Borno to monitor budgets of 172 registered NGOs, CSOs – Official

Borno governor, Babagana Zulum. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter account of Zulum]
Borno governor, Babagana Zulum. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter account of Zulum]

The Borno State government has started vetting the spending of donor funds by non-governmental organisations working in the state, an official said.

Borno, a state plagued for 11 years by the Boko Haram insurgency, hosts many humanitarian organisations in Nigeria.

There are 172 nongovernmental (NGOs) nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), as well as the civil society organisations and communication-based organisations currently providing humanitarian services in the state.

Mairo Mandara, the special adviser on sustainable development to Borno governor, Babagana Zulum, said this during a press conference in Maiduguri on Wednesday.

Mrs Mandara said the state government had taken steps to ensure sanity in the operations humanitarian actors in the state.

Mr Zulum, last year, said his administration would sanitise all the operations of the NGOs working in the state.

The professor said the humanitarian system had been fraught with irregularities, duplication of services and alleged corruption.

To that effect, the governor said he would authorise the opening or a register at the ministry of reconstruction, resettlement and rehabilitation where the government can monitor the activities of all non-governmental organisations.

In 2018, former governor, Kashim Shettima, now a senator made widely publicised allegations that all “non-performing United Nations agencies, including UNICEF, and 126 other non-governmental organisations to leave the state for alleged failure to justify the funds they claim to be expending on persons displaced by Boko Haram insurgency.”

Mrs Mandara said on Wednesday that the state government had in the last one year succeeded in registering the 172 outfits, comprising 53 NGOs and INGOs; 109 CSOs and 10 CBOs in Borno.

She said the government has not only decided to register the humanitarian organisations “but also to keep a tab on their budgets and operations in the state”.

“Today we do not only know the NGOs that are working in Borno State, but we also know their budgets and what they are spending the monies on,” she said.

The official said total budgets of the NGOs was huge, and that the state would make it public once it finishes analysing them.

“Concerning the budget of the INGOs and the NGOs, I’ll say their budgets are huge, but the only reasons I will not give you a figure is because we are analysing it now,” she said.

“They have told us this is our budget; we are checking with the donors to see how much of it that is going to the people; how is it going to the hotels, air flights and other things. And once we’ve done all those analyses, I can assure it is going to be on our website. So that it becomes transparent and the donors are also going to see how their money is being used.”

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She said people should not misconstrue the steps being taken by the state government “as a kind of distrust on the humanitarian organisations”.

“I can assure that some of them are doing good jobs, and I would want to encourage them to continue to do more of the excellent jobs that they have been doing.”

Development plans

The official had earlier unveiled a 25 years development plan for Borno State. She said the idea is to rebuild the Boko Haram-ravaged state.

Experts have said the insurgency had reversed the gains of the state, and it would take decades for the state to bounce back after the crisis finally ends.

She said the development plan would be carefully implemented over the coming years to help the state recover from the devastation of the insurgency.

She explained that the plan would also tackle fundamental socio-economic problems that birthed the Boko Haram insurgency in the first place.

She said the state government consulted all ‘stakeholders’, including the political-religious and traditional leaders in forging the plan.

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