ICPC’s Deputy Commissioner, Constituency and Executive Project Tracking, Jimoh Suleiman, made these developments known during an anti-corruption radio programme, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, produced by the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.
The anti-graft agency began the Phase 6 tracking of the constituency and executive projects on Monday, 16 October 2023, in 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Commission said projects to be tracked are valued at N500 billion.
Suleiman reacting to an investigation by the Udeme Project, published by TheCable, which exposed that multi-million-naira classroom projects were missing in schools at Ebute Metta, Ajah, Eti-Osa, and Victoria Island areas of Lagos State despite the government releasing funds, however, assured that “the Commission’s projects tracking team will look into the report.”
According to TheCable’s report, N220 million was allocated and released to construct blocks of classrooms for five schools in Lagos Central Senatorial District as part of the 2022 federal government zonal intervention projects (ZIPs). Still, work was only done in one of the schools.
Appraising the impact of tracking constituency and executive projects over the years, Suleiman revealed that the projects tracking initiative of the ICPC continues to yield results as more projects are now being executed while corruption is on a decline. Noting that “as at the last constituency projects tracking (2022), 93 percent of projects tracked were completed”.
“Tracking of constituency projects has been awesome, and execution of the projects has improved following the establishment of our project tracking team. We are making recoveries when there is an infraction.
“ICPC set up the consistency project tracking group with the objective of improving service delivering to the people to ensure our full execution of all government projects and to guarantee value for money in the implementation of projects and to make recoveries of public funds that had been mismanaged, and things are getting better, we are moving on.”
Suleiman identified budgetary constraints as one of the main challenges ICPC faces in project tracking, revealing that the Commission would have loved to track all constituency and executive projects across the 36 federation states but for lack of funds. He added that reluctance by government agencies and politicization of constituency projects were some of the setbacks of the initiative.
He also lamented ICPC’s difficulty in tracking empowerment projects while educating citizens that “Constituency Projects are not donations by legislators, but funded by the government.”
On his part, the State Officer at BudgIT, Garba Abdullahi, lamented that projects are still being abandoned and poorly executed despite efforts of ICPC and the federal government allocating huge funds towards constituency projects.
Abdullahi urged ICPC to work with civil society organizations in tracking more projects while calling on political leaders to ensure citizens are carried along by conducting proper “needs assessment” before nominating projects.
He advised citizens to ask questions, hold their leaders accountable and take ownership of projects brought to their localities.
“Leadership should always come to the community to ask what they want, or they should have somebody in the community that will take their needs to be their representative for them to act on it.
“I think the ICPC is doing a very great job in terms of project tracking of the zonal intervention projects. I want the ICPC and the CSOs to engage more with the people. The ICPC should keep working to provide information to the public for them to know that the projects are for their good and not for the lawmakers,” Abdullahi said.
Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program PRIMORG uses to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.