Non-Governmental Organizations working in grassroots communities in Lagos have urged the Lagos State government to ensure that the rebuilding agenda in the state is driven by citizens.
In an open letter to the Lagos State Government which was signed by the NGOs, they appealed that to avoid future backlash from members of the public, the government needs to engage the citizens in the rebuilding of Lagos and also ensure that the Lagos Rebuild Trust Fund is driven by trusted community members.
The group noted that, “we believe it is time to pause and to reflect on the structural shortcomings in the way the city has been governed. These shortcomings have quenched its citizens’ resolve and determination to strive for the best as individuals and as communities.
They thereafter recommended that “the rebuilding reflects the principles of neighborhood inclusion and diversity and avoids a monotonous approach to the use of public buildings.
“The rebuilding process is driven by trusted and committed community members and not by party members and private sector contractors.
“Every citizen has the chance to access any executive or administrative position in the Lagos State Government apparatus based on merit, dedication, and professional qualification; but independent of age, origin, wealth or party affiliation.
“Government – citizens’ relationship are in the future driven by preventive and corrective strategies which will prevail over punitive measures,” they added.
The groups in the open letter stressed that “the rebuilding period has to be used as an opportunity to focus on holistic and long term transformation of governance, institutional set-up, service delivery methodologies, approaches to engagements among the stakeholders and the processes of implementing the larger vision of Lagos.
They recommended that reforms in Law enforcement agencies, Access to justice and the rule of law, and Transparency and accountability are inevitable.
The group also urged Lagos State Government and Lagos residents to join them in embracing a different vision of the city of Lagos which will prevent future anarchy and increase the trust of the citizens in their government.
The organizations that signed the open letter are; Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON); Nigerian Slum / Informal Settlement Federation (Federation); Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, University of Lagos; Policy Lab; Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE Nigeria); Lagos Urban Development Initiative; Rethink Cities Initiative and POLYBRIQ.