The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has called for improved accountability in the implementation of resource budgets for maternal health intervention in Nigeria.
The non-governmental organisation, which made the call at a two-day capacity building workshop for media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Abuja, said such move will ensure better maternal health delivery in the country.
Speaking at the event, Executive Director of CHRICED, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said as a knowledge driven platform of active citizens working for the promotion of human right, rule of law, democracy, and accountability, CHRICED envisions a democratic Nigeria where participation, inclusion and transparency are guarantee and state and non state actors actively collaborate towards accountable and responsive use of resources for the collective well being of citizens.
Zikirullah said the citizens and CSOs must put government’s officials on their toes to ensure priority is given to the real needs of people instead of irrational spending.
“When politicians want to award themselves excessive and profitable pensions, they look for whatever justification for such irrational spending. But when it has to so with things that affect the welfare and wellbeing of the ordinary citizens, then suddenly will be the justiciablity argument.
“This is why despite constitutional provisions and hefty annual budgetary allocation to maternal health at the federal and state levels, thousands of women and children still die in Nigeria daily due to the absence of quality healthcare before, during and after child birth,” he said.
The CHRICED boss also expressed deep concern over the related challenges the country is faced with, saying the quest for transparency, accountability and effective use of public resources is not just required in the area of maternal health.
“As we speak, insecurity continues to ravage all parts of Nigeria. It is so bad that criminal can walk into a school and abduct 300 children like they are engaging in a walk through the park.
“At the same time,the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) remains on strike, putting in the balance the future of the youth. The devastating economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has left millions of our citizens to wallow in extreme poverty due to poor management by the government.
The downward spiral of our national currency, the free fall of Naira against the Dollar and other international currency has made life unbearable for many in the face of contracting GDP growth,” he said.
Zikirullah went further to say” if we do not push for transparency and accountability an allow thieving politicians to disappear with funds meant for basic services, hospitals will not have the drugs and equipment they need, and many women, especially in rural areas will die as a result.
“In the face of these challenges,we salute the courage and commitment of the media, the media and civil society organisation have an important role to play in putting these challenges on the front burner of the public discourse.”