Connected Development (CODE) Organizes Town Hall Meeting, Sensitization Training For Women,Youths, Community Leaders in Borno

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri

A Civil Society Organization, (CSOs), the Connected Development (CODE), a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) with the support of Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA) has organized a town hall critical Public Agenda meeting for women, youths and community leaders as well as PTA, NUT, School Based Management Committee, SBMCs and Community Based Organizations, CBOs and stakeholders among others on sensitization training and discussions on Tracking government budgetary Spending at the Grassroots/Communities across Borno state as part of active citizenship social responsibility, transparency and accountability to the people.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CODE, Alhaji Hamza Lawal said in a statement that the mission of the organization is to improve access to information and empower local communities in Africa by tracking down governments and international aid spendings in rural communities to ensure and promote transparent, responsible and accountable system of projects and programmes execution and implementation respectively at the grassroots level through, "Follow the Money" Programme initiated by the organization.

He added that since 2012, CODE had tracked an estimate of 1 million USD across 100 communities from over 25 states of Nigeria as part of social mobilization plans towards addressing sustainability of public capital projects and programmes in communities.

Lawali maintained that the meeting will further sensitize the participants on the need for checks and balances, monitoring of budget proposals, allocations and implementation by active and commited citizens for the purpose of good governance and service delivery to the people by way of holding governments responsible and accountable at all levels of government.

The meeting and training was held Thursday at House of Prawn Restaurant Banquet Hall Maiduguri where over sixty (60) participants drawn from five ( 5) LGAs of Borno state, namely, Bama, Gwoza, Jere ,Konduga and Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC) converged.

The National Community Engagement Officer, Busayo Moraki Ayo, said the initiative for now will focus on the basic health care, water supply, Education and environmental sanitation services which are vital societal development.

He added that in order to achieve their targets or goals, communities were urged come on board to engage governments on the basic needs of the people with a view to address their teething problems in the society and ensure sustainability of government projects and programmes in communities and at the Grassroots.

Muazu Abubakar Sadiq, the Borno State Lead, CODE urged the participants to step down the initiative to the grassroots people at their various communities, saying, "We have tracked 333 million naira project in almost hundred communities across 25 states."

" To be precise, Here in Maiduguri, we tracked a constituency school project in Mairi, , another school facility in Miringa biu local government area, a heath facility in Makera Keltimari community also in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council."' Muazu said.

The CODE's Project Officer, Zaliha Lawal, explained to the participants the key issues on how to track and follow government's projects in the communities and the steps to follow.

Alhaji Lawan Mala Abande, the Lawan of Meri (District Head of Meri) Ward in Jere LGA of Borno state said, the initiative has helped them and influenced the construction of a primary school building which is now ongoing.

He also thanked the initiators of the programme saying in Hausa language, 'Duk Wanda Ya bawa danka illimi ai ya baka komai ', meaning, anybody that gives your child knowledge or education, he or she has given you everything.

While the Representative of Makera Keltimari Community, Alhaji Mohammad Bukar said, his community and people have seen the construction of a mosque and hospital in their area as a result of the CODE Tracking government spending in Nigerian Grassroots communities ," Follow The Money Initiative'' .