The Guild of Civil Societies and Media Executives for Good Governance in Nigeria (GOCMEJ), a foremost anti-corruption, pro-democracy and good governance organization with over 550 civil society groups, human rights activists, bloggers and media executives under It’s umbrella across the country, is encouraged and hereby applauds the enormous efforts put in place by the able leadership of Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as part of its efforts to strengthen and end insecurity and the attendant consequences in the citizenry vis-à-vis the economy.
The NSCDC is in collaboration and partnership with civil society organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) across the country in the delivery of their mandate of making government accountable to the people; freedom of expression; freedom of information; enshrining good governance practice in our everyday life and transparency of government activities in its day-to-day affairs and functions as it relates to financial and prudent management of resources in all functions of government and the private sector accordingly.
This was contained in a statement by the Country Representative/President of the Guild, Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele in Lagos recently, where the organization emphasized the enormous contributions of the NSCDC leadership in support of germane challenges facing civil society organizations in terms of support for staff to enhance their capacities, build capacity development and training of civil society groups and non-governmental organizations across the country; support for monitoring of elections during the election periods; the mobilization and assistance of logistics/vehicles for NGOs and CSOs for project monitoring and the development of a blueprint to support and implement a civil society assistance base scheme for development in all ramifications.
The organization noted with nostalgia that this was indeed the first time such an initiative/innovation gesture was carried out by any security organization in Nigeria; and added that the NSCDC has given priority, knowing full well the nature of the operations of the NGOs as well as the enormous challenges the sector faces on daily basis to cater for its numerous activities that include agenda setting, monitoring, evaluation and gate-keeping, making government accountable and report back to its various constituents and the publics.
The Guild further observed that both the civil society organizations (CSOs) and NGOs have become the “eyes and ears,” as well as the “conscience of the nation.” As such, the government should look at ways and means to support the enormous functions carried out by the civil society organizations and see what areas it can partner and support its activities for effective and efficient mechanism to make governmental accountable to the various publics, including the private sector.
According to the Country Representative, “It has become imperative as the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent global recession have greatly affected the operations of most CSOs/NGOs as they are no longer able to cater for the humanitarian jobs carried out on daily basis to the various communities.” He therefore appealed to government and good spirited organizations to come to the aid of NGOs in partnering and collaborating with this sector on a long term strategic initiative to strengthen and empower the personal sacrifices and humanitarian jobs being carried out by these organization to make organizations transparent, accountable and assist human security.
The press release also called on other organizations to look within and to always adhere strictly to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act whenever civil societies write to them. They should also use these provisions when replying the CSOs and NGOs within the stipulated time limit, “as organizations with transparent and accountable systems have nothing to be scared of.”
The Guild observed that it has become a norm for various governmental organizations to refuse releasing information on the pertinent questions asked by these civil societies, an act which it observed, is not good for the growth of the nation, democracy and the economy. “It will be said also recently that the CSOs across Nigeria have witnessed a large chunk of financial sleece been perpetrated by various government agencies on white elephant projects while the present administration has less than one month to leave office.
In view of this, the Guild calls on all government organizations to stop forth-with the “cashing-out” approvals and withdrawals. It also urges the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, the anti-graft agencies and security agencies to stop these antics and bring to book these phantom projects, bogus approvals for financials within the public space in this short period to scrutiny.
GOCMEJ also sounds a note of caution, that even if the government of the days leaves, we will assiduously work with the in-coming administration to verify the authenticity of these various projects approved; follow the funds and know what the funds are used for and to make sure that such funds are not expended into private pockets as has almost become the tradition.
The Guild is encouraged to commend the public procurement and contract approvals, accountability in procurement process and the high esprit-de-corps of the NSCDC officers and men, as the morale of the officers has never been this high in the past and also applauds the transformation, vision and forthrightness of the leadership in changing the narrative in making the corps the cynosure of all eyes through discipline, promotion of officers when due and capacity building of officers and men, including building strategic alliances with various ivory towers across Nigeria, to upgrade the service institution to meet with what is attainable globally and build robust sister inter-agency collaborations.
Similarly, the Guild is encouraged by the activation of the Public Procurement Act 2007, being strictly followed and adhered to by the NSCDC’s management. It is also in view of this that GOCMEJ unflinchingly supports the present purchase of equipment in combat readiness, the transparent and due diligence carried out in the service operations; enhanced staff welfare; promotions of personnel to enhance service delivery; the productivity and loyalty of officers to the nation at all times.
The Guild gives kudos to the present hierarchy of NSCDC, for repositioning of the security outfit. The Guild also praises the security outfit’s efforts in conflict management and dispute resolution put in place, including the establishment of the Special Female Squad (SFS) and the entrenchment of “see something, say something” syndrome by the rank and file and the prudent management of scarce resources available to the Corps.
GOCMEJ therefore has no hesitation in passing a vote of confidence on the Dr Audi-led management and calls on the international community and well-meaning Nigerians in particular to continuously support this proactive leadership to enable it further its commitment and efforts to the general good of the nation.