Rights Activist decries non inclusion of citizens in budgetary process



The Executive Director, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR), Lokoja in Kogi State, Idris Miliki Abdul, has described as worrisome the non exclusion of citizens in the budgetary process in the state.

He said this is despite the various efforts by citizens of Kogi state to be part of the budgetary process, but however regretted that the executive has yet prepared, and submitted another budget of N176 billion without input of the citizens beyond the civil servants and political appointee.

Miliki noted that budget as most important instrument for development that shapes the direction and activities of government, is a document that should not have been prepared alone and implemented by the government without the necessary input from the citizens.

The statement which reads in part said, “We frown at the budgetary process in Kogi State that has remained a cut and paste process, without priority areas such as Industrialization of the State, Employment Generation, Housing, Health, and Agriculture.

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“The sad issue is that there is no correlation between the beautiful New Direction Agenda targets document and the Budgets so far.
It is ridiculous for a budget that would kick start a new administration in January 2020, could not tell the citizens the number of Houses to be built in the next one year, despite the fact that the biggest Cement factory is located in the state.

“It could not tell the people the number of jobs to be created in the state in the next one year. More worrisome and condemnable is the lack of provision or even mention of the conduct of elections into the Local government Councils more than 4 years after.

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“Does it mean that the citizens would remain hopeless in respect to the establishment of democracy at the local government level? Yet this government has claimed to have spent over N13 billion in 2019 in the Government House, which is not a revenue generating entity, is yet proposing to spend a monumental N25 billion in 2020.

“What is the justification of these humungous expenses for a government that has not commissioned a single bedroom in terms of Housing and has failed to conduct Local Government elections?

“What is the rationale and justification for the continued violation of Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution as amended? In respect of conduct of Local Government Council elections.

“It is worrisome and condemnable the level of frivolous and unjustifiable expenses estimates that has been repeated in the 2020 budget estimates as presented to the Kogi State House of Assembly on the 4th December 2019.

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“We therefore call on the Kogi State House of Assembly to organize a Public Hearing on this unjustifiable Budget proposal. We call on them to read this budget proposal in details and make further arrangements and re arrangements and approve areas that can develop the state and make provision for the conduct of Local government elections as all institutions put in place by law must respect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“As we await the inauguration of a new government on January 27th 2020, we call on the citizens of Kogi State, in and out of the country, not to abandon the state but continue to engage the state institutions of governance as we have no other state than this.

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