By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja
A Civil Society Organisation, Initiative for Grassroots Advancement (INGRA) has called in Kogi State Government to as a matter of necessity, make public, the State Audit Reports from 1999 to 2021.
Mr Hamza Aliyu, Executive Director of INGRA who made the call in a statement on Saturday in Lokoja said Financial Audit Reports present a tool for public sector accountability and enable citizens to hold their elected Governments accountable..
Aliyu noted that lack of transparency and accountability in a government presents a major risk to the efficiency of the capital markets, financial stability, long term economic sustainability, economic growth and development.
The Human Rights activist added that Accountability and Transparency had over the years been recognized as constitutionally provided instruments for reduction of corruption at all levels of public sector.
“Section125(2) of the 1999 constitution as Amended mandates the Auditor General of a State to audit ‘All offices and courts of the State…’ and submit the findings to the State House of Assembly.
“Section 125(4) states that these include ‘… all persons and bodies established by a law of the House of Assembly of the State”, he said.
Aliyu submitted that the committee saddled with the constitutional responsibility of receiving the report is the Public Accounts Committee of the Houses of Assembly adding that the Constitution attached much importance to Public Sector Accountability.
The INGRA Executive Director however regretted that the issue of accountability had unfortunately remained a basic and fundamental problem in Nigeria and specifically, in Kogi State.
“Thus, it is surprising that despite these Constitutional requirements and directives, there are no such reports before the Public Accounts Committee of the Kogi State House of Assembly in the recent times.
“State Budgets are appropriated and executed without being accountable to the people.
“State Ministries Departments and Agencies spend public funds without a subsisting mechanism for checks to ensure that due processes are followed and that there is efficiency of funds expenditure and value for money.
“Details of expenditures are never made available to the public and the process of government procurement is shrouded in secrecy without the necessary Auditing Mechanism in place”, he said.
Aliyu said it was sad that states that are less endowed than Kogi are making public their Audited Financial Books for citizens to access.
“We therefore call on the Public Accounts Committee of the Kogi State House of Assembly to as a matter of necessity, mandate the Auditor-General of Kogi State to immediately place before it, the Audited Reports for the periods 1999-2021.
“We also call on the Auditor General of Kogi State to immediately perform his Constitutional responsibility as stated in the above Section 125 of the Constitution”, he urged.