Investigation & Special ReportsNews

Watchdog to assist antigraft agencies probe N700 billion constituency projects in the Southeast

The Whistleblowers Anti-corruption Reporting Network (WARN) has commenced investigations into the constituency projects approved for Members of the National Assembly between 2015 and 2023.

The projects with budgetary provisions of more than N700 billion, were among the trillions of naira worth of constituency projects approved for the 109 senatorial districts and 360 federal constituencies in the country.

In a press statement issued by the Coordinator of the anticorruption watchdog for the Southeast geopolitical zone, Comrade Maduabuchi Ezema, WARN said it was worried about the dearth of federal government projects in many communities, despite billions of naira worth of approvals for constituency projects by the national assembly.

Comrade Ezema, who is also the Director of the Enugu operations of the anticorruption watchdog said his team is determined to support the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate all the projects approved for the southeast with a view to establishing those that were awarded as well as the status of the projects.

He said he and his team were alarmed when they saw the quantum of projects approved for the southeast as constituency projects, and was worried about their status, and vowed that his group will assist the EFCC and ICPC to thoroughly investigate them and recommend for arrest and prosecution and recovery, those found to have been corruptly compromised.

“We are concerned that the hundreds of projects were approved as constituency development projects, and while we are not saying that something has happened to them, we note that had they all been executed in the southeast, our communities would feel their impacts.

“We are talking of projects running into hundreds of billions of naira. But we have commenced a diligent investigation of these projects as part of our support for the ICPC and the EFCC to take the fight against corruption to every nook and cranny of Nigeria,” Ezema said.

He also said: “Projects approved for constituencies in the southeast, among many others, include, according to him, include; provision of boreholes for portable drinking water for communities, provision of computer equipment for schools, supply of transformers for rural electrification, acquisition of tricycles and motorcycles for rural transportation, provision of financial grants for rural livestock farmers, rural access roads, medical outreaches, among others.

“The list of projects approved for the southeast are a lot and should have impacted on the lives of the people of the zone reasonably. If you see the list, you will be shocked. For instance, the amount of money approved for Enugu Stare for the year 2019 alone amounted to N3.7 billion.

“Even if you take this to be the average and multiply by the 5 Southeast states, the amount comes to N18.5 billion. As an anti-corruption watchdog, and as indigenes of the southeast, we believe we owe it to our people to support the investigation of these approvals in every way we can.

“On the one hand, if we find that they were duly executed, credit will go to the national assembly members that attracted those projects to their people, and the contractors who executed the jobs.

“Where we find that the jobs were not done, it is our determination to help the anticorruption agencies to see to it that those involved are investigated and those funds recovered for the Nigerian state,” he stated.

Comment here