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Niger Delta budget group condemns stifling of human rights by FG

By Kehinde Olatunji
29 March 2022   |   4:03 am
Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG) has frowned on what it describes as an attempt by Federal Government to restrict the civic space, which it considers repressive and suppressive against the citizens.

Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG) has frowned on what it describes as an attempt by Federal Government to restrict the civic space, which it considers repressive and suppressive against the citizens.

It noted that freedom of expression, non-violent protests, peaceful assembly, among others, being guaranteed human rights, are inalienable in line with democratic freedom globally and should be respected by all tiers of government across Nigeria.

This was stated in a communiqué issued after a one-day supplementary capacity building for mobilisation of marginalised groups, particularly, women, and other stakeholders for budget tracking and formation of shadow budget groups, organised by NDEBUMOG in Port Harcourt with the support of OXFAM.

The event was to enable participants to demand accountability, effective service delivery and understanding/identification of economic opportunities in the government’s budget through extractive value chains.

Participants were drawn from communities, civil society organisations, the media, NDEBUMOG’s affiliates and other stakeholders from Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Delta, and Rivers state.

The group asked all tiers of government to encourage citizens in budget processes, from conceptualisation, formulation, defence, enactments to implementation tracking, monitoring, and evaluation.

The communiqué signed by the Chief Executive Officer, NDEBUMOG, Dr. George-Hill Anthony, and President, Pius Dukor Foundation, Pius Dukor, stated that fiscal inclusion should be extensive and not an exclusive right for government operators alone, saying budget information or fiscal documents, should no longer be treated as secret documents.

It advocated that women should be encouraged to participate in governance through gender and fiscal equity, adding that cultures, traditions, policies, and practices, which limits women participation in governance at all levels, should be eliminated or be expunged.

“Government should bridge inequality gaps through poverty reduction policies. A situation, where the poor get poorer and the rich, getting richer could be a reason why many Nigerians are struggling for daily survival without time to pay attention to fiscal situations around them, such as, attending budget defence sessions and tracking of public expenditure.

“Therefore, economic opportunities that could empower the citizens, especially, the women through fiscal architecture with a gender equity mirror should be promoted by the government.

The communiqué also added that extractive host communities should use the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to empower women economically by allocating 30 per cent of the three per cent captured in the PIA to women.