The Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) has faulted the refusal of Kogi State House of Assembly to conduct a public hearing on the proposed 2022 budget.
The Executive Director of CHRCR, Idris Miliki Abdul, during a one-day meeting with civil society organization (CSO) partners and media, said denying the citizens access to the budget is fraudulent.
“To deny the citizens of Kogi state the right to contribute to the 2022 budget is fraudulent. Despite promises and the call on the State House of Assembly, there was still no public hearing on the 2022 budget estimates.
“The proposed 2022 Kogi state budget estimates allocated more fund for recurrent expenditure, rather than capital expenditure which is needed for infrastructure development,” he said.
Miliki insisted that there is a clear difference between budget defense and public hearing, which is currently ongoing.
He also called on the Kogi State Independent Electoral Commission (KOSIEC) to release breakdown of results of the December 12, 2020 local government elections in the state for research and documentation purposes.
According to him, corruption has gone beyond embezzling public funds, adding that continuous failure to release the council election results even when the elected chairman has been inaugurated and they have been collecting salary should be condemned.
He noted that it is the duty of the government to be accountable to the people, stressing that the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility.
“One year after the purported kangaroo Local Government election was conducted in Kogi State, we are yet to have access to the election result. The chairman has been inaugurated, and they are collecting salaries from public funds. This is totally unacceptable and should be condemned in its entirety.
“Nigerians can access the result of the election that brought in our Governor in Kogi State. What is still keeping them from releasing the council result? This is corruption in the highest order. I am bold to say that this government is fraudulent because they failed to release the result of an election one year after it was conducted. I must admit here, this is a slap on our nation’s democracy,” he said.
He admonished Governor Yahaya Bello to mandate the State Electoral Commission to release the result without further delay.
Participants and the organizers appreciate the on-going partnership between Conscience for Human rights and Conflict resolution (CHRCR) and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and the continuous support of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The meeting was on prioritizing anti-corruption and accountability issues during the upcoming 2023 election at the state level in Lokoja on Thursday.
Miliki noted that there has been increase reportage and activities on anti-corruption, transparency and accountability in elections and governance by the CSOs and the media in the state.
He urged CSOs in the state to develop media policies to ensure effective advocacy.
The popular activist, however, charged journalists to engage politicians, particularly 2023 Governorship and House of Assembly aspirants on their anti-corruption agenda.