The Federal and state governments in Nigeria have been called upon to always make their budget documents available and accessible to members of the public as budgets could go beyond the figures as announced by government.
Making the call recently in Enugu during a one day government and Civil Society Organisations and (CSOs) meeting,the Executive Director of an Enugu based non – governmental organisation (NGO), Civil Resources Development And Documentation Center (CIRDDOC), Mrs. Oby Nwankwo, described budget as a vital instrument for planning which all and sundry must have adequate information about.
Mrs. Nwankwo whose organisation is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights as well as strengthening of civil society, regretted that Nigerian governments had always kept their citizens in the dark when deliberating on issues bothering on budget.
Her words: “A budget should go beyond figures as announced by the government. A good governance must be guided by democratic principles of transparency, probity, and accountability”, stressing that any government that claims to be pursuing a pro – poor or people centred development must always allow the people to make inputs into a very important instrument of government such as the budget.
Mrs. Nwankwo, who spoke through the head of legal department in the organisation, Barrister Chinwike Okereke, said when the people are not involved in the budget process , it would be seen as a mere government document, insisting that government must always give her citizens a sense of belonging when discussing budget matters.
She , however, blamed the secret handling of government budget document on the influence of Nigeria’s pre-1999 prolonged military rule, adding that “this is one of the effects of long years of military government. An era where every document is a secret document . The resultant effect of that culture of secrecy on the Nigeria project today is devastating.”
The CIRDDOC boss said Nigeria ought to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world because of her abundant natural resources, but regretted tht she has turned out to be poorest among nations due to corruption and poor management of resources by successive administrations especially the military, pointing out that a recent United Nations report shows that about 90% of Nigerians are poor .”
The Executive Director further hinted that CIRDDOC was currently working on a project entitled “Monitoring the Virtual Poverty Fund ( MVPF)” in Enugu state, a project, she said is sponsored by Coalitions for Change (C4C), and implemented by Centre for Democracy And Development (CDD).
“Apart from strengthening the capacity of civil society groups to access, analyze, and use budget information to advocate priority issues, the project, she explained is also aimed at monitoring budget performance of the debt relief gains on specific social services as well as sectors such as education, health, and water in Enugu State”.
Corpse Of Woman Found In Ebonyi Hotel Room
The police in Ebonyi State say they have discovered the body of a yet to be identified middle-aged woman in a hotel room in Abakaliki, the state capital. The spokesperson of the police in the state, Loveth Odah, stated this yesterday.
She said the body has deep cuts on the chest and neck and has been deposited in a mortuary. According to the spokesman, it was discovered at Crown Garden Hotel located along the ever-busy Afikpo road in the capital city.
Mrs Odah, who said that the victim was found in the pool of her own blood, said the suspect had been identified as one Uchenna Awoke.
She said the hotel manager, Emmanuel Eze, the supervisor, and other workers had been taken to the police station for questioning and accused the hotel management of negligence.
“The manager of the hotel, the supervisor and other staff of the hotel were taken to the station for questioning and I must confess to you that the whole thing is negligence on the part of the hotel management. How can a guest be murdered in a hotel room and days after, the management is not aware of the incident.”
“We will investigate the matter properly and I assure you, the perpetrator of the act must be arrested and prosecuted. All we are asking is for the members of the public to avail the police of useful information that will lead to the arrest of the suspect.”
Senate Passes S’East Dev Commission Bill
The Senate yesterday passed the South East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2018.
The proposed commission aims at enhancing the infrastructural development of the South East zone, which is grappling with huge ecological challenges.
It also seeks to act as a catalyst for the development of the commercial potential of the zone.
The proposed legislation requires the concurrence of the House of Representatives to become a bill of the National Assembly, and the President’s assent to become a law.
Senators Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) and Samuel Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) jointly sponsored the bill read in the Senate on June 22, 2016.
Its passage in the Red Chamber followed the presentation of the report of the Committee on Establishment and Public Service by its former Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa), on the floor of the Senate.
The bill, after Paulker’s presentation, was considered clause by clause by the committee of the whole, and amendments made by the lawmakers were read for the third time and eventually passed.
In his remarks, presiding Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, commended his colleagues for a job well done.
In his words, “Every morning we pray that God should give us the grace to do only those things that will promote the peace and unity of this country.
“I believe that we have shown today that we are committed to the unity of this country, and it is this unity that will give us faith in this country.
“This faith will in turn help us to pursue peace and progress,” he said.
Briefing newsmen after plenary, members the South East caucus of the Senate, led by Sen. Enhinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), thanked their colleagues and members of the committee for their efforts.
Abaribe, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, urged the President to sign the bill into law “as soon as we tidy it up and bring to him, in the interest of the unity and progress of Nigeria”.
“This will put to rest the long-drawn agitation in the South East, and the difficulties in the rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts that started at the end of the civil war.
“All things we see always will end up at the negotiating table, which is what we have done,” he said.
The lawmaker said he hoped the House of Representatives would give concurrence to the bill as it went in the Senate.
When established, the South East Development Commission would be the third zonal interventionist body in the country.
2019: Oyedepo Predicts Peace In Nigeria
Bishop David Oyedepo, the Founder and Presideng Bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, on Saturday predicted that nothing would disturb the peace of Nigeria and its story would change for the better in the year 2019.
Oyedepo made the declaration at the just concluded annual prophetic gathering of the Winners’ family, christened the “Dominion”, in a satellite telecast of the church.
In the telecast monitored in Abuja, the cleric also declared that 2019 would be a year of “I have Dominion”.
“Nothing will tamper with the peace of Nigeria; the story will change for the better in the name of Jesus.
“Nigeria shall not see bloodshed, the Prince of Peace will continue to dominate in Nigeria, in Africa and Nigeria is declared blessed.
“Anywhere you step, accident is forbidden; death will not come near you and our nation.
“Anything that is of grace in my life, I freely release upon you today.
“God has opened the year 2019 to us, celebrate Him because its our year of “I have Dominion,” he said.
The Bishop added that the year 2019 would be a year of humbling testimonies for Nigeria and pace-setting testimonies.
He further declared that 2019 would be a colourful year for the nation.
According to the cleric, as long as Jesus has the final say on the issues of Nigeria, it will experience greatness.
Oyedepo said that there would be no more cause of alarm in any area of the nation and its citizens.
He advised Christians in Nigeria to delight themselves in the spirit of servant-hood, adding that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood.
“The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood. As you keep rising on the ladder of leadership, you must retain our spirit of servant-hood, constantly working to add value to others and be kingdom minded,” he said.
According to him, dedication is at the root of dominion, saying: “Sow yourself as a seed by being totally dedicated to God and His Kingdom’’.
He told his congregation that sacrificial giving guarantees the meeting of all their needs.
“When you engage in taking care of the well-being of others, God is also committed to your well-being,” he explained. The cleric admonished Christians would engage in meeting the needs of the needy, every barrier on their path of destiny would be crushed.
“Nobody tampers with your life, your career, your family and goes away with it because you are promoted to God’s kingdom.
“God will stand for your defence in the day of trouble. Every sacrificial giver has a defence around him in the day of trouble always have that in mind,” he said.
He reminded his congregation that the Church is not a building; the Church is a people and the Redeemed of the Lord.
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