‘N5.6b Constituency Projects Inserted in Foreign Affairs, Justice Ministries’ Budget’
A Sum of N5.6 billion for Constituency Projects injected into the 2019 budget has been discovered, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye said at the weekend.
According to him, the items were injected into the 2019 budget of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice.
He said the estimates were included in zonal intervention projects.
According to a statement by the spokesperson for the commission, Mrs. Rasheedat A. Okoduwa, the ICPC chairman stated this at a media roundtable in Abuja, to promote the ‘My Constituency, My Project’ initiative of the commission.
He said a breakdown of the 2019 allocation for zonal interventional projects shows that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) would spend N2.9 billion on constituency projects.
He said the allocation of N2.7 billion to the Ministry of Justice in the same budget “brings to the fore, some of the anomalies surrounding the implementation of constituency projects across the country.”
He said constituency projects, which principally were projects and empowerment programmes designed to bring development to rural communities within the country had been included the budgets of MFA and other non-relevant ministries and agencies.
Owasanoye said: “What is constituency project doing in Foreign Affairs? We will ask questions with this kind of allocation.”
The ICPC boss also confirmed that “only about 60 percent of constituency projects have been completed with a lot of them executed in shoddy ways due to poor technical designs, impositions and other sundry irregularities.”
“The commission will not give up on tracking of constituency projects as long as government keeps funding them,” he added.
The ICPC chairman pleaded with local communities to “own the projects for themselves.”
Owasanoye also called for the handover of zonal intervention projects to local government authorities upon completion for effective maintenance and sustainability of the projects.
He said: “If somebody had nominated a project and succeeded in getting the project to the community, it is not the duty of the person to maintain it.
“Communities need to understand that it was public funds that were used. They need to take ownership. We recommend that the project needs to be handed over to the local government for the community to take over.”
The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr. Garba Abari, who was also at the roundtable called for citizens’ participation in constituency projects.
Abari said the active involvement of the communities in planning and execution of constituency projects would remove corruption and abuse.
He said such ownership would ensure that contractors do not use substandard materials for the projects as well as ensure that completed projects were not vandalized when handed over.
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