An Enugu-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Divine Era Development and Social Rights Initiatives (DEDSRI), has trained 58 community leaders in Enugu state in fighting corruption using the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
The Executive Director of DEDSRI, Ms Ogechukwu Enwelum said the training was to expose the trainers to evidence-based reporting of corruption.
Enwelum said that the training became necessary following the abandonment of constituency projects in most rural communities in the state.
She said that the trainees were drawn from Enugu South, Nkanu East, Nkanu West, Udi, Igboeze North, Igboeze South, Ezeagu and Nsukka Local Government Areas of the state.
She said that the training was part of efforts to empower Nigerians on constituency projects tracking under the ‘Strengthening Citizens’ Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C)’ project.
The director said that the project funded by the Ukaid was implemented in the state in partnership with Actionaid Nigeria.
Enwelum said that it was necessary for those at the grassroots to know the roles of their political representatives, as well as take interest in the execution of constituency projects attracted to their areas.
“The training is to build the capacity of the people to be able to engage their political representatives with a view to fighting corruption at the local level using evidence-based techniques,” she said.
She urged the people to begin to make relevant demands from their political representatives which would lead to improvement in the quality of life.
Enwelum said that the project had been implemented in 14 local government areas of the state, adding that the successes recorded led to the expansion of the scope of its coverage in the state.
She said that since the project started in the state, most contractors that hitherto abandoned their contracts in some of the rural communities had gone back to site for fear of exposure.
One of the trainees, Mr Anayo Nnabuchi, said that rural communities needed to be determined to fight corruption in order to improve their condition of living.
Nnabuchi said that they needed to leverage on the whistle blower policy of the Federal Government to report corruption.