By Lucky Isibor
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND), have been commended by Civil Society Organizations for Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement, (SACE) in the Niger Delta region which has led to transparency and accountability in government.
The African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and eight other Civil Society Organizations, CSO’s gave the commendation at the SACE Niger Delta program, Learning Forum held in Benin City, Edo State.
According to Comrade Leo Atakpo of ANEEJ, the CSO’s have been able to achieve a lot of progress in the region with the SACE program.
“Now the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC publish how they spend their money on their website in response to our advocacy work. They need to put it in the public domain so that the citizens can hold them accountable.
“We came up with the citizens report card on how Niger Delta institutions are fared in the region and the report card show clearly the gaps in terms of development and we approached the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo whom we gave the report to. The Vice President ordered the contractors who abandoned the road construction back to site.”
The ANEEJ Director said they also engaged the Edo House of Assembly and they added their voice to ensure that the road contracts that were stopped, the contractors were ordered back to site.
“We now have a Niger Delta region index to show how they have fared in accountability and transparency. This Forum will show how seven institutions have fared in the past one year. Each of the institutions will have the opportunity to tell the world how they are faring” he added.
An activist and Executive Director of Leadership Initiative for Transparency and Empowerment (LITE), Joel Bisina disclosed that there are several positive outcome from the SACE project cluster approach to programming where a group of organizations identify an advocacy issue and collectively work together thereby building capacity and strengthen one another.