Port Harcourt — A civil society group known as Connected Development, CODE, has charged members of oil and gas host communities in the Niger Delta region to track, monitor and evaluate projects linking to the Petroleum Industry Act in their communities.
Chief Executive Officer of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, said the PIA’s Host Community Development Trust if diligently implemented will help facilitate economic development of oil-bearing communities, as well as attract investment opportunities.
Lawal spoke at a Workshop on Citizens-led Campaign on Social accountability and Implementation of the PIA’s Host Community Development Trust Fund in Port Harcourt, organized by the CODE with support from OXFAM.
He urged community members to use the FollowtheMoney model to track capital funds, make advocacy and engage government organizations to ensure sustainability.
“Most of these host communities have had decades of marginalization, despite the fact most of the resources used in driving the national economy is from them , they do not enjoy social infrastructure which is the least they should enjoy as citizens.
“So the PIA is supposed to change the narrative through the host community trust, but this is not happening.
“So we are training community people on how to track capital funds, advocacy and engage government organizations to ensure sustainability using the Follow the Money methodology to achieve result.”
Lawal represented by the Programme Manager, CODE, Ms. Zaliha Lawal, said the participating communities were selected from clusters and would be trained retrain other members of their communities.
“Our mission in Connected Development is to empower marginalized communities by providing them with information. When people are empowered with information, they will know that it’s their responsibility to track, monitor and evaluate government policies, programmes and projects. As well as hold the government accountable.”
Also, the State Support Officer, CODE, Mr. Charles Uffort, urged the host communities to act fast, lamenting that it was improper for oil and gas communities to lack basic amenities.
“We are building citizens capacity for social accountability so they can be able to track down abandoned projects most especially linking to the PIA in their communities and how to go about the Host community development trust, the 3percent that the Act had given to host communities and how to utilize it. And also for them to be involved in government projects being carried on in their community.”
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