ANEEJ and LITE-Africa MEMO ADDRESSED TO
THE MINISTER, FEDERAL MINISTRY OF NIGER DELTA AFFAIRS, ABUJA
BY: AFRICA NETWORK FOR ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE (ANEEJ) AND LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE FOR TRANSFORMATION AND EMPOWERMENT (LITE-AFRICA)
DURING ADVOCACY VISIT TO THE MINISTRY ON MONDAY JUNE 6, 2016 AT THE MINISTRY’S HEAD OFFICE, ABUJA
The Honourable Minister,
Director of Planning, Research and Statistics,
Other staff of the Ministry,
Ladies and gentlemen
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE-Africa) wish to use this opportunity to first of all congratulate the Hon. Minister Pastor Usani Uguru on his appointment as Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
We have observed keenly the activities of the Ministry and we are satisfied as development workers at the level of disclosure adopted by the Ministry with particular reference to the publication of annual budget and quarterly budget performance report as presented on the website of Budget Office of the Federation. We also took particular note of the tour made by the Hon. Minister to Niger Delta States and some projects as soon as he assumed office where he made some serious commitments including the resolution of the Ministry to complete all abandoned or on-going projects across the nine Niger Delta State.
We are here to share with you and other staff of the Ministry the findings from our research and Citizen Report Card on Niger Delta Institutions survey conducted by ANEEJ and LITE-Africa and our suggestions on how to improve the effectiveness of NDIs including the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
While implementing the USAID Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) project, ANEEJ and LITE-Africa carried out an assessment of Niger Delta Institutions (NDIs) such as NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs as well as the Oil and Gas Commissions in Edo, Delta and Ondo States to get a deeper understanding of the mandates, policies and the activities they are pursuing. Both organizations also conducted a citizen report card survey on the institutions including your Ministry to get citizens perception on the activities of the Ministry and allow the citizens of Niger Delta to rate their performance.
We will now present a summary of the findings peculiar to your Ministry while other details are contain in the reports which we will also share with you along with other IEC materials.
Summary of report findings
• The findings show that besides the ongoing constructing of the East West road, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is not on ground in the region and many of the community residents do not know the role of the Ministry.
• There is total lack of synergy among the agencies working to develop the Niger Delta region, which should ordinarily promote the sighting of projects that are complementary in nature. The lack of synergy in some cases has led to duplication of projects.
• The development agencies including Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs have some abandoned projects in some communities in the region which do not give them a good name. For instance, the East West road, the housing estate at Ikot Efiom in Bakassi Local Government area of Cross River State among others.
• Some communities complained of lack of consultation by the development agencies including your Ministry before projects are identified and executed. This to them results in lack of ownership by the benefiting community which most time lead to vandalism and lack of maintenance.
• Civil society groups have been totally excluded in the project monitoring framework of your Ministry.
OUR RECOMMENDATIONS ON WAYS TO IMPROVE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MINISTRY OF NIGER DELTA AFFAIRS
The following recommendations represent our suggestions as development workers arising from the reports and our policy work in the region, on how to improve the effectiveness of your Ministry.
• We desire increase funding for the Ministry as against the reduction evident in the 2016 budget, as this is the only way the Ministry can tackle critical infrastructural deficit in the region. We have already made this known in our message to the President on the occasion of the flag-off of the clean-up of Ogoniland.
• The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs should work collaboratively with other development agencies, such as NDDC and even the oil and gas Commissions in order to avoid duplication of projects and waste of resources. We expect your Ministry to lead this initiative.
• Effort should be made to complete all abandoned projects you initiated in the Niger Delta including but not limited to the East West road from Calabar to Lagos, the housing estate in Cross River State and also embark on new projects in the region that will be of maximum benefit to the people.
• Consultative meetings with communities before project selection and execution should be strictly pursued as it will ensure implementation of people oriented projects and afford the people a sense of ownership of such projects
• The Ministry should include civil society organizations in their project monitoring framework as it will make available, independent monitoring reports. This will support strict supervision during project implementation to ensure compliance and quality assurance and avoid sub-standard or abandoned projects. This would further facilitate accountability and improve the public perception of the Commissions’ transparency.
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