The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related offenses Commission (ICPC) says it recovered at least N2bn from constituency projects it tracked, as well as identified activities of legislators as a major challenge in the effective execution of constituency projects across Nigeria.
The anti-corruption agency made the disclosure on Wednesday during a radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG.
ICPC’s Acting HoD, Public Enlightenment and Spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, alongside Mr Jimoh Sulahhiman of Constituency and Executive Monitoring Team, both asserted that corruption and poor public engagement pose a great danger in conception and implementation of constituency projects across Africa’s most populous nation.
It was also revealed that over 200 contractors came back to abandoned projects sites following ICPC’s trackings.
According to Mr Sulahhiman, constituency project are actually zonal intervention projects that have been on going as long as legislature existed in Nigeria, stressing that it is a way of bringing the government closer to the grassroots.
ICPC is gearing up to resume its second phase of the projects tracking program after a successful first phase.
The ICPC officials said the commission received lots of complaints from the public that they don’t see government presence other than sign post by government with course and contractor’s name and nothing is done, hence they complain.
Mrs Ogugua noted that the unsuspecting public unknowingly glorifies members of legislature for constituency projects sited in their locality instead of the government.
“At a time the public began to get the impression that it was the legislators when they are giving out motorcycles, grinding machines, sewing machines, not knowing that it is actually their money (governments money), it is their projects what should have been used to help them.”
On projects tracked; she said that the agency started with 81 projects, “however when we got to the field our trackers, some of the projects were split by the MDAs and its sponsors, such that eventually we track 484 project in 12 states from 81 projects, adding that 60% Of tracked projects were Completed.
When asked the challenges ICPC experienced in tracking constituency projects and subdueing corruption across Nigeria, Mrs Ogugua had these to say:
“Sometimes when you request for information maybe from MDAs, the contractors may try to dodge us, they’ll say they don’t have this information.
The basic thing is that the people at the grassroots do not know who is funding project, they go to the sites to see the lawmakers not knowing that it is the government funds that is being used to finance that project.
Again another aspect is that when a project is done, they are still waiting for the legislators who probably has exited the National Assembly which means we are wasting government’s money and there is no sustenance, she said.
The production of PUBLIC CONSCIENCE by PRIMORG is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.