CISLAC, Journalists advocate full implementation of AU instruments in Nigeria
By Shola Ojo, Kaduna
Worried by partial implementation of African Union (AU) recommended developmental instruments for African States, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) Friday partner practicing Journalists in Kaduna to see how they can create effective awareness on the need to fully implement the agreed-plans including budgetary allocations for health and agricultural sector to the letter.
Senior Programme Officer, CISLAC, Mr. Anya Okeke, while addressing the participants at 1-day media roundtable on the level of Nigeria’s compliance with AU standards, held at Access Hotel, Kaduna, regretted that many African countries including Nigeria, are not implementing their annual budget in such a way that it will help the generality of their citizenry.
According to him, African countries, in one of their summits, agreed to earmark 10% and 15% of their annual budgetary plan to take care of agricultural and health sector of their economy respectively, but unfortunately, many of them are yet to start the implementation.
For instance in 2014, he said Nigeria budgeted 1.8% for agriculture as against the agreed 10% as well as 6.4% for health respectively. In 2015, 1.8% was repeated for agriculture while that of health was slightly increased from 6.4% to 7.1%, a situation he described as economy setback for the country.
Okeke, who also lamented the huge amount of money Nigeria is spending on food importation on yearly basis, opined that if such amount of money is spent on farm input and farmers sensitization, the country export will increase geometrically as the country will be producing higher than national consumption.
He agreed that Nigeria is complying to some of the instruments in terms of improved election, respect for human rights, child and women rights act, media freedom and others, but much more still needed to done.
He said, “Sometime ago, members of AU agreed on some issues and instruments to realise them including budget. But along the line, we discovered that the instruments have not been working as expected.
“We are collaborating with the media to see how we can collectively ask people in government relevant questions in such a way that it will help Nigerian states to provide the necessary good governance and improve welfare of their people.
“There is also a need to aggressively sensitise citizens to know that they have role to play as tax payers, to hold government accountable.
“$360million on food importation per annum. To me, if such amount is put into agriculture, it will do the country a lot of good,” he added.
Earlier, Assistant Project director, CISLAC, Austin Erameh, said the agenda for a North-west media roundtable, was due to pivotal role of the media in orchestrating awareness as regarding the need to ask their representatives questions that will ginger them to conceive and implement people oriented projects.
He frowned at attitude of government’s ministries, departments and agencies, as some of the document after public presentation ended up in their shelves without implementation.
He however suggested that all hands be on deck to ensure good governance.
A participant, Sola Ojo, urged the organizers, CISLAC and its supporter, State of the Union, to take the campaign to lawmakers to enact laws that will keep the executives on their toes as well as Editors of National Dailies so they can publish more news stories on developmental projects and entrepreneurial.
Posted from GoBroadsheet