Text of a Press Release Issued by the Board of Directors of ActionAid Nigeria after a Review of the State of the Nation
ActionAid Nigeria's Board of Directors conducted a comprehensive review of the state of nation during its 51st meeting, held in Ilorin, Kwara State and highlighted critical issues affecting the nation.
The Board noted that in recent months, Nigeria has grappled with pressing issues, illustrating a stark contrast with reality. Specifically, we have witnessed opulent government officials living in luxury while the majority face persistent poverty. The administration's policies, such as removing the fuel subsidy and merging exchange rates, have led to a weaker Naira and rising inflation. Corruption remains a challenge, with political affiliations often shielding individuals from accountability. The high cost of living and a dwindling standard of living weigh heavily on many, exacerbated by unreliable infrastructure. Insecurity, particularly targeted attacks on girls in schools, is a grave concern. The humanitarian crisis is exacerbating the nation's woes, with varying climatic challenges and an influx of refugees.
Addressing these issues requires a comprehensive, multifaceted approach to pave the way for a more equitable future. Therefore, ActionAid Nigeria’s Board of Directors presents the following recommendations:
- We call on lawmakers to reevaluate the government’s spending priorities. We urge both the Federal and State Governments to prioritise economic revitalisation measures over luxury expenditure. Specifically, ActionAid Nigeria recommends a thorough review of budgetary allocations, focusing on policies that directly impact the well-being and livelihoods of ordinary Nigerians rather than benefiting only those in office. Simultaneously, addressing internal economic issues such as fuel subsidy removal and the new FX regime is crucial to alleviating the burdens faced by vulnerable populations.
- The Board of Trustees demands that the Federal Government establishes a more robust and effective anti-corruption framework. There must be a stringent and transparent system of asset declaration for all public office holders, enhancing transparency, controlling conflicts of interest, and monitoring wealth variations. ActionAid Nigeria also advocates for a shift away from secret deals and plea bargaining, moving towards rigorous investigations and prosecutions of corruption cases. Federal and State Governments must deploy comprehensive economic reforms, including diversification of the economy, investment in reliable infrastructure and policies that promote sustainable economic growth. Additionally, the Federal Government must put measures in place to stabilise the Naira and attract foreign investments.
- ActionAid Nigeria condemns the repeated abductions of female students and calls for immediate action to ensure security in schools. We demand increased government intervention and resources to protect the educational rights of girls. We emphasise the importance of community engagement and awareness in preventing such attacks. It is also imperative that both federal and state governments adopt a coordinated and responsive approach to address the multifaceted humanitarian crisis in Nigeria, including the provision of food assistance, healthcare, and shelter.
- Amid the various emergency situations bedeviling the nation, we urgently call on the Federal and State Governments to take immediate and coordinated action to address the multifaceted humanitarian crisis gripping Nigeria. It is important to implement targeted relief measures to mitigate food scarcity and agricultural challenges, while also providing effective flood management strategies in states like Adamawa, Plateau, Benue, and Lagos. Additionally, strengthening the healthcare system is paramount at this time, mobilising increased resources and personnel to combat the diphtheria outbreak and provide adequate care for those in need. At every point, concerted efforts are required to support and integrate refugees from Niger Republic, particularly in states like Yobe, Borno, and Kano, ensuring their safety and well-being.
- In the wake of COP28 in Dubai, ActionAid Nigeria calls on nations to strengthen the Global Stocktake agreement by closing loopholes and committing to concrete, verifiable actions that lead to a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels. The international community must prioritise the needs of vulnerable communities, ensure adequate funding for adaptation, and hold developed countries accountable for their fair share of financial support. The urgency of the climate crisis demands immediate, decisive, and equitable action to safeguard the planet and its most marginalised populations. The Board emphasises that the investments secured for Nigeria during the COP must align with the administration's green economy commitment.
- The Board of Directors calls for scrutiny of President Bola Tinubu's proposed budget to ensure it serves all Nigerians with effective implementation strategies, transparency, and accountability measures. We demand inclusivity in the budget review process, oppose increasing the tax burden on the poor or excessive borrowing, and recommend progressive revenue-generation strategies, including cutting down the cost of governance.
- Having concluded the off-cycle election, ActionAid Nigeria urges INEC to conduct a post-election audit for insights into past challenges and successes, a measure repeatedly advocated by civil society organisations and partners. Additionally, stringent measures must be put in place to enhance pre- and post-election logistics, involving a comprehensive reevaluation of the procurement system. We also enjoin that INEC adheres strictly to legal instruments governing elections in Nigeria, having witnessed recent instances of non-compliance and rule changes during elections, posing a threat to the country's electoral integrity. Immediate action is necessary for the sake of Nigeria's democratic stability.
- ActionAid Nigeria vehemently condemns the devastating incident in Kaduna, resulting from a mistaken military airstrike during a religious gathering, causing significant loss of life and injury. We demand that the Federal Government establishes an independent team, inclusive of civil society organisations, religious and traditional leaders, to conduct an immediate, thorough, and impartial investigation into this tragic event and ensure transparent communication throughout the investigative process. The affected families deserve justice, and those responsible must be held accountable. The State Government must also facilitate the immediate provision of medical assistance to the injured and address the pressing needs of the affected communities. As advocates for social justice, we stand resolute in demanding swift action to prevent such incidents in the future and to reassure citizens of their safety.
ActionAid Nigeria remains committed to advocating for policies and actions that promote social justice, equality, and sustainable development.