The Bayelsa Non – Governmental Organisations Forum (BANGOF) has written to the Bayelsa State government requesting documents containing information of the debt profile of the state and account balance showing what the present administration inherited as at February 14th 2020.
BANGOF in a letter dated July 14th 2020, signed by its Secretary, Mr. Kemedengiyefa Opia and addressed to the Speaker of the Bayelsa Sate House of Assembly and permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Works, Health and Education had demanded for information regarding budget implementation details of the state for the period under review, 2015 -2019.
In letter of reminder addressed to the governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, dated 24th August 2020, BANGOF complained that from the time of submission of the first letter till date, the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act request has rather been ridiculously ignored by all relevant MDAs including the state House of Assembly which is officially saddled with responsibility of carrying out oversight role on the overall management of the state resources.
The letter further read: “this is clear indication of unwillingness on the part of public office holders in Bayelsa State is a display of the complete absence of transparency and accountability, a display of ineptitude and inefficiency at its peak in public administration and governance in general. A situation that calls for an urgent response in the form of a collective action by civil society organizations and other stakeholder on the Bayelsa Project.
“Based on the foregoing, we intend to take the following actions: Call for an expanded stakeholders consultative forum with a view to chat the way forward on the issues raised and come up with resolutions. Take necessary actions on resolutions reached. File for legal action on the gross inefficiency and negligence government agencies.”
When contacted for comments over the said letter, the Acting Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said that going by the date the letter was delivered to the governor’s office, his principal has not contravened the provisions of the FoI Act, as his has ample time to respond.
He explained that “as for the letter that was addressed to the governor, from the date it was received, I don’t think it has been delivered to his office. I can only respond after my boss has seen it and briefed me.”
When contacted also via WhatsApp, the press secretary to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Aotindeke Boleigha, responded simply by saying “I am not in the know of any such letter. will ask questions and drop message here.”