CEHRD demands community inclusion in budgeting, project implementation

Environment and human rights group, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), has demanded the inclusion of community representatives in budgeting and implementation of projects by the government at various levels to ensure development at the grassroots.

This according to the non-governmental organisation (NGO) would ensure that projects at the community levels meet the desired needs and aspirations of the people, condemning the practice where governments dump projects which more often do not meet the needs of the people.

The group also called on the government to ensure that ecological funds are released directly to the communities for developmental projects.

The NGO made this call in Port Harcourt, during a programme to review a research titled “A Study on Community Priority needs, Governance and Development in the Niger Delta,” delivered by Dr Prince Eze.

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Dr Eze, a member of Home for Tomorrow Initiative, said findings from the report show that communities in the Niger Delta suffer neglect and set back in education, health care, electricity, security, environment, road network, among others.

The report stated that the people at the community are not usually consulted during conceptualization and implementation of projects, adding that most of the developmental projects do not reflect the yearning and aspirations of the people.

He said: “The research focuses on three states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers. It was primarily undertaken as part of the Independent Community Media Advocacy Project led by CEHRD and funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.

“The study identified development priority needs of the three states to include education, health care, electricity, job creation, security, good road network, water supply and agriculture and some practical steps that could be taken in providing these essential needs.

“As regards community inclusiveness and governance, stakeholders engagement held in those states revealed that, the people are not usually consulted after elections, most of the developmental projects do not also reflect their yearning and aspiration.

“Funding/projects should not be concentrated at the state capital, 10 per cent of state funds should be used for community development projects and programmes.”

Earlier, Michael Chidozie, Communication and Advocacy Officer of CEHRD, said the research project lasted for three years with the training of monitors in the different communities who gathered data on the happenings from the various communities.

He said the research disclosed that “most of the projects that have carried out in communities, there is no much engagement with the community in the government parastatal.

“There should be accurate representation. It is with this balanced ideas that the government can design development projects in communities.”

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