Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, has challenged the leadership of Bayelsa Expenditure and Income Transparency Initiative, BEITI, to furnish Bayelsans with the financial position of the state and local governments as per income and expenditure.
The group’s communique issued at the end of its meeting signed by Mr. Sotonye Egbeipou, Mr. Flint Williams-Odonmini and Mr. Alagoa Morris, Legal Secretary, Vice-Chairman, General Secretary respectively, said: “Making public the state’s financial records would help dispel rumours about the government financial dealings.”
CLO stated: “This is very crucial as we gradually slide into another period of election and, to avoid unnecessary speculations or rumour about treasury looting and the attendant chasing, arrest or detention and prosecution of public office holders by anti-graft agencies.
“At present, BEITI is of no significance if Bayelsans are still in the dark on how public monies exchange hands over a year after the inauguration of the Multi-Stakeholders Working Group,” the statement added.
According to the CLO, “the authorities in the state should see the need for providing enabling environment for one and all to participate in governance, even the opposition to freely air their view for the betterment of society.
“This has become necessary because of the vital role played by the opposition in thriving and advanced democracies. For, as is often said, no dancer sees his/her back; only those who watch.
Hence, for the desired investment in the state, economic growth and sustainable development, concerned Bayelsans should not be viewed as dissidents or criminalised when they express themselves peacefully and demand for transparency and accountability in governance.
“It is their right and duty to so demand. All Bayelsans should recognise this very important role of genuine activists and the so-called opposition and separate them from criminal elements in the society,” the CLO declared.