By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
Media Content Development Expert, Mallam Isiyaku Ahmed, has called on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the Media to promote Citizens’ engagement in budgeting processes and ensure effective budget monitoring to achieve inclusive growth for states.
Ahmed made the call at a two-day training workshop on “Tracking Constituency Projects” Get Involved Dialogue And Improve Project (GDRIP) on Thursday in Lokoja.
Ahmed who is also the Chief Executive Officer/Editor-in-Chief, Stallion Times Media Services Ltd, urged them to make room for constituency projects monitoring and tracking the progress of such projects to ensure maintenance of standards.
He further enjoined CSOs and Media to ensure projects are assigned to appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with the requisite mandate and capacity of overseeing them.
“The incapability of many MDAs to effectively supervise project implementation has led to poor execution of many projects, thereby wasting taxpayers funds”, he said.
Ahmed urged the CSOs and Media to advocate for Standardised Platforms for Procurement especially, the establishment of E-procurement platforms to help government trim costs, check price inflation and set price guide for contracts.
Speaking in same vein on Budget Processes and Procedures, Mr Henry Omokhaye of BudgIT and one of the resource persons said proper monitoring and tracking of Constituency Projects would help enhance good governance.
He said that laudable as the concept of constituency projects was, the implementation had often made nonsense of the good intensions behind it, making the objective unrealisable and depriving the constituents.
According to Omokhaye, the process of constituency project is often characterised by anomalies such as duplication of projects in annual budgets, shoddy execution of jobs
and in many cases, outright non-implementation.
He said because of the abnormalities in the implementation of constituency projects, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) came up with a programme called Constituency Project Tracking Group ( CPTG) in 2019, to change the narrative.
Omokhaye disclosed that CPTG recovered N 2billion representing money recovered from projects not executed and money collected.
The workshop, according to the organisers aimed to build capacity of media and CSOs on budget processes and procedures and as well, train journalists and CSO advocates on how to track and monitor constituency projects.
It was also aimed at improving Journalists’ capacity in writing investigative stories on constituency projects.
The workshop took the media professionals CSO members through Budget Processes and Procedures, use of Media for Effective Advocacy, Budget Impact Analysis, Tracking Constituency Projects, Network and Coalition Building and Characteristics of Effective Coalition.
The workshop was organised by Stallion Times Media Services limited in collaboration with the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism and supported by MacArthur Foundation.
NGE President charges Gov. Ododo to consolidate on Bello’s legacies
***says Kogi is working in terms of infrastructure, Health
By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr Eze Anaba has charged Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo of Kogi State to consolidate and improve on the level of infrastructural development attained under the last administration of governor Yahaya Bello.
Anaba made the call on Saturday in Okene while on tour of on-going projects by the present administration of Governor Ododo and the Legacy Projects of the immediate past administration of former Governor Yahaya Bello in the state.
Anaba noted that the immediate past administration left a legacy worthy of emulation adding that the good work of former Governor Bello should be sustained by the present administration.
“Government is a continuum. And I would advise the current governor, to follow the footsteps of his predecessor.
“It’s only in that way that the citizenry will benefit. Kogi State will continue to grow and people will reckon that democracy has taken root in Kogi State and the people are benefiting.
“At the end of the day, governance is about the people. So, from what I’ve seen, from what my colleagues saw, I think Kogi is working in terms of infrastructure and in terms of medical care that I saw.
Speaking on the Reference Hospital, Okene, Anaba said, “From a layman’s perspective, I’m not a doctor, but from what the doctors have told me and from what I saw, it’s been hugely impressive.
“The MRI machine, the other laboratory equipments, very, very impressive. And I have to commend the Kogi State government for making this available. And I also suggest that people should put this to test.
“And if these things work, they will save Nigeria a huge sum of money. Recently, the CBN governor told the whole world that medical tourism alone is costing this country fortunes.
“So, if people test and try this, I’m sure it will save this country a lot of money and put our economy in good stead. You also know that healthy citizens make a great country. And I’m sure that if these things continue, with what we have seen here, Nigerians will be happier for it”, he said.
On his general assessment of the legacy and on-going projects, the NGE President said, “I think Kogi is working in terms of infrastructure
“Democracy is about the people and the facilities we have seen, the road construction we saw and the traffic time they have saved people of Kogi State and Nigeria in general…
“That alone will help the country boost our economy and help the citizens. People waste and lose lives in traffic. If the road network is strong like we saw, I am sure Nigeria will be better for it.
“I am highly commending the state government for what me and my team have seen so far* he said. (Ends)
Ribadu, Akume, Wike to grace National Security Summit in Abuja Next Thursday
The National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume and the minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nyesom Wike are expected to grace a national Security Conference in Abuja next Thursday.
The event which is being organized by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in partnership with the New National Star Newspaper with the Theme National Security and Development, will have as the Guest Speaker, former Inspector-General of Police and current Chairman of Police Service Commission (PSC)
Dr. Solomon Arase
He will speak on “Citizen Engagement in the fight against crime and criminalities in Nigeria.
Speaking at a press briefing on Monday at the NUJ national headquarters in Abuja, the Managing Director Editor-in-Chief New National Star Newspapers, Obinna Nwachukwu said the conference is designed to address the growing insecurity in Nigeria.
“As you are aware, in more than a decade now, Security has become a major issue in Nigeria. No where is safe. Even Abuja and the FCT the nation’s capital is not safe like before.
“But one thing is clear, although insecurity is everywhere in the country, still, each region/zone has its own peculiar security issues.
“In the South-South it is crude oil theft, oil bunkering and sea pirates. In the South East is the menace of the now infamous “ unknown gun men”.
“In the North East is Boko Haram /terrorism, North West is illegal oil mining while North Central is Farmers/Herders crisis etc
“However, in all these zones, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder are common experiences .”
According to him, the conference is designed to bring all key stakeholders together to address the issues with a view to finding a lasting, workable solutions.
“It is part of our contributions to societal growth and development. It shall bring together, security stakeholders, professionals, political leaders, Civil society Organizations, journalists, community and religious leaders, citizens and residents in the country, with the aim of reaching out to each other to collectively addressing the growing insecurity in the country .
He said, Senator George Akume, has accepted to chair the conference while Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is the Special Guest of Honour
He listed Sub themes and Speakers to include finding Lasting solution to security Challenges in Nigeria the Role of Political, Religious and Community Leaders by H.E Ambassador Godknows .O. Igali, PhD, OON, Pro-Chancellor & Chairman Governing Council, FUTA
“Intelligence gathering and Information sharing as critical aspects of National Security by Chief Ray Nkemdirim, MFR, Former Director (Operations) DSS
“Combating Cyber security and Internet Fraud in Nigeria by Hon. Shade Adepeju Joseph, Cyber Security Consultant
“The role of the Media in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria by Dr. Iyobosa Uwujaren, General-Secretary, Nigerian Guild of Editors and Combating Crude oil theft in the Niger Delta: The Tantita experience by a representative of the company.
According to him, the conference will foster connection among citizens and critical stakeholders, security administrators and leaders.
“Through knowledge sharing and collaboration, ideas leading to strategic resolutions will be developed, with agreed mechanisms for implementation, towards safeguarding our environment and restoring security and safety in the nation. “By coming together, we will share insights on how we, as individuals, community and organizations should respond to incidents and the role and responsibilities we have to secure our communities.
The conference which take place at NAF conference center, Abuja by 9am Thursday next week is expected to have in attendance Heads of all security agencies, the National Security Adviser and other critical security stakeholders, heads of paramilitary agencies, representatives of local community policing groups, Area Council Chairmen in FCT, community leaders, heads of academic institutions, residential estate representatives, heads of identified professional groups and other strategic persons.
NUJ National President, Chris Isiguzor said the issue of security is everybody’s business so everybody must have to be involved in one way or the other. “When you talk about the media having responsibility the responsibility of informing, it imply means we must pass the right information. It is also our duty to educate, we must properly educate our people and when the tension is so high it is also our responsibility to also entertain to douse the tension.
“So you can see from any flank you are looking at it the media is a strategic stakeholder in building a clime that is safe, environment friendly for everybody to dwell in and for business to thrive.
“That is why we are not just sitting idle watching and do nothing. This time around the media, we are rising to the ocasion to at least congregate Nigerians.
“Let us come together to discuss this very important issue that is facing all of us, the issue of security and by the time we are done, whatever resolution, whatever is the communique that will come up from this we will also pass same to government whose responsibility it is to ensure that there is safety, there is peace, there is tranquility.”
Stallion Times tasks journalists on Human Rights Advocacy, GVB Reportage
By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
Stallion Times Media group on Saturday urged practising Journalists in Kogi state to go beyond Sensitization to Human Rights Advocacy, Inclusivity in Governance and Gender Based Violence (GVB) Reportage.
Isiyaku Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Stallion Times Media made the call in Lokoja at a “One-day Media Training on Human Rights and Social Inclusion” for 30 practising journalists in Kogi State under the aegis of its Get Involved, Dialogue and Improve Project (GDRIP).
The training was organized by Stallion Times in the CMedia Project (Collaborating for media Independence and Government Accountability) with support from the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism, funded by the MacArthur Foundation.
Isiyaku said that the objectives of the training include appreciation of conditions for Gender Equity and Social Inclusion in society and Development; Advocacy for Human Rights and Social Inclusion Through News Coverage and Promotion Of Human Rights and Social Inclusion in Kogi State.
He observed that journalists had published enough Sensitization reports on issues of human rights, gender inequality as well as Inclusivity in Governance and should now embark on advocacy and dialogue to enhance participatory governance.
The CEO called for in-depth investigative Reportage on neglected, underprivileged and abandoned communities without government presence and draw the attention of duty bearers to such communities without roads, electricity, water and schools.
Isiyaku revealed plans by Stallion Times under the GDRIP, to evolve a Dialogue Mechanism involving traditional rulers, Community Leaders, Civil Society Organizations, Government Officials and the Media to address issues of development in such communities.
In his presentation on “Gender Equity in Nigeria, Issues, Challenges and Prospects”, Dr Theophilus Abbah, veteran journalist and Programme Director, Daily Trust Foundation said the training was to build capacities of journalists to promote gender parity and report unreported stories of Gender Based Violence.
Abbah said that as long as an issue remains unreported by the Media, it would remain unattended by relevant authorities adding that journalists should continue to awaken the consciousness of the society to mainstreaming gender.
He drew the attention of the pen pushers to the National Gender Policy and its objectives which include gender parity at all levels (sectional and national) with impact on issues of female representation and participation in governance.
Abbah, an award-winning investigative journalist said that Article 2 and 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights state clearly that in all facets of life, the male and female gender are equal and encouraged journalists to report factors militating against gender parity in Political, Social, Cultural and Religious spheres.
In his goodwill message at the workshop, Ismail Isah, Special Adviser on Media to Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo solicited co-operation of the Journalists and urged the Media to help set agenda for the state.
Isah said that Governor Ododo’s administration in the state would create a formidable rapport with the Media and all practising journalists in the state and called for reports that would unite and move the state forward rather than promoting centrifugal opinions.
Mrs Stella Edoka, Kogi Chairperson of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) in her as good will message, urged Media outfits to reinvigorate their gender desks by churning out more gender stories that engender Inclusivity and participation especially of the womenfolk. (Ends)
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