Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Nigerian govt’s annual N100bn constituency projects under-utilised – ICPC

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Ibrahim Sha’aban
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, has expressed dismay that the N100 billion annual allocation to constituency projects has yet to achieve Federal Government’s objective.

Mr Owasanoye made the remark on Thursday in Abuja during a special town hall meeting on fight against corruption organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency, NOA.

He regretted that the federal government’s lofty initiative had not made any significant impact in the lives of communities in the country in terms of infrastructure development.

He said, “If we genuinely spend N2 trillion on infrastructure development over a period of 10 years, it will diminish the tension and the escalation of discontent.

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Mr Owasanoye said that the principal focus of the first phase of the tracking, started some months ago, was on health and education sectors.

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He said that one or two locations were selected from each geopolitical zone, with emphasises on specific projects and working with an inter-agency committee.

Mr Owasanoye said that the committee was made up of representatives from Budget Office, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Bureau of Public Procurement and Office of the Auditor-General.

He described the outcome of the first phase as revealing and interesting, adding that monies meant for constituency projects, not executed or completed, were recovered.

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According to him, “at least 200 contractors returned to site even before we got to them with some sponsors of the projects going back to complete them.

“In some cases, when the empowerment items were locked up somewhere because somebody wanted to trade them off, we gave them one week to distribute such items to the beneficiaries.

“For me, it makes more sense rather than arresting a senator and locking him up without delivering the items or facilities to the intended beneficiaries.

“With this approach, we may not see the sponsors in jail but the idea is that the communities will be happy and we will be happy also,” the ICPC boss said.

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He further said that the commission would soon begin the second phase “because the first phase exposed a lot of pointers and opener to the commission.”


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