In its continues engagement with the relevant stakeholders on the need to ensure accountability in the education sector of the Northeast, the North-East Social Accountability in Education Cluster which has CITAD as an anchor, paid an advocacy visit to some major stakeholders at the National level. The advocacy team led by Kabiru Dakata has on Tuesday; 29/11/16 visited the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiatives (PCNI) at its office located in Maitama, Abuja. The team was received by the Vice Chairman of the PCNI, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsa and four other members of the committee. While presenting the advocacy message to the PCNI, Dakata made lights on some points that need to be inputted in the education component of the PCNI plan. He also advocated for transparency and accountability in the process of implementing the PCNI project. In his response, the vice chairman of PCNI, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsa commended the pro-active effort of the CITAD cluster in taking time to analyze the education component of the PCNI and made relevant inputs. He said the inputs came at the right time as the committee is planning to validate the Buhari Plan document that will guide the work of the PCNI. He assured the team that PCNI will work in partnership with credible CSOs like CITAD and its cluster members.
The advocacy team was at the National Assembly on Wednesday 30/11/2016. It first visited the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education where it was received by the vice chairman of the committee, Hon. Emeka, the clerk of the committee and others. The cluster briefed the committee on the research it conducted in the six states of the Northeast, the report of which proved beyond reasonable doubt that the region has worse education statistics than the other five region in the country. Some of the advocacy messages to the committee include the need for effective Oversight function to monitor school construction and renovation in the constituency projects, ensure proper utilization of funds released to states by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), increase National budgetary allocation to the development of the educational sector in the North-East, conducting public hearing on the budget allocation made for basic education, provide timely update in terms of funds disbursement and projects implementation, etc. Responding to the messages, Hon. Emeka said, “it is painful that, huge amount of money spent for educational development are not accounted for”. He assured the cluster of their readiness to partner in ensuring that money budgeted for education is spent for the purpose.
On how to improve the welfare of the IDPs in the Northeast, the cluster visited the chairman house committee on IDPs, Refugees and Northeast Initiatives, Hon. Sani Zorro. The cluster advocated for special attention to the education for children in the IDP camps and their general welfare. According to the representative of the cluster, Kabiru Dakata, “despite the huge amount of money the governments and other development partners are spending to improve the welfare of the people in the IDP camps, it is unfortunate that in most cases these monies are not accounted for, and the result of this is high level of malnutrition among children in the camps, abuse of girls in the camps, and other atrocities that further complicate the lives of people in the IDP camps”. The cluster therefore advocated on the need for the committee to set up monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that will ensure every one Naira allocated for the IDPs is spent for that purpose. Dakata also advocated for serious punishment against people found diverting resources meant for the IDPs. In his response, Hon. Zorro expressed appreciation on the commitment of the cluster in looking for ways to tackle the suffering of the IDPs. He therefore assured the commitment of the committee to partner with the cluster to come up with initiatives that will improve the welfare of the IDPs.