In a bid to ensure transparency and accountability around government funds, donations and interventions towards combating COVID-19 in Enugu state, a non-governmental organisation, Connected Development (CODE) in partnership with OXFAM Nigeria has carried out a two-day advocacy visit to relevant MDAs in the state.
The non-governmental organization, led by Dr Onyekachi Onuoha of CODE, had explained that the purpose of the visit was to strengthen inter-agency /ministry collaborations among the major MDAs at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 in the state.
Onuoha said the advocacy visit was also aimed at seeking collaboration with the government towards improving access to information from the government to the people on COVID-19 expenditure and revenue, and the various governments’ projects and programs on COVID-19 which according to him will help to rebuild trust between the government and the people.
The organisation visited Ministries of Finance, Health, Budget and Planning, Information; and offices of the Accountant General and Auditor General of the state.
Responding, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Ikechukwu Obi, commended the organisation but requested the team to write to his ministry with specific demands to enable him to mandate the relevant officers and agencies to provide the information needed.
Obi pointed out the lack of information and data on the exact number of vaccines due for the state from the federal government, even as he promised the group access to COVID-19 facilities in the state if they do the needful.
At the Ministry of Information, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Chris MBA, said they were doing everything possible to educate the people on government programmes and policies.
“In Enugu State, we do citizen programmes. A lot of people don’t believe in it because people believe that the government is not being open about COVID-19. We have a website that dishes out information to the people of the state.”
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr Benedict Ezema who received the group on behalf of the ministry pledged to do a report on their visit to the Commissioner whom, he said was not around.