Most people living in rural communities in Nigeria are uninformed about their rights or are powerless to voice the issues they face. Over time, they have been deprived of basic benefits or short-changed in service delivery, multiple and high taxation is also on the increase.
Mgbakwu community in Anambra State is no exception, but intervention from Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) Awka through the V2P project has empowered the community members, especially youth, to engage government. Mgbakwu community youths led on advocating for subsidised business permits for shop owners in the community. Shop owners were previously charged as much ₦3,300 by the taskforce and had their shops closed for refusing to comply.
The advocacy was successful, and the charges were reduced to ₦1,500. This drastic reduction has boosted economic activities in the community; shop owners who could not pay the high levies can now afford the more reasonable rates, and it has also reduced the level of unemployment as more traders are now actively engaged
‘Traders no longer opened their shops due to fear of the taskforce, but since the intervention of V2P, all the shop owners that closed their shops have re-opened,’ said Anthony, secretary of the Mgbakwu youths.
The V2P project has successfully built the capacity of Mgbakwu community members and equipped them in advocating and engaging with government to demand their rights. The citizens are now aware that they have the power and a voice to speak up against practices that have a negative effect on the community.