ANEEJ BRIEFS THE PRESS ON SACE
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, briefed key members of the Nigerian media on the Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement SACE Project which we have carried out from 2014, on Wednesday October 12, 2016 at our Secretariat in Benin City.
On hand to conduct the press briefing were:
- The Rev David Ugolor, executive director
- Innocent Edemhanria, project manager
- Ramat Idiake, project finance manager
- Bob Etemiku, manager communications
- Kelly Umukoro, communications/ICT
Here is the press statement, in addition to photos of the event:
GENTLE MEN OF THE PRESS
We welcome you all to this press briefing to present the outcome of the project which ANEEJ has been implementing for the past two years. Precisely in November 2014, ANEEJ commenced the implementation of Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement project with is managed by Chemonics and supported by USAID and PIND. The project involved strengthening the capacity of CSOs and community members to engage Niger Delta Institutions such as Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC) and Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
ANEEJ is currently implementing the USAID Strengthening Advocacy and Civil Engagement (SACE) Project along with other Niger Delta partners such as Riverine Communities Health Development Organisation (RIVCHO), Warri, Delta State; Green Concern for Development (GREENCODE), Calabar, Cross River State and Gender and Development Action (GADA), Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
ANEEJ and her partners believe that civil society organizations and communities need to increase their demand for accountability and hold these institutions to account in the delivery of their mandates. We desire effective, transparent and accountable institutions working collaboratively to develop Niger Delta region hence the projects was also intended to raise public awareness about the mandates and activities of these institutions to stimulate public interest and increase demand for accountability.
In the course of implementing the project, ANEEJ and other partners including Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE-Africa) was involved in the following:
- Conducted a research to properly understand the mandates of the institutions mentioned above;
- Undertook a citizen report card survey to get communities perception of the activities on the institutions and also allow communities to rate their performance
- Produced policy papers from the research and citizen score card with specific recommendations to these institutions
- Held workshops to present the issues to CSOs and community members and held town hall meetings with communities to present the issues to them. We also mentored them on modern strategies to engage government institutions
- Appeared on radio in Benin City and Calabar to discuss citizen engagement with Niger Delta Institutions.
ANEEJ and LITE-Africa also carried out engagement meetings with NDDC, Min. of Niger Delta Affairs, EDSOGPADEC and DESOPADEC as well as National Assembly, Edo and Delta State Houses of Assembly because these legislators have oversight role to play on the Niger Delta Institutions
We are glad to let you know that the project was very successful as some of the institutions responded positively to our advocacy issues and put measures in place to improve on their effectiveness and as well promote transparency, accountability and disclosure.
The following represents some results that ANEEJ and her partners achieved with the USAID SACE project.
- Following ANEEJ engagement with EDSOGPADEC on the need to create a website where citizens can assess basic information about them, the commission has recently fulfilled the commitment made to ANEEJ and has gone ahead to created their website & populated it with some basic information.
- Following our demand, NDDC has increased transparency and accountability measures intended to improve her effectiveness. The commission commenced the publication of quarterly reports. The first quarterly report for 2016 containing income and expenditure has since been released. This has been mass-produced and also made available to the public through their website. The second quarter report is also ready for publication and is just awaiting approval from the Presidency. The second quarter report is also ready, awaiting and will soon be released.
- As a direct response to one of the recommendations contained in the citizen report card and policy paper used for engagement with NDDC, the commission has included CSOs in their project monitoring framework by setting up a civil society project monitoring committee which was inaugurated by the Acting MD, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari during the follow-up NDDC/CSOs engagement meeting held in Port Harcourt on August 9, 2016.
- Also as a direct response to ANEEJ and our partners’ demand for transparency, accountability and effectiveness from NDIs, the NDDC is currently developing a standards manual in partnership with Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), which is expected to be delivered in September 2016.
- To institutionalize issues of disclosure, the NDDC has created a dedicated portal (called NDDC PMIS PLATEFORM) where a breakdown of all contracts awarded, projects/programme status and locations, contractors’ information, project value and other information from inception to date are made available for the public to access.
- NDDC announced during the Follow-up NDDC/CSOs engagement meeting held in Port Harcourt on August 9, 2016, that a proper community- based needs assessment process ahead of the 2017 fiscal year has been agreed upon and will soon be undertaken.
- NDDC has initiated coordination mechanism among the NDIs. The Partners for Sustainable Development Forum have been resuscitated. A committee was set up during the last forum to further the coordination effort. The membership of the committee comprises all the NDIs, Oil companies, State Government, representatives of youth and women groups, representatives of Ministry of Environment, chamber of Commerce and Civil society Organisations.
- Edo and Delta State Houses of Assembly have made commitments to us to step up their level of oversight on the commissions in both States
- NDDC has institutionalized civil society engagement with the Commission as first and second interactive sessions have been organized. The commission has agreed to do this on a quarterly basis.
While we agree that there are still issues for advocacy with these institutions, we commend them for the measures put in place so far to promote their effectiveness. We particularly congratulate the NDDC.
We recommend to other institutions those measures NDDC has adopted and encourage all the institutions to do more to earn the confidence of the people.
Thank you for your kind attention.