By Lucky Isibor
In it’s avowed commitment in stemming the ugly incidences of irregular migration by deploring new approaches, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), has started building the capacities of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media.
The Executive Director of ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor who disclosed this in his welcome address at the 3-day workshop for CSOs/Media Practitioners on Human Development, Anti-Corruption, Budget Monitoring at the Vichi Gates Hotel in Benin City, Monday, November 9, 2020 said the project is geared towards improving the knowledge of citizens, media and policy makers around the issues of good governance that support civic engagement which he noted will support the Open Governance Partnership (OGP) of the Federal Government of Nigeria which has also been signed on by the Edo State government.
According to Rev. Ugolor who was represented by the Deputy Executive Director of ANEEJ, Mr. Leo Atakpu, “One of the project’s objectives is to provide Civil Society Organizations the knowledge to advocate approaches in combating irregular migration vide advocacy for human capital development, budget monitoring/public spending, anti-corruption and good governance policies and programmes.”
Giving further insight into the workshop, Ugolor noted that, “A major activity of this project is a three-day workshop for CSOs and Media Practitioners on Human Capital Development, Anti-Corruption, Budget Monitoring and Tracking.
“The workshop will look at; An overview of the Edo State government budget and provisions for human capital development over the past three years and review the structure of existing human capital development in interventions in Edo State.
“Secondly, understanding Anti-Corruption issues, structures and institutions in the country. Present an overview of budget monitoring and reporting. Agree on key government interventions in 2019/2020 budget of Edo State for CSOs monitoring and advocate for increase in public spending on human capital development programmes.
“And lastly, discuss advocacy issues and agree on points for increased investment on human capital development in Edo State.”
While appreciating the Swiss Embassy in Nigeria for the funds they availed ANEEJ in support of the workshop and the entire project, Rev. Ugolor said the workshop has become imperative as Edo State is “currently facilitating the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) through the ministry of budget to allow for citizens input into the 2021 budget.”
In her remarks, the Project Coordinator, Fullness of Life Counselling and Development Initiative (FULIFE), Rev. Sister Florence Nwaonuma, called for transparency in all government expenditures adding that the EndSARS crisis would have been avoided if this has been the practice over the years.
Also speaking, Dr. Jude Obasanmi noted that the most effective way to combat illegal migration is investment in human capital development that will make the grass here green. He tasked CSOs and the media on budget monitoring just as he deplored the none implementation of budget as passed into law by the government’s implementing agencies.