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Residents of Kpegu, a town in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region, have listed five topmost challenges affecting their area, which they demand the Assembly to urgently address to ensure their well-being.

They include the indiscriminate felling of trees in the area, lack of a clinic in the area, road connecting the area to other communities not accessible during raining season, poor teaching and learning in the area and difficulty in accessing the registration and renewal of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIA) cards due to poor network.

They listed those issues as their topmost challenges at a forum on social auditing at Kpegu organized by the Kumbungu District Directorate of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to promote community ownership of development projects and policies

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The forum, which brought together duty-bearers, identifiable groups, traditional authorities, youth groups amongst others, was also to increase awareness of the citizenry on the operations of the Assembly as well as empower them to demand accountability from duty-bearers.

It followed the successful conduct of district-wide sensitization actions on the Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (ARAP), sponsored by the European Union, to deepen the knowledge of the citizenry on corruption and accountability.

Social auditing is about integrating all groups of citizens in the decision-making process with particular attention to the vulnerable and the marginalized groups.

Opinion leaders of the Kpegu community said they had already discussed those challenges with the authorities of the Kumbungu Assembly but the Assembly was yet to act on them promising to make a follow up to the Assembly for something to be done about the situation.

Mr Mohammed Abukari, Kumbungu District Director of NCCE explained the functions of the local government structures to the people expressing need for them to participate in the planning and budgeting processes of the Assembly to promote accountability and transparency.

Mr Abukari said the participation of the people in the local governance through the district assemblies would ensure that the assemblies’ plans and projects better reflected their aspirations and preferences.

Mr Abdul-Rauf, Kumbungu District Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice urged the people to coexist peacefully and always use dialogue to resolve their differences.

Mr Prosper Ayaarik, Public Relations Officer of NHIA in the Kumbungu and Tolon Districts, on the issue of the difficulty in accessing registration of NHIA cards, said work was ongoing to rectify the network challenges to ensure smooth registration and renewals of health insurance cards.

Meanwhile, the NCCE in the Kumbungu District has sensitized 40 identifiable groups including traditional leaders/opinion leaders, women’s groups, youth groups, lorry stations, educational institutions amongst others from various communities including Kukuo, Gumo, Bogu, Chanzegu, Cheshegu, Tanshegu, Yipelnayili amongst others as part of the second phase of ARAP.

Mr Abukari, who led the exercise in the communities, called on the citizenry to promote good sanitation practices through regular clean up exercises to keep their communities clean to avoid diseases.

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