A Non Governmental Organisation, Accountability Lab Nigeria has identified diversion of public funds as well as lack of political will by elected representatives as the factors causing underdevelopment in some communities in Akwa Ibom State.
The Program and Learning Manager of Accountability Lab Nigeria, Ehi Gracr stated this on Saturday during a Town Hall meeting with some stakeholders in the state.
Ehi while decrying the reported cases of impunity within the system said the group is working towards building accountability and improving on the decision-making processes through citizen engagement and inclusion.
She regretted that majority of community members are aware of their powers in holding elected representatives accountable through effective citizens participation but have failed to do so.
She also called for the establishment of a social contract policy between government stakeholders and the community as such would impact on the community positively.
The statement in parts, “We want to ensure communities in the Niger Delta have an improved understanding of their rights and are better equipped to advocate for improved policies in Public and Private decision making spaces, hence, critical data were collected from communities on their challenges.
“We discovered that public funds diverted for personal use and lack of political will by government stakeholders and elected representatives are major reasons for the slow-paced development in sampled communities of Akwa Ibom
“Our goal is to end impunity within government by building accountability and improve decision-making processes through citizen engagement and inclusion.”
She also said community members have lamented that government representatives are not living up to their responsibility of governance as some of them do not often visit them in the community to understand their needs and challenges.