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Group declares Rivers budget missing, places N500,000 bounty

Group declares Rivers budget missing, places N500,000 bounty

- The Niger Delta Citizens Budget Network (NDCBN) insists the 2016 and 2017 appropriation acts of Rivers state are missing

- NDCBN wonders if the budgets are no longer public documents since they were passed by the state House of Assembly

- The group places N500,000 for anyone who helps to find them

An advocacy group, the Niger Delta Citizens Budget Network (NDCBN), has released a statement declaring the budget of Rivers state for two consecutive years as missing and placing a N500,000 reward for anyone who can help recover it.

The statement released very late on Tuesday, February 14 by Phillip Akah, NDCBN’s communication’s officer said the group is composed of a network of civil society organizations, individuals and experts working in the areas of good governance, open budget, transparency and accountability in states within the Niger Delta region, known for their rich oil mineral deposits, environmental challenges and the resultant community conflicts.

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“On this network, we carry out budget analysis and advocacy, project monitoring and evaluation; and build the capacity of communities in states within the Niger Delta region through town halls and round tables, to participate in the budgeting and policy formation processes. We have been doing the above for a decade now on an annual basis.

“Sadly, our work has been hampered since 2016 by the authoritarian refusal of the Rivers state government to allow anyone access to a copy of the River state budget/appropriation acts of 2016 and 2017.

“All entreaties from our members in an attempt to get a copy of both budget documents for two consecutive years have been rebuffed repeatedly in the most undemocratic manner. This is most unfortunate and totally unacceptable,” the group said.

Noting that the budget is supposed to be a public document, the group added: “As a citizens group, we frown at this terrible development and consider it a coup against the good citizens and people who reside in Rivers state.

“This is a blatant r*pe of our democracy and should not be allowed to continue. It is the sacred duty of all citizens to demand for accountability from all governments, officials and agencies that purport to serve them, and this they must do to advance the cause of democracy. It is a patriotic duty that is beyond partisan political considerations.

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“Consequently, we declare the 2016 and 2017 budget documents of Rivers state wanted and hereby place a bounty of five hundred thousand naira on them to go to anyone who makes both copies available to our secretariat at 6, Stadium Road, Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt.

“We call on all citizens and residents of Rivers state to join us in this historic hunt for these apparently missing Rivers state budget documents.” earlier reported the director-general of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, as saying that the people of Rivers state will vote Governor Nyesom Wike out of power in 2019.

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