NGO faults NDDC, other agencies for withholding information despite FoI provision

Hamzat Lawal

A Non-governmental organization, Connected Development, CODE, on Monday, criticised the Niger Delta Development commission, NDDC, and many other government agencies for flagrantly violating the provision of the Freedom of Information, FoI, Act.

The CODE’s Co-founder and Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, in a press conference in Kano, decried how the NDDC denied the organisation access to key data on project amounts, contractor details and bills of quantities despite the provision of the FoI act.

CODE, through its ‘Follow the Money’ Initiative, had been tracking and monitoring the implementation of capital funds intended for rural communities in the thematic areas of education, environment and health.

Mr Lawal also said his organisation is facing a lot of difficulty in accessing information from most of the government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.

“Institutions such as the NDDC, BCDA, Garun Malam and Kumbotso LGAs, NPHCDA, Delta State government have and many others have failed to provide key data as requested on project amounts, contractor, details and bills of quantities.

“Out of the 31 communities we worked in, only 4 were duly aware of the projects or appropriations before we informed them.

“This showcases poor participatory budgetary processes and non-involvement of the communities during needs assessment.

“This is undesirable on the part of the government. It also suggests weak and impecunious oversight roles of the legislature,” he said.

Mr Hamzat added that N500 billion was budgeted for the Niger Delta in 2017 to provide basic amenities to the people, but the organization was not able to track the said amount.

Follow the Money is a network of 1000+ activities through which rural dwellers are given the opportunity of holding government accountable on health, education and environment.