDCBN Communication’s Officer
Text of the statement reads thus: “That is what we advocate at Niger Delta Citizens Budget Network (NDCBN). NDCBN is composed of a network of Civil Society Organizations, individuals and experts working in the areas of good governance, open budget, transparency and accountability in States within the Niger Delta Region, known for their rich oil mineral deposits, environmental challenges and the resultant community conflicts.
“On this Network, we carry out Budget Analysis and Advocacy, Project Monitoring and Evaluation; and build the capacity of communities in States within the Niger Delta Region through Town Halls and Round Tables, to participate in the budgeting and policy formation processes. We have been doing the above for a decade now on an annual basis.
“Sadly, our work has been hampered since 2016 by the authoritarian refusal of the Rivers State Government to allow anyone access to a copy of the River State Budget/Appropriation Acts of 2016 and 2017. All entreaties from our members in an attempt to get a copy of both Budget documents for two consecutive years have been rebuffed repeatedly in the most undemocratic manner. This is most unfortunate and totally unacceptable.
“Let us make it abundantly clear that the Budget of a state government, otherwise called the Appropriation Act is an Act of Parliament. Hence, it is a public document that must not only be readily available, but published promptly.
“As a Citizens Group, we frown at this terrible development and consider it a coup against the good citizens and people who reside in Rivers State. This is a blatant rape of our democracy and should not be allowed to continue. It is the sacred duty of all citizens to demand for accountability from all governments, officials and agencies that purport to serve them, and this they must do to advance the cause of democracy. It is a patriotic duty that is beyond partisan political considerations.
“Consequently, we declare the 2016 and 2017 Budget documents of Rivers State wanted and hereby place a bounty of five hundred thousand naira on them to go to anyone who makes both copies available to our Secretariat at 6, Stadium Road, Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt. We call on all citizens and residents of Rivers State to join us in this historic hunt for these apparently missing Rivers State Budget documents.”
NDCBN Communication’s Officer
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