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NGO tracks N193bn spent on government projects in 2020



NGO tracks N193bn spent on government projects in 2020

By Angela Atabo

Connected Development (CODE), a non-governmental organization (NGO), said it tracked 193 billion naira spent on government projects across the country in 2020, to ensure accountability.

Mr Hamzat Lawal, CEO of CODE and Founder of Follow The Money, said this during the launch of the group’s annual report: Empowering Communities in the Event of a Pandemic in Abuja on Friday.

Lawal said CODE has also tracked around N96 billion of COVID-19 funds at state and federal levels in Nigeria, using its social responsibility tool “Follow The Money”.

“When CODE was launched in 2012, its sole purpose was to bridge the information gap between marginalized communities and their government, so that community members can access basic human needs that will improve their standard of living,” did he declare.

He said that for every project money followed, communities should have a good standard of living and enjoy the dividends of democracy.

“Each year at CODE, we take a moment to reflect on our work and review the lessons learned from our engagement with marginalized communities, our learning and our accomplishments.

“The year 2020 has been a pivotal year where we have seen the impact of our work tested in many ways.

“Since our inception in 2012, we have relied on our ability to challenge the status quo and hold government to account to foster social change in the communities where we work.

“Many of them have accelerated the timely intervention in health, water and sanitation, education, environment and structural development services in hundreds of low-income communities in Nigeria and in six other African countries, ”he said.

Lawal said that with increasing levels of poverty, inequality and desperation, orchestrated by the impact of the COVID pandemic, CODE’s work to address systemic corruption in government and the lack of transparency and accountability, had become increasingly crucial.

He said CODE has also advocated for updating national emergency procurement guidelines as well as prioritizing the country’s failing health infrastructure.

He added that the group was monitoring the distribution of COVID palliatives in 232 communities.

He said that achieving CODE’s mission to empower Africa, one community at a time, required courage, determination and resilience from activists who wanted to see an Africa free from injustices, inequalities. and greed; a continent where people can realize their full potential.

Lawal said during the COVID-19 lockdown, CODE developed a COVID-19 Campaign for Transparency and Accountability in Africa (CTAP) which gave CODE the opportunity to bring its knowledge to six other countries. Africans.

He said that following CODE’s intervention in Malawi, the President of Malawi sacked the Minister of Labor for misappropriating COVID-19 resources for personal gain.

He said that in Kenya, citizens were able to reject the government’s proposal to get more loans from the IMF and World Bank because the information they obtained on Follow the Money showed that all previous loans collected by the government could not be counted.

Lawal said that with the support of ActionAid, CODE was mobilizing young people, transferring knowledge and, most importantly, shaping key policies and decisions around gender sensitivity that the government did not have.

He noted that CODE had built the capacity of grassroots community activists and activists in six states and that governments were more responsive to issues affecting girls and women.

Lawal said most of the work was done with the support of donor-partners such as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, ActionAid Nigeria, Heinrich Bolch Stifund, OXFAM Nigeria, OXFAM NOVIB, Christian Aid, Ford Foundation and USAID E-WASH.

Ms Lucy James, Senior Program Officer, CODE said that CODE has worked to demand the domestication of the Prohibition of Violence Against Persons Act (VAPP) following the increase in sexual violence and sexist during the COVID-19 lockdown.

James said that CODE has also worked to promote gender inclusion in all spheres of society, especially in leadership and governance and that for the first time, the women of Obodo-Ugwa in the Delta participated in community development committee meetings.

“With an objective of building strong institutions, CODE has devoted its resources and efforts to rebuilding the weaknesses of Nigerian society, the year 2020 was no different.

“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, our determination for a more gender inclusive society, a higher level of accountability and transparency in governance and improving the state of education and health care does not has never wavered, “he said. (NAA)


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