#DAY1000 OF CHIBOK GIRLS ABDUCTION: GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION DAY 4: ACCOUNTABILITY AND GOVERNANCE
Today marks Day Four of our Global Week Of Action to commemorate the 1000th Day of the abduction of our Chibok Girls.
The abduction of the Chibok girls was as a result of governance failure in that those who should have speedily put all resources necessary for their rescue chose to act indifferently and focused on other issues when it mattered most and it is now evident that a substantial part of the funds dedicated to the fight against terror ended up in private pockets.
The UN Economic Commission states that “Good Governance has 8 major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus-oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the view of minorities is taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society”. Building lasting institutions, structures, systems and processes are prerequisite to the evolution of Good Governance.
As Mr. President stated in his inaugural speech, ‘As far as the constitution allows me I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of Government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch’. We remind you of this social contract with the Nigerian people. Nigerians are not yet fully convinced that a minimum standard of accountable governance has been achieved as seen in a number of occasions that we would like to once again bring to your attention.
With various reports from the war-front, there is enough evidence to show that the welfare of our troops who sacrifice all in the fight against Boko Haram has not been well managed. It is important for the Government to ensure that the troops are well motivated and properly kitted for the task at hand in line with established practices and norms.
There have been several malpractises in the management of resources dedicated to the Internally Displaced Persons in our country. The bottom line is that children in camps are malnourished and there have been reported cases of women offering their bodies for food. The allegations of mismanagement of these resources have been traced to high levels in Government. It is important that the President rises above this occasion and acts on behalf of the weakest in our country to ensure that anyone found guilty of these malpractices are swiftly dealt with and most importantly that women and children who have suffered untold hardship in the hands of Boko Haram receives the needed timely rehabilitation and support from Government
The biggest blow that the Government can deal to Boko Haram is to ensure that vulnerable and every-day Nigerians begin to feel the impact of Good Governance in their domains and not as a result of their closeness to Aso-rock or their state capitals and that their voices are heard in decision making.
Mr. President, those who have lost their livelihood, their homes and their loved ones to the war on terror demand a greater sense of urgency in the support from Government to restore their dignity and assist them towards a path of prosperity. This is the hope that has been placed in this administration and echoed in your words that you belong to every Nigerian.
While it is important for Nigeria as a nation to recover the loot from past Government officials and their cronies, it is equally important to note that the public has expectations that cases of corruption will be thoroughly investigated and speedily prosecuted and concluded and that the guilty will in reality be jailed. Accountability would therefore instruct all the law enforcement bodies, the Bar and the Bench to fully align with public agitation, demand and expectation. Already, the public has begun to cast suspicious glances at the enforcement and sanctions groups for the worrying signals that “they have often dropped the ball as the weakest link” even when there is strong political commitment to punish bad behaviour in the country. The Judiciary in particular must thus rise to the expectation of citizens to see crime properly sanctioned consistently and compliant with due process. To do so, is to be accountable to the citizens and in a Democracy, all arms of government – executive, legislature and judiciary are subject to the Nigerian people. The principle of accountability confers the #OfficeOfTheCitizen the highest status in a Democracy.
We therefore today call on the Federal Government through the offices of the AGF and the EFCC to provide a regular briefing on the status of the corruption cases related to the grand pillaging ofwar, military, and economic resources.
Furthermore, we call on the Federal Government to raise the bar in accountability and Governance. We have seen that it is too easy for top Government officials to cart away millions of dollars. The time is ripe to set-up transparency and accountability mechanisms across all levels of Government to prevent outright stealing, collusion amongst public officials and misappropriation of resources.
We once again stand in the gap for the 195 Chibok girls still unaccounted for and once again remind Mr. President of his words that we cannot have said to have won the war against terror without the rescue of the Chibok girls. The physical and emotional state of the released 21 girls necessitates a sense of urgency to ensure that the rest of the girls are rescued and accounted for.
For, and on behalf of, #BringBackOurGirls