Delay in passage of INEC Budget may jeopardise preparations for 2019 — Election Monitors

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 21 August 2018 | 704 times

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The Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) and some other election observer groups have expressed concern over the continued delay in the passage of the election budget for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), warning that such could jeopardise adequate preparations for the 2019 polls. They gave the warning in a communiqué issued at the end of a day’s round table on the election budget impasse.

The groups, therefore, urged the National Assembly to as a matter of national and public interest urgently pass the INEC budget and end all forms of intrigues and politics associated with the budget.

The communique was jointly signed by ISDMG Executive Director,  Dr Chima Amadi; Faith Nwadishi of Centre for Transparency Advocacy; Abdul Mahmud, Public Interest Lawyers League; Comrade Sheriff  Mulade, Center for Peace and Environmental Justice;

Okechukwu Nwanguma, NOPRIN; Ezenwa Nwagwu, Partners for Electoral Reforms; and a host of other election observer groups.

The group while addressing concerns regarding some allocations in the budget, noted that such angst on some of the budget amount and line items are unfounded. It stated that, for instance, such amount as the claim of N6 billion provision for feeding of policemen during the election period and N700 million for foreign observers are false as there are no such provisions in the budget at all.

It explained that what the budget item has is N4,689,996,100.00 for feeding allowance paid to security and election personnel.

Addressing the feeding line items specifically, the communique stated: “What the budget item has is N4.6b (exactly N4,689,996,100.00) for feeding allowance paid to security and election personnel at N1,000 per head for two days (2 x 1,000 = 2,000) and is fully explained and justified in line 26 of the budget proposal.

“We note that N1,000 is a token allowance per official for 2 elections (Presidential and NASS on February 16 and Gubernatorial and State Assembly and FCT Area Councils on 2nd March).

“It covers the 180,000 polling units and voting points, 8,809 ward collation centres, and 1,558 constituency collation centers involving over a million personnel for two elections including provisions for possible run-off elections.

“That Ad hoc staff alone is about 1.3m, and does not include INEC main staff, police, DSS, Civil Defence, soldiers, among others. This is not the first time it is done and is without prejudice to the duty tour allowance for all security personnel handled through their various agencies. Nigerians have forgotten that the immediate former Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had to defend a similar provision before the 2015 General Elections.”

Nigerians, according to the communiqué, may not be aware of some of the details in the budget because this is the first time ever that the details of election budget are submitted to NASS, defended by INEC and open to scrutiny by citizens.

The monitoring groups stated that inaccurate, sensational reportage and deliberate promotion of falsehood by a section of the media has helped in no small way to aggravate this logjam.

The meeting commended the openness of the budget process and urge INEC to continue with this practice.

Source: News Express

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