CITAD Meeting Wants Participants Understand FOI Act for Information Flow


By Khalid Idris Doya 

Participants from the CBOs and CSOs training partnering on budget process in Bauchi rose from a meeting urging them to send more Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act) requests to stimulate public officers understand the Act and prepare for proactive disclosure and free flow of information for smooth governance, accountability and transparency.

The meeting which was organized by the Centre for Information technology and Development (CITAD) in collaboration with USAID and State2State, noted that for easy engagement, there is need for zonal network of Community-based Organization (CBOs) to engage in governance process, as it will be good for BASNEC to take care of the engagement.

Communique of the meeting also stressed the need for improved synergy between CSOs and CBOs working on budget processes, especially those receiving support from state2state and other donor agencies strengthen citizens’ voices and engagement in the sector for effective outcome and impact.

It further observed that some of the CBOs and CSOs being managed by civil servants have limit to the level of their engagement for fear of been victimized in case they put pressure on the government, hence in such cases civil servants in the sector should allow nonpublic officers to take lead during such engagements.

The meeting further spoke of the need for improved synergy between CSOs and CBOs working on budget processes especially those receiving support from state2state and other donor agencies strengthen citizens’ voices and engagement in the sector for effective outcome and impact.

The meeting is geared at improving citizens’ participation in governance and open discussion forum for community-based organizations and civil society organizations from six Local Governments of Bauchi state namely Alkaleri, Bauchi, Katagum Misau and Ningi LGAs with objectives of enhancing the capacity of CITAD partners to effectively participate in governance.

The training took place in the conference hall of the Nigerian Union of Journalists along Ahmadu Bello Way Bauchi on the Thursday the 28th of July, 2022.

Declaring the meeting opened earlier, CITAD Executive Director, Ya’u Zakariya Ya’u, enjoined participants to use the knowledge to be acquired to improve governance process of the state, assuring that the Centre would always be available to support them in the process of their engagements, as it is ready to support them especially where technical support is needed in the process of their participations in governance.

In a paper titled “Improving Citizen’s Participation in Governance”, he presented at the meeting, a program coordinator of the centre, Malam Isah Garba noted that citizens’ participation in governance has increased over the years from the military era, which attempted to carry out some forms of public engagement to a more robust engagement with the return to democracy in 1999 and more improvement at the state level in recent years.

The paper observed that Nigerian civil society has made efforts to create and expand the space for citizens’ participation in governance as the follow up to the pro-democracy movement, stressing that participation in governance is based on the democratic principle of the rights of individuals and citizens to participate in taking decisions that affect them.

The CBOs and CSOs were during the training taught to identify stakeholders and establish working groups as well as carry out design and implementation to involve more people in their communities to participate in decision making, while a session on budget tracking harped on the importance of budget tracking by stakeholders.

“Budget tracking must provide constant feedback of budget implementation, enhanced accountability, incorporate views and promote participation”, said the paper, pointing out that budget tracking promote development, makes evaluation easier, and provide guidelines for planning future projects.

The participants shared their various experiences of their application of previous trainings in their various communities, including being able to organize members of the communities to track budgets, revive and complete abandoned projects.

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