Story by Etta Michael Bisong
As part of efforts to address the public outcry raised against the poor management of the 2012 Flood Relief & Rehabilitation Fund, Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have advocated for the establishment of proper accounting mechanism to ensure transparency when carrying out projects of such magnitude in Nigeria.
The absence of such framework according to the stakeholders who made the call at a joint meeting between the Auditor-General and group of civil society organisations held in Abuja, is largely responsible for most of the outburst that erupted public attention.
Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Samuel Ukura, while remarking at event, sighted the issue of autonomy and lack of adequate access to other material resources as some of the challenges bedevilling the provision of accurate information on the management of disasters fund across the country.
Ukura, who was represented by the Deputy Director of Audit, Mr. Gandu Magaji, said for this to be tackled: “We need a new Act that can reflect new dimensions of carrying out audit.”
He hinted that an Act has been submitted to the National Assembly for public hearing and has passed through first and second reading, “We are just hoping that when the Act is passed to law, we can then operate much more freely and independently than the way we are as of today.”
The Auditor-General told the participants that his office has inaugurated an internal committee to audit and provide information of how the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief & Rehabilitation managed the fund it received to mitigate the impact of the 2012 disaster.
Chief Executive Officer of Connected Development (CODE), Hamzat Lawal, who also remarked at the occasion, lamented at the manner through which the exercise was haphazardly implemented.
Giving account of observations gathered during various advocacy visits to affected communities, Lawal revealed that some of the victims got as low as two hundred (N200) as compensation for their damaged properties.
“Why are we giving them money?” he asked. “We are supposed to protect them from future occurrence.”
He stated that away from money the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief & Rehabilitation received from the Federal Government, other local and international donors made financial contributions which should also be investigated.
He urged the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation to collaborate and work with other stakeholders involve in this exercise to successfully carry out this herculean assignment, as well as ensure an effective framework to manage disasters across the nation.