Commissioner calls for funding of civil society activities
Dr. Abdul-Hakeem Abdul-Lateef, Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Lagos State, on Saturday, called on government at all levels to fund the activities of civil societies to help them contribute meaningfully to governance.
Abdul-Lateef made the call at an inaugural meeting with civil societies and Non-Governmental Organisations organised by the Lagos State Office of Civic Engagement under the supervision of the Office of the Deputy Governor.
The theme of the programme was “Enhancing Participatory Democracy in Today’s Governance’’.
He said that such special grants would enable them to carry out their functions of monitoring, constructively criticising, advising, assisting and checking government activities.
“Civil societies have a crucial role to play in the development of the society and they cannot be at their optimum best if there are not enough funds.
“I am not trying to say that when government fund or allocated special grants are given to civil societies they will be influenced or subjected to the government.
“Rather, they will be strengthened and empowered to play their role.
“They will be more empowered to educate and speak for the people as well as ensure checks and balance in government, to make it accountable to the people,’’ Abdul-Lateef said.
Also speaking, Dr Sylvester Odion-Akhaine, Chairman, Board of Trustees of Lagos-based Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarisation, said that civil societies had a role of interfacing between government and the people.
Odio-Akhaine urged the government to always make information available to allow for contributions, suggestions and engagement.
According to him, such access to information will create dialogue and cooperation that will bring development to the society.
In his remarks, Mr Kehinde Joseph, Special Adviser to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode on Civic Engagement, said that the office was established to engage various groups within the political, economic, religion, educational, cultural and social circles.
Joseph said that since the creation of the office, it had engaged over 40 heterogeneous groups, with the hope of forging a partnership with them.
He urged civil societies to assist the government with constructive criticism, advice and suggestions that would aid good governance in the state.
The Special Adviser also urged Lagos residents to register with the Lagos State Resident Registration Agency to aid easy identification and proper engagement between the government and residents.
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