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Civil rights groups back BEITI Bill

By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—Civil society organisations in Bayelsa State and international donor agencies have thrown their weight behind the proposed Bayelsa State Expenditure and Income Transparency Initiative, BEITI, Bill saying it would help restore the confidence of the citizens and other stakeholders in the government’s commitment to the growth and development of the state.

Speaking at a two day workshop on advocacy/sensitization of stakeholders on the bill in Yenagoa, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, Country Office Programme Associate in Nigeria, Ukamaka Osigwe, said the body would work with the state government, BEITI secretariat, Bayelsa Non-Governmental Organisation Forum, BANGOF, and the judiciary on the BEITI Action programme.

In offering technical support to BEITI, which is proposed to open up the books of the state to the highest level of scrutiny and situate Bayelsa as Nigeria’s most transparent state government, he said close partnership had been created with the coalition of non-governmental organsations in the state under the auspices of BANGOF in the area of sensitization of the citizens on the content of the bill and the objectives of the initiative.

This, according to him, was in recognition of the strategic role non governmental and civil society organiations could play in the area of advocacy and sensitization of the general public.

He noted with sadness that as a result of the peculiar terrain of the state and decades of neglect by the Federal and State Governments, “there is lack of the necessary preconditions and infrastructure to facilitate economic development and diversification.”


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