From: Samuel Bello, Abuja
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has urged Nigerians to take advantage of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to track budget implementation at local government, state and federal levels.
It also reasoned that with the FOI Act, they could obtain factual information on government budgets and, with that, track their implementation and raise objections when budgetary provisions were misappropriated, assuring them of government’s full protection.
Director General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari, who gave the charge while flagging off the Agency’s nationwide Local Government Assembly at the Palace of the Esu Karu in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, also urged Nigerians to join the anti-corruption fight of the present administration and patronize local goods to salvage the nation’s economy.
Abari identified the need for citizens to establish the link between the causes of corruption and its effects, particularly the lack of development in the society, as evident in the absence of basic and essential amenities.
Noting that corruption adversely affects everyone, the NOA boss therefore urged every Nigerian with credible information about corrupt individuals and situations to “come forward without delay and blow the whistle with full assurance of government’s protection”.
In his remarks, the Esu of Karu, Mr. Luka Baba Manya, harped on the need for Nigerians to return to the universal traditional values for which Nigerian communities were known, including integrity in service, respect for constituted of authority, dignity of labour and good neighborliness.
During the interactive sessions, participants stressed the urgent need to end the growing menace of herdsmen attacks of farms and farmers in the interest of food and human security.
They also called on traditional, religious and academic institutions to exercise greater caution in the award of titles to avoid promoting corrupt persons and, by extension, corruption.
The programme was designed to sensitise citizens in the rural areas on government activities, policies and programmes and to elicit citizens’ buy-in for such initiatives, specifically in the two key areas of security awareness and the fight against corruption.