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HomeNewsN9bn Allocation: Blatant Disregard for Accountability Unacceptable, CODE Tells Governors

N9bn Allocation: Blatant Disregard for Accountability Unacceptable, CODE Tells Governors

Amidst mounting concerns surrounding transparency and accountability in governance, Connected Development (CODE) has raised alarm over the silence from state Governors in response to its Freedom of Information (FOI) requests pertaining to the allocation of funds.

CODE in a press statement  by its Chief Executive Hamzat Lawal, stated that Nigerian citizens, as stakeholders in the democratic process, have a right to know how public funds allocated for their benefit have been utilized.

The organization in the statement explained that, “On September 1, 2023, the Finance Minister announced a partial release of 2 billion naira per state from five billion naira earmarked for palliative measures following the fuel subsidy removal. This allocation was intended to alleviate inflation concerns plaguing the nation. 

“Subsequently, on December 9, 2023, the President’s Special Advisor disclosed the distribution of 9 billion naira to each state, with 7 billion designated for infrastructural development and the remaining 2 billion for palliative care and the mitigation of subsidy impacts.

“Recognizing the importance of transparency in governance, we took proactive steps by submitting FOI letters to all state governments on February 16, 2023. These letters requested two fundamental pieces of information in line with Sections 2(3) and (4) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011: Records detailing the disbursement of subsidy palliatives, including itemized expenditures, the list and location of beneficiaries, dates of distribution, and other pertinent details; and A comprehensive list of infrastructural projects undertaken thus far, accompanied by relevant details.

“Under the provisions of the FOI law, state governments were allotted seven days to respond to our requests, with the option of an additional seven days upon request for an extension. 

“Regrettably, as of the time of this statement, no state government has responded to our inquiries, except for Plateau State”, CODE said. 

CODE further commended the Plateau State government for their prompt and responsible action in responding to its Freedom of Information request, adding that “By acknowledging the importance of transparency and accountability, Plateau State has set a commendable example for others to follow”.

Furthermore, Lawal stated that this blatant disregard for transparency and accountability is unacceptable and shows an accountability deficit within the Nation’s governance structure. 

“We call upon all state governors to immediately respond to our FOI requests and provide the requested information without further delay. Failure to do so undermines the principles of good governance and raises serious concerns about the judicious use of resources meant to alleviate the burden on citizens during a challenging economic period.

“At Connected Development (CODE), we remain committed to empowering marginalized communities and fostering informed citizenry as integral components of good governance. 

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“We believe in the transformative power of information and transparency to drive positive change, bridging the gap between communities and decision-makers”, he said.

CODE further urged the media and civil society organizations to join them in demanding transparency and holding state governments accountable for the proper utilization of public funds. 

“Together, we can foster an environment of good governance and ensure that the resources entrusted to our leaders are used for the intended purpose of improving Nigeria and Nigerians”, the statement concluded.

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