Stakeholders and indigenes of Borno State have denied knowledge or impact of N3.07 Billion said to have been spent by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) to build peace between 2017 – 2020 in the Northeast and Northwest, Nigeria.
Investigations by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) had revealed a breach of procurement laws by the Institute in their spending of N3.07 Billion in the two geopolitical zones.
IPCR is a Federal Government’s institute under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and saddled with the responsibility of preventing, mitigating and resolving conflicts in the regions across the country.
Reacting to the huge sum of money spent by the Institute to restore peace in the Northeast, a stakeholder and member of Borno-Yobe Peoples Forum, Alhaji Abba Kaka said the people of Borno are neither aware of the presence of IPCR nor any of their interventions.
Alhaji Kaka made this known during an anti-corruption radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE on RADIO, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, on Wednesday in Abuja.
While expressing shock over the amount of money spent by the institute, he further revealed that even the immediate past Chairman of Governing Council of the Institute, Senator Muhammed Abba-Aji was surprised upon discovering the sum of money the institute claimed to have spent on the region and called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to swiftly probe the expenditures by the institute in the Northeast.
He added that Senator Aji, who was disturbed by development, had already reached out to the current Director-General of the IPCR to brief the Northeast Governor’s Forum on the allegations.
His words: “As a stakeholder from Borno State, I am just hearing that N3.07 Billion was spent on peacebuilding in the Northeast for the first time, I am not aware of their presence neither is the Borno-Yobe People Forum which I belong to.
“Last night, I called the former Chairman Governing Council of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution to read the story, he called me back that and said he is not even aware himself, he has even asked the current Director-General of the institute to come and brief the Northeast Governor’s forum. He was the chairman from early 2018 to December 2020, they didn’t have a kobo as far as he is aware, so he was surprised and was absolutely dumbfounded.”
Reacting to breach of procurement laws in the contracts awarded by the institute, Alhaji Kaka lamented that the prevalence of corruption in the public service through contracts award became possible due to the connivance of public servants and companies involved.
While urging the anti-graft agencies to investigate the monies IPCR spent on peacebuilding in the Northeast, he hailed ICIR and PRIMORG for exposing such reports to the general public and the government and called on Non-Governmental Organizations and citizens not to relent in demanding accountability.
“We are calling on the EFCC and ICPC to kindly investigate this matter and find out what really happened to the money. This is just one agency of the government, there are several such things happening,” Alhaji Kaka stressed.
Earlier, ICIR reporter, Olugbenga Adanikin said the rationale behind the investigation was to evaluate the monies spent on the Northeast and Northwest Nigeria given the fact that killings, kidnappings and other forms of insecurity persist in the region despite over N3 billion spent in the two geo-political zones.
According to Adanikin, ICIR findings reveal that killings in the Northeast and Northwest, where most of the funds were spent, rose from 2,773 deaths in 2017 to 6,401 in 2020, which raised questions about the budget performance of the institute.
He emphasized that the contracts awarded by the institute did not meet the basic procurement laws of Nigeria, “Some of the contractors that did the job for the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution were not even registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission and the essence of our investigation is to ensure government agencies become meticulous with the award of contracts.”
Adanikin revealed that efforts by ICIR to reach the institute before publishing the investigation proved abortive. Likewise, PRIMORG had invited the institute to be part of the radio programme but they neither responded to the invitation nor turned up.
Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.