A Non-governmental Organization, Connected Development (CODE) has charged members of oil bearing communities in Akwa Ibom state to hold government accountable by tracking and Monitoring projects in their communities.
The director, community engagement, CODE, Mr Kingsley Agu, gave the charge recently during the Citizens-led Tracking and Monitoring Development projects Capacity building organized by them
The workshop which took place in Uyo recently had the participants engaged on advocacy training towards the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act’s (PIA) Host Community Development Trust (HCDT), Budget review, use of media for active engagement and use of FollowTheMoney model to track capital fund.
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Agu noted that the training was under the Power of Voices Partnership (PVP) Fair for All project with support from Oxfam Nigeria which is being implemented across six states in Nigeria.
while speaking on the overview of the project, Agu said they were in the state to train citizens on how to track development projects as it affects their respective communities.
According to him, “the essence of this training is to expand the civic space to have more participants to become active citizens who will be able to hold government accountable by asking questions on how funds are being expended”
He posited that through the training, the participants will be empowered with the knowledge on how to track projects across their communities, adding that “the goal is to ensure projects are implemented according to specification”
The member representing Esit Eket state constituency in Akwa Ibom state house of assembly, Mr Usoro Akpanuso urged the participants to endeavour to show interest in the budget of the state and federal government.
Akpanuso stressed the need for citizens to take part in governance process and hold government accountable.
The community engagement intern, Kelvin Agagbe drilled the participants on FollowTheMoney model and the different aspects of tracking and monitoring projects.
Agagbe, who encouraged the participants to adopt the followthemoney model, explained, “through the model, we can have impact on our communities”.
The state support officer, Ubong Ekpe, while encouraging the participants to take the workshop serious, urged them to engage their leaders on the implementation of the HCDT in their respective local government area.
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Ekpe, who disclosed that certain amount of operational cost of companies were supposed to be paid to their communities, said for over a year now that money has not been paid.
He added that where the companies fail to pay the money, they are to pay a fine of $2,500 per month.
To benefit from the trust fund, Ekpe admonished them to engage their leaders to ensure that the HCDT are set up in their respective local government areas.
Some of the participants who spoke with The Pioneer thanked the NGO for the workshop, saying that it has open their eyes to know their rights.
Pastor Inyang Emmanuel, Peace Bassey of Esit Eket and Patience Titus of Eastern Obolo pledged to make good use of the knowledge garnered to hold government accountable by tracking projects in their communities