Kaduna State government on Thursday commended residents for monitoring the execution of development projects in their communities.
Mrs Jumai Bako, Director, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), Planning and Budget Commission (PBC), gave the commendation when she spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna.
She said the monitoring was helping government to curb corruption, ensure quality and timely delivery of projects and getting value for tax payers’ money
She listed citizens monitoring avenues to include the Citizens’ Projects Monitoring App, called the “Eyes and Ears’’, installed by government, letters and other social media handles of the Executive arm of government.
“There is also a toll-free call centre (Hausa and English) and a radio programme called Gani Ya Kori Ji (Seeing is Believing), aired every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for citizens to make a complaints or share their views,” she added.
Mrs Bako said that the citizens’ participation in project monitoring had gained momentum in recent times following the massive sensitisation campaign carried out by the PBC and other stakeholders.
She said that the M&E department currently receives complaints from citizens on daily basis, adding that a total of 70 complaints were received from April to date.
“The sensitisation campaign became necessary after we realised that most citizens are not aware of the App and other channels to monitor and report anomalies in the execution of projects in their communities.
“In early 2020, we produced fliers to create the needed awareness among citizens on all available channels to engage the government, particularly through the “Eyes and Ears’’, she said.
The director added that for a robust engagement of the “Eyes and Ears’’ efforts were on-going to expand the App’s dashboard to local government areas and to other agencies of the executive arm of government.
This would enable local government chairmen and heads of ministries, departments and agencies to monitor complaints real time and ensure timely response.
“Initially the coverage was the PBC, the office of the governor, that of the deputy governor, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly and the defunct Ministries of Works, and Community and Rural Development.
“We have expanded to four additional ministries, departments, and agencies and to six local government councils and currently in the process of expanding to the 17 remaining local government councils and 35 ministries, departments and agencies.
“In fact, we downloaded 25 complaints from the `Eyes and Ears’ in one week. This is unprecedented since the App was inaugurated in 2017,’’ she said.
Mrs Bako explained that complaints received were verified and genuine ones forwarded to Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i, who directs the responsible ministry, department or agency to act immediately.
On timely response, the director said that the App would be updated to provide feedback that a complaint had been received and was being processed.
“We also mounted Billboards across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state and aired radio jingles on five radio stations to sensitise the public.
“We held town hall meetings across the three Senatorial zones of the state and demonstrated practically how to download and use the App and other channels to engage government on projects execution,’’ she told NAN.
She added that the call centre was also being upgraded to provide a unique ticket number for citizens to track the status of their complaints and be notified when the issue is resolved.
She told NAN that complainants who sent in letters were usually contacted as soon as the complaints were addressed.