Tracking constituency projects will help achieve SDGs- ICPC boss

Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has called for tracking of constituency projects to achieve targets.

He said tracking the progress of constituency projects would help the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Owasanoye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday, that constituency projects were targeted at ensuring that Nigerians got the projects that government had allocated to them

“A constituency project is a project conceived or earmarked by a legislator, a committee or group within a constituency, acting in collaboration with their legislator to execute a community-based project,” he said.

According to Owasanoye, one of ICPC’s objectives is to ensure that those projects that add value to the lives of Nigerians are properly executed.

This, he said, would also help the country to meet the SDGs like provision of water, roads, clinics, schools and other facilities.

“As much as those projects are not implemented or not properly implemented, Nigeria cannot close the SDGs gap,” he said.

He noted that with the launch of Constituency Projects Tracking Group by the commission in April, it was believed that the initiative would help to close that gap.

“We also hope to use it to help government to answer unanswered questions; how are those projects doing, the ones that money have been released for, have the projects been released?

“It will help to show who between the MDAs and the legislature is hindering or not allowing constituency projects to be implemented,” he explained.

Owasanoye said that the initiative of constituency projects was about the Nigerian people and was not targeted at the legislature or an individual.

The anti-graft boss debunked the notion that some legislators usually diverted funds for such projects.

He noted that some of the legislators were quite delighted that the commission was tracking projects to ensure that they were implemented to the letter.

“They say that they have been branded in their communities as haven collected monies for constituency projects and the community cannot find anything.

“So they are very happy that we are looking into the matter.

“The response has been very good in the sense that we have information. Some contractors are going back to site just based on the fact that we have initiated a project to track the implementation of constituency projects.

“We are deploying some teams to some locations to validate or invalidate what is being claimed as the case may be,” he said.

He further explained that with the way things were designed now, the only role basically the legislature played was to nominate projects.

Owasanoye said that the projects were situated under the various MDAs, noting that once the fund was released for a project, it was the MDAs that were supposed to implement.

The chairman further said that the initiative was a multi-party one.

He said that it was not just an ICPC initiative though it was initiated and coordinated by the commission.

“In order to put some elements of transparency into the whole matter, and to diminish the possibility of an allegation of witch-hunt, we have civil society organisations, the media, government offices and the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors included in the steering team.”(NAN)