By Tina George, Minna
Niger state citizens have expressed worry over the high level of insecurity and infrastructure decay across the state.
Stakeholders from the three senatorial zones stated their demands during a consultative meeting aimed at preparing the 2021 budget.
The meetings were held in Lapai for Zone A, Paikoro for Zone B and New Bussa for Zone C.
On security, the delegates from Zone A and B noted that no budget will work for them if there is no security.
They decried the nonchalant attitude of the state government towards the incessant killings of the people, especially in areas of Shiroro, Rafi and Munya.
They urged the state government to change its approach in fighting insecurity in the affected communities, stating that they now seemed to be dealing with terrorists and not bandits.
One of the speakers, the Co-convener of Concerned Shiroro Youths Forum, Sani Yusuf Kokki, highlighted food scarcity, economic crisis and housing deficit, among many of the impacts of insecurity in Niger State.
Also speaking on behalf of delegates from Rafi local government, Haruna Shuaib said that insecurity had crippled the economic activities in most parts of Rafi local government.
The people also appealed to government to make budgetary probisions for road construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation, education, health care, the opening up of rural communities and rural development.
They noted that the previous citizens’ engagement did not yield the desired results because their input was not finally considered and properly implemented.
The Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mamman Musa assured the stakeholders of an all-inclusive and realistic budget projection and estimates in the 2021 budget.
He stated that the budget consultation for 2021, is part of the open government adopted by the state government, adding that the 2020 budget was not fully utilized because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Musa stated that the citizens’ engagement was very insightful while appreciating the way the citizens analyzed the situation.
He added that it is the duty of the people to criticize what government was doing or not doing, explaining that government would ensure that their concerns were embedded in the 2021 budget.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) Program Officer in the state, Malam Sanusi Aliyu said the guiding principles of the open government partnership towards the 2021 budget preparation are accountability, transparency, to encourage citizens engagement, Service delivery and access to information.
He called on the people to support government programmes and projects as part of co-creation in getting involved, participating and owning the engagement.
The Niger state OGP Co-Chair, Mr Samuel Yisa appreciated the state planning Commission for implementing the OGP citizens engagement, saying it is the step in the right direction.
He charged the people to have ownership of government programs and policies by getting involved, adding that by doing so, the communities will have the opportunity of having their inputs heard and implemented.