The Executive Director, Fostering Achievement for Community Empowerment (FACE), Mr Inatimi Odio, has called on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the Niger Delta region to build capacity for community groups to strengthen their advocacy skills.
Odio, who spoke to The Tide recently in Port Harcourt, during a one day stakeholders’ Advocacy Capacity Building on the Ogoni Cleanup, stated that the programme aims at ensuring stakeholders are able to air their concerns and challenges on the Ogoni Clean up process so that those concerned can be responded to in a positive way.
He stressed that wrong approach to lobbying and advocating was responsible for lack of good result, noting that advocacy is a process and not a spring race, but maranthon, hence different strategies must be employed in order to make advocacy successful. According to him, “the practice of lobbying and advocating ought to be done in a more structured manner that will produce maximum result expected by those concerned.”
Odio emphasised that other NGOs were really not building the advocacy capacity of community groups, but rather advocate on behalf of communities, thereby playing down on the people’s power that they would have utilised to engage different stakeholders to achieve their objectives.
“Many times NGOs advocate on behalf of communities, thereby disempowering them.
“So my message to other CSOs, NGOs is that capacity should be built among stakeholders in different communities so that they can engage actively in the process.
“This way, both the communities, CSOs, and NGOs can collaborate with government agencies including the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to ensure that the clean -up exercise process is effectively implemented,” Odio said.
The FACE Executive Director noted that the training will build stakeholders, capacity on advocacy strategies that will guide the communities to engage the other stakeholders involved in the clean-up to ensure it is fast-tracked and effectively done.
Speaking also, a member of the Coalition of Civil Society on Environmental Sustainability (CISOC), Mr Sunny Zorvah stated that investigation shows that impacted communities do not have capacity in terms of asking for what they want, and do not understand the issues surrounding the Ogoni Cleanup. Zorvah stressed that the event is aimed at building the capacity of these communities to enable them advocate peacefully so it does not stop the exercise, but to pass the message on to HYPREP.
He noted that HYPREP benefits the more if these communities are calm, hence the need for them to operate an open policy that would clear every doubt, adding that the people of the community need to undestand that there is a window open for them to ventilate their opinions and challenges to make proper use of it in ensur
Group Blasts Hon. Kelechi Nwogu’s Choice Of Constituency Projects
A civil society organisation, Omuma Mandate Group has criticised the lawmaker representing Omuma Constituency in Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Kelechi Nwogu over his choice of constituency projects in Omuma Local Government Area. The group believes that an ultra modern multipurpose hall and a mini stadium are of no economic importance to Omuma people.
The group’s decision was contained in a communique issued on Saturday, 15 February, 2020 in Eberi, the headquarters of Omuma LGA.
While reading the communique to press men, the Coordinator of the group, Comr. Nnodim Dimkpa said, it is high time politicians in Omuma stopped taking Omulgans for granted.
“We as a civil society organisation which has the general interest of Omuma as our main objective, unequivocally reject the two constituency projects sited in Omuma by the lawmaker representing us at the state level, we don’t need conference halls and stadiums, what Omuma people need are concrete economic empowerment, good hospitals, and quality education. These are our basic needs.”
However, the group acknowledged the electrification projects in some communities done by Hon. Nwogu, and also the 17 kilometres road that he attracted to Omuma. But they insisted that there are better projects that would have been beneficial to Omuma people than a conference hall and a mini stadium.
Recall that, Hon. Kelechi Nwogu choose to build a multi purpose hall and a mini stadium as his constituency projects. Both edifices have even been put to use in the just concluded yuletide festivities in Omuma.
PAP Under Buhari Has Failed, Agitators Insist …Allege Corruption In NSA’s Office
A militant group, the Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC), has said that the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government is a monumental failure.
The group attributed the failure of the amnesty programme to what it termed as the ‘greed, inefficiency and incompetence in the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) under whose purview the programme had been housed since 2015.
The JRC, in a statement issued yesterday, and signed by its Joint Spokesperson, Cynthia Whyte, a copy of which was obtained by The Tide in Port Harcourt, called on Buhari to immediately remove the Amnesty Programme from the direct supervision of the NSA, alleging that the latter has turned the programme into his personal Automated Teller Machine (ATM).
The statement, which was addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, reads, “Mr. President, the Presidential Amnesty Programme under your watch has failed. The singular reason for the failure of the Presidential Amnesty Programme is the incompetence, inefficiency, malfeasance, greed and corruption in the Office of the National Security Adviser, under whose watch the Amnesty Programme has been domiciled since July, 2015.
“The Presidential Amnesty Programme has since then, been transformed into the personal ATM machine of the National Security Adviser, guaranteeing him of withdrawals of millions of dollars on scheduled basis.
“As a result of the demand to service the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Presidential Amnesty Programme, run by lackeys appointed by the NSA, continues to run short of the funds it requires to service its main operational purpose and mandate, thereby short-changing the thousands of ex-militants on whose account the Presidential Amnesty Programme was founded.
“First, it was Brig-Gen Paul Boroh, who was appointed as coordinator of the Amnesty Programme in July, 2015. His appointment was terminated in March, 2018, amidst allegations of fraud, embezzlement and recklessness. The entire story was not told.
“Now, it is Prof Charles Dokubo, whose appointment was announced on March 13, 2018,” the group said, adding that the failure of the programme has led to the increase in illegal oil refineries across the Niger Delta region.
“The failure of the Amnesty Programme has, thus, resulted in an astronomical rise in the proliferation of illegal oil refineries across almost all the nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta.
“More than 250,000 barrels of crude oil is diverted daily for the operation of these illegal oil refineries which are present in almost every community in the Niger Delta, and which are owned and operated by former militant leaders and their followers who have laid down their arms but have lost faith in the Amnesty Programme.
We’re Set For Project Assessment, NDDC Confirms
The former acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Joi Nunieh, has said that the commission has empowered its Project Assessment Committee to begin visits to project sites in communities across the Niger Delta region.
Nunieh spoke during a courtesy visit to the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, by some chiefs from Kula, in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, under the auspices of concerned citizens of Kula Kingdom, recently.
The former NDDC boss said that through his findings in the just concluded contract verification exercise, the commission had been able to reduce its indebtedness to contractors and consultants considerably.
She declared: “We are ready to begin the assessment of the project which will entail going to the sites and it would be a name and shame exercise.”
Nunieh emphasised that the Interim Management Committee (IMC), which she heads, would not succumb to pressures from contractors who want to be paid even before validation of their claims.
The former NDDC boss urged the Kula chiefs to support the IMC and stand with the NDDC to ensure the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region, noting that the story of the region would not be complete without a mention of the contributions of Kula as an oil-producing community.
Nunieh said that the assessment committee had worked out a schedule for the visit of project sites in various communities, including Kula, to inspect on-going projects, emphasising that no contractor would be paid without evidence of work done.
She said: “I want to assure you that we will visit your community for site inspection. We expect your people to receive us. We will look at the measurements and every detail of work done and if they are accurate, we will pay.
“I want to say that I am privileged to be at NDDC at this time. The money for the execution of projects is not mine. It belongs to the Federal Government and if a contractor does well, I don’t see why he will not be paid,” she stated.
Earlier in their presentation, the Concerned Citizens of Kula, led by Anabs Sara-Igbe, appealed for the investigation, reconsideration and completion of abandoned NDDC projects in Kula and other communities in the Kingdom.
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