Since the inception of constituency project in Nigeria, which was in response to the yearnings of the constituents for development and federal presence, there have been misconceptions, misinterpretations and obvious corruption around the implementation of constituency project.
The controversy surrounding constituency projects has continued at full strength over the years as corruption claim dock an otherwise impressive scheme.
Consequently, in a bid to ensure that Nigerians receive the full benefits of funds appropriated for the federal legislators’ constituency projects by the federal government, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) launched its constituency projects tracking group, in collaboration with Civil Society Organizations, Media and other stakeholders to track constituency projects implementation and performance in the various localities across the country.
Speaking to DoroCorruption listeners on Wazobia FM, Abuja, Mr. Jimoh Sulaiman, the assistant commissioner of ICPC said that the commission is committed towards ensuring that shoddy completion, uncompleted or outright non-existence of constituency projects in spite of huge funds released by the government are uncovered and funds recovered, which has already started in twelve states across the six geopolitical zones. He added that some projects can be sabotaged at the procurement stage by contractors in collaboration with the legislators.
To promote transparency and accountability, Mr. Jimoh stated that it is important for citizens and community to oversight constituency projects because most beneficiaries of these projects are usually unaware of the awards of contracts, and the law makers take advantage of that to divert funds meant for the projects.
According to him, the government will not serve the interest of the citizens if they don’t get involved in the governance process and demand for what rightly belongs to them, also, the commission partners with local governments to train them on budget processes in local governments and they are equally open to work with credible individuals and community based organizations who are interested in good governance to help in project tracking and furnishing the commission with the right information on abandoned projects in their communities.
He gave assurances that the constituency projects tracking group would investigate fraudulent procurement practices, make recoveries on projects and contracts confirmed to have been inflated or where contractors under-performed and that every community across the country will be covered notwithstanding how long it takes.