EXCLUSIVE: National Assembly pressuring Buhari’s govt to release N64.4bn constituency projects money

National-Assembly

Nigerian lawmakers are stepping up the pressure on the federal government and President Muhammadu Buhari to promptly release all funds earmarked for their “constituency projects” in 2014, in addition to new allocations for the same projects in 2015, PREMIUM TIMES can report today.

Ministry of Finance officials fear the money could be misused and are cautious in dealing with the lawmakers, who they believe are cash-strapped as they have yet to reap a major windfall since their elections in March.

Of the N100 billion allotted for the constituency projects last year, N51.88 billion was not released due to funds unavailability, officials say.

The government provided additional N50 billion for the projects in the 2015 budget.

Since budgeted funds are released quarterly, the government has approved N12.5 billion for the projects for the first quarter of 2015, which is between January and March, and has also approved the release of another N12.5 billion from last year’s balance.

But the lawmakers want the entire last year’s shortfall of N51.88 billion and this year’s first quarter allocation of N12.5 billion [totalling N64.4 billion] released immediately, and have ramped up pressure on the government for weeks, claiming contracts for the projects had already been awarded.

Constituency projects should be development programmes recommended by members of the National Assembly for implementation in their constituencies. The projects are financed through special allocation included in government budget annually.

Funds for the projects are kept in a special account from which contractors are paid directly.

Over the years, “constituency projects” became bywords for corruption as dubious lawmakers pocketed allocated funds through several fraudulent schemes.

Officials well briefed on the matter say although constituency projects are advertised as required by law, lawmakers have devised dubious ways of ensuring that only companies fronting for them, or those belonging to their cronies are pre-qualified.

They then share the proceeds of the contracts with their hand-picked firms after executing a bit of it, or abandoning them altogether, officials at the finance ministry told PREMIUM TIMES.

Afraid that releasing the money under President Muhammadu Buhari could backfire, the ministry opted this time for a thorough process and has refused to release the money, irking the lawmakers.

A Development Fund General Warrant – an authority to make payments – signed by the permanent secretary in the ministry of finance, A. M. Daniel-Nwaobia, dated September 10, 2015, asked the Accountant General to release N12.5 billion for the first quarter of 2015, and another N12.5 billion from the unspent 2014 budget.

The lawmakers have intensified their lobbying after it became clear even the approved money had not been released.

Those familiar with the matter said the federal lawmakers have readied contractors they would recommend to execute projects once the funds are released, and are becoming increasingly impatient with the finance ministry for withholding the funds.

The lead director of Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, said the development portends a major crisis for the executive.

“Constituency projects should be harmonised in the 2016 budget in line with the priorities and policy goals of government,” Mr. Onyekpere said.

“Ideally the allocations for constituency projects should not be released to the National Assembly members, but to the supervisory ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, that would implement the projects.”

Since the budgeting process does not prioritize expenditures in accordance with available resources, he said the executive would be faced with the challenge of deciding what project to release funds to and what to leave out.

He noted that the issue should be a lesson for the administration, which needed to ensure that capital expenditures were reviewed in the 2016 budget, by matching available resources.

The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, agreed, saying he was totally opposed to the practice of getting lawmakers play roles in the execution of constituency projects.


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  • Truthometer

    Part of the reasons 83 pro-corruption senators are ready to sink with Saraki.

    • Nagoma

      Na Wao! 83 birds of the same feathers. I can already see so many holes in the ship, water oozing in, bubbling in fast. Sinking is a matter of time and that will be good for Nigeria.

  • arewethishopeless

    I will be thoroughly disappointed with this administration if one kobo is released to the thieving looters in the name of constituency projects. They should be making laws not engaging and acting as constituency contractors …

    This will not be tolerated AT ALL …. NOT ONE KOBO.

    • Fresh

      I tire ooooooo, there business is to make laws for the nation. In fact, PMB should scrap this money siphoning pipeline called constituency allowance.

  • Joe Jimoh

    Someone tell me why this pack of thieves should not be DISBANDED, Aren’t they simply HEARTLESS? At a time many families can no longer feed cos they are being owed packs of unpaid salaries, sometimes up to five months and Government is resorting to burrow from banks to pay salaries this gang still is still callous enough to present bills for ghost, fake fraudulent un prioritized dubious contracts? Please somebody tell me!

    • Nagoma

      I agree with you my brother, we need to educate ourselves that if we can elect the, we can as well sack them too. The legislatures to me look not ready to participate in the change we are looking for in Nigeria. Business as usual? No way! They certainly deserve to be disbanded immediate. And it is not yet late. Nigerians shall remain pretenders, mumus, etc. if we can not mobilise ourselves nationwide to sack any legislator that refuse to change. Folks! Where do we start from here?

  • Debekeme

    Buhari/The Executive must be idiots if they release this money.

    Why should a legislator be building bore holes?

    This Buhari is more accommodating than i thought. Its business as usual is seems.

    • eddy

      Calm down… they can pressurize all they want… will they man release the money? That is another thing.

    • Fresh

      Money hungry thieves, last year don pass, the money sef suppose follow am pass. Two successive senators who have represented my constituency for the past God knows when years, have not done ANYTHING, I mean NOTHING with all the billions de have been collecting, ah God help Nigeria ooooooo

      • joe

        Are you not the same rat that was defending other thieves like saraki and Okonjo-iweala?So to you,some thieves are acceptable and others are not. How do you choose an acceptable thief?Those that throw some crumbs your way?

        • Fresh

          With all due respect Mr Joe, you need to check again to make sure it was i that this message was meant for, and thank you for calling me a rat, may the host of all the rats in your state abide with you now and forever more. Iseeee

      • tundemash

        And yet you were criticising the CHANGE slogan before on another blog. Are u not confused ? Under Dumbo, do these thieves need to ask for that fraudulent money before they get paid ?

    • Lenz

      “This Buhari is more accommodating than i thought. Its business as usual is seems.”

      Were you told — or has it been reported — that Buhari has released this money?

      The entire premise of the story is that this money has not been released even though it has been approved by the Ministry of Finance.

      Ultimately, it is not even the release that is the issue, but to whom the money is actually released: it ought to be the parastals that have the oversight for contract work and not the legislators.

    • Mark Nsikan

      one word for u “u b mumu” ,,,oops,three words!!!

  • Joe Jimoh

    I remember, they have all been paid their salaries and allowances o, up to date , sometimes in advance including wardrobe allowance, Girlfriend allowance, or is it called Constituency staff allowance. Oh my God!

  • DanielOsazuwa

    Hahahaha! Na hunger dey pursue them. Una never halla. No wonder they were passing a vote of confidence on Thief Saraki. The bunch of criminals should be reminded that there is nothing like vote of confidence in a Presidential system of Government. Only in Parlamentary system you can pass a vote of confidence.

    Dreamers! Let them wake up from their slumber. The new Sheriff is not the Otuoke nativist clown that they thought they can threaten.

    No Kobo for Lagbaja.

    • Wähala

      Hahaha indeed… no suya from mai gaskiya!
      Those thieves should first point to the projects they’ve accomplished in their constituencies before asking for money for new projects. Dem never see Emir in this case… that Buhari is a stingy cattle herdsman go soon for dia eyes. Respect o’jare!

      • All Trust

        Wahala you never hear say I nominated you and one Ramatu for ministers? Anyway, PMB should take steps to scrap constituency project ASAP! It makes no sense!

      • DanielOsazuwa

        You are the best my brother.

  • Nagoma

    The law makers or breakers should adhere to their traditional function as legislatures. The constituency project was a PDP creation and it has elements of corruption. Let the Executive arm of government handle all capital projects in the law makers constituencies because it is naturally fit to do so. Unless the law makers remain exclusively to their legislative functions, the so called “independence” they are calling for would not make sense at all. Nigeria must change. Mtcheww!

    • bib

      Unfortunately that is why most of them fight tooth and nail to get NA seats.

      • real

        You’re spot on. OBJ created this monster and now it bites hard. Jonathan had a war with them on this. It later caused them to invite Iweala to the senate where she told them money is with CBN and process is lawmakers identify the project, send it to BPE for verification and feasibility studies, then the contractor who wins the project get paid directly from CBN after verification of project.

        It does not go down well with them but Jonathan established that process.

        They try every president with the useless thing.

        This president only need to remind them of the process established by his predecessor but I fear he may not want to.

        This is her statement to the senate in 2012.
        Answering question on constituency projects, the Minister explained, that “we have no problems with that, the projects are there, neither the president nor any one has said that. Ministers have launched these projects and they are on it, it takes some time to understand the whole process. We absolutely have no problem with these. What is happening now is that ministers are pursuing procurement process on those projects. For many of the new projects, there is a need for design.

  • Gerald Okoduwa

    What has capital projects got to do with lawmaking? If the National Assembly is crying against what they describe as interference in their functions, why should they be allowed to interfere in the functions of the executive? That arrangement was a conduit pipe for looting and it must not be allowed to continue. In fact those who collected such monies in the past should be made to show the projects they executed with it, failing which they should face the law.

  • Ebaah Odibo

    First test of real war on corruption – nipping corruption before it takes place; is constituency project. If it is sustained; then judge for yourself the seriousness of the war on corruption. If it is abrogated, then judge too. My take, it won’t be abrogated. Executive and Legislative arms will set aside their profound differences in other matters, and ‘settle’ on this one. They must recoup election expenses!

    • SEPARATION IS D ANSWER

      SEE THE WAY SOME 9JAS THINK–THE GOVERNMENT OF BUHARI IS A CURSE TO THE NATION—IF PAST GOVERNMENTS HAVE BEEN ENJOYING THESE CONSTITUENCY PROJECTS–OVER WHICH TAMBUWAL TIED THE EAST WEST ROAD PROJECTS TO–WHY MUST BUHARI REFUSE TO CONTINUE WITH IT–TAMMBUWAL GAVE PRIORITY TO THESE PROJECTS INSTEAD OF MAJOR FEDERAL GOVT PROJECTS SUCH AS THE EAST WEST ROAD——-when Jonathan was in power–the Fulanis ganged up against him to stop work on the east west road—VIA TAMBUWAL—He JONATHAN had to resort to the use of funds from SURE- P to enable him continue with the road projects IN THE SS–Now that it is the turn of their Fulani brother——them want to divert the money for such to their leaking Fulani pockets–separation is the answer

      • Mark Nsikan

        if buharis govt is a curse…..den jonathans government was death!!…

        • No 2, Sambisa Street

          Bros, jonathans government was bad..that was why WE voted for mai gaskiya.
          As things stand today, this government is worse..or pardon my turenci; WORSTEST!
          This sallah sef, we no fit buy ram. Ordinary ram fa!
          Haba Jama’a!!

          • Mark Nsikan

            uw ant tu buy rm after 3 months of a new leadership after u cldnt buy after 16 years of pdp…..clap for ur dumbbrain

        • burning spear

          @whala nee ibo man– I prefer death to being cursed forever

          • Buhari4Ever

            Deri Orbuka, you are already a dead man walking!!

        • Audu Al-amin

          You are right, i wonder why some few people I said few people because majority of the masses are solidly behind the president on anti-corruption fight, just a few that are in support of these corruption individuals that said they are representing us at the national assembly. The question is what have they done with the previous constituency development money? Nothing to show as a project been completed by those thieves.

  • Nwa _ Africa

    Disband criminal senate now…………………They are not doing anything to warrant their continue stay………………..

    • Maria

      Really? Are you not one of those carrying placards singing Saraki’s praises yesterday at the national assmebly, moron?

      • Nwa _ Africa

        Bola, you be proper foo0l………………………..

  • burning spear

    Separation is the answer–the money for the said constituency projects are not coming from the revenue base of the cows sold by the Fulanis—-The money is coming from the oil revenue pot of the south south–Buhari has been making all sorts of noise about fighting corruption in the former government of Jonathan. Those efforts are all lies–tailored to deceive Nigerians-Why is Buhari wanting to be made the oil Minister and refuses to allow the reptiles in the House–enjoy the awooooof oil revenue from the Niger Delta-?–Would the Fulanis have allowed such money to be allocated for the erection of thatch houses in the SS–if oil had come from the Fulani North——-? Nigeria is due for a break up–The only thing that binds us together as a Nation are the oil wells in the Niger delta—-Yet the fools from the SS- hardly ever see themselves as such–They steal from the oil producing communities to appease the Fulanis and Yorubas—-like Obj—ati buhari—–What Nigeria needs is a break up of the country–Not the fake rule of Fulanis again–What has Buhari done with the budget for this year—has he purchased one bag of cement to fix our roads nay——————all he does is to go about borrowing money left right centre daily——so let him release the funds—are they not awooof money from the SS-?–Did it come from the cotton fields in the North or cocoa from the South west? That is why they wanted Jonathan gone so that they can steal as much as they want–animals

    • Omotolaaraujo

      If you had a brain, you’d be dangerous. Nigeria is never going to break apart, and Jonathan is never going to be elected to anything again. You can cry till the Fulani cows come home, Buhari has put a stop to the chop.

      • Festus

        Yes oooo! Frustration has already burnt this man,s brain, if he had at all!! Burning spear has always been an ill wind!!

    • Mark Nsikan

      stop sharing ur stupidity….i almost caught the bug,but i had anti nonsense protection….u are duin urslv no goood..plz kindly go back tu sch!!..now,plz…slap urslv four times!!

      • burning spe

        @ wahala—–listen more to radio Biafra and stop peeping into comments posted by me to help improve your regional thoughts against the SS–or the Niger Delta—-people———————-aware u have a long way to go–without us-being forced to tag foolishly along yr folks deported back home from Ivory Coast–in 196————-

        • Buhari4Ever

          Deri Orbuka, you should be listening to Radio Ijaw instead.

    • Buhari4Ever

      Deri Orbuka, frustration will certainly kill you. Better start putting your house in order.

  • B.Messi

    I have said it time and time again, what the RMAFC has prescribed as salaries and allowances for these guys and even the president and V.P IS NOT extravagant(about a million/month is reasonable).
    ‘slashing’ their salaries means NOTHING. THE REAL MONEY IS MADE FROM THE ‘PERKS’ OF OFFICE. THE EXECUTIVE MAKE THEIRS THRU SHADY OVER INFLATED CONTRACTS..THE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS THRU THESE DUBIOUS SATANIC ‘CONSTITUENCY PROJECTS’.
    Are lawmakers there to make laws or execute projects?? Anyone familiar with the workings of these pretenders know THEY execute these ‘projects’ THEMSELVES..that is where they even get around to execute them.
    THAT IS WHERE THEY FLEECE THE COUNTRY.
    Obj had a running battle with them..same with jonathan/okonjo who had to cave in.
    THESE ARE THE REAL INDICATORS OF THE GENUINESS OR OTHERWISE OF SAI BABA’S ANTI-KWAROPSHUN WAR..NOT CHASING PERCEIVED OPPONENTS.
    THIS IS THE REAL ‘KOKO’.
    I admired GMB as a hard military head of state..PMB seems to be a diluted version..tainted by perceived ethno/religious flaws.
    WILL THE ‘MAN OF STEEL’ STAMP HIS FOOT AND TELL THESE PRETENDERS TO GO TO HE*L??
    IS HE STILL MADE OF STEEL OR FURA DA NONO?

    This is the real Litmus Test..not vendetta trials at the CCT.
    THIS IS THE REAL ‘KOKO’.

  • B.Messi

    Is it true? IS IT TRUE WHAT WE ARE HEARING??
    News coming out of Naij has it that the Senate has adjourned till Tuesday next week..WITHOUT receiving the Ministerial list!
    One funny guy told us we would receive it on ‘September 31st’!
    He was called all sorts of unprintable names by the APC sons-of-anger.
    But from all indications, we will have to wait till September 37th!!
    I’m confused..do we still blame this on jonathans ‘late’ handover notes??
    LORD HAVE MERCY!!!

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    President Muhammadu Buhari,should finally make it clear to the national assembly members that Nigeria can no afford to continue to finance the dubious-constituency projects as there is no public funds to meet such challenge anymore.State governor and commissioners should be the only officials handling all constituency projects all over Nigerai no lawmakers who normally pocketed the constituency projects funds as there no no visible constituency projects anywhere in Nigeria but just a mean of siphoning public funds by lawmakers.

    • BUHARIMICE

      Another fake Buhari-MICE from Ondo state where he was forced to pay ransom to the Fulanis who kidnapped his Uncle Falae–Yet he is still tagging behind the Fulani MAN LIKE A MICE—a He goat–without a home or owner—Buhari is a curse to Nigeria–now promoted to oil Minister without shame————————did he study oil politics—-what is his qualification—shame on MUMU DAVID WEST ATI AMAECHI–who foolishly thought Buhari will make then-oil ministers–so were forced or tricked into insulting Jonathan—for the Fulanis ant Yorubas——-animals

      • PeterPaul1

        You know, you can post your comments without all these name calling. An intelligent and responsible way of achieving the same goal is through the use of innuendos. Give it a try.

        • Aminu-Kolawole Onyekwere

          …Of course sir! but we ask you, what fun would that be?

      • Aminu-Kolawole Onyekwere

        Look here sir,

        We don’t care if you start shitting on every stairway you see! The Yoruba’s, Hausa’s and Igbo’s are united as Nigerians and you better hope none of us catches you while you are writing your continuous insult to the nation.

        You will taste what we feed you twice. first from your tongue,,,,second from the other end!

        This is not a treat…….we just think you will enjoy the meal so much that you will want to taste it again and we have the foresight to prepare for such a predicament.

    • Aminu-Kolawole Onyekwere

      We disagree with your comment (for Buhari’s sake)….albeit for technical reasons, but this is the first time someone on this forum with “Dr.” in front of his/her name has made any sense.!

      While we concur with the underlying facts of your comment, we rule it null and void with respect to the situation on the ground. You did not spend enough time on the repercussions of your proposed actions. If Buhari does as you advised, as the head of a democratic Nigeria. His actions will be unconstitutional and he will be impeached! Heck…..we will lead the impeachment process!

      There must be a better way to handle he problems you speak of!

      We beg you not to hide your voice…….the whole world needs more thinkers!

  • share Idea

    What has this news article got to do with current expectations in the country – ministerial list.

    There is a limit to which lying leader and his handlers can deceive the nation.

  • Wale

    “A Development Fund General Warrant – an authority to make payments – signed by the permanent secretary in the ministry of finance, A. M. Daniel-Nwaobia, dated September 10, 2015, asked the Accountant General to release N12.5 billion for the first quarter of 2015.”

    Ms. Nwaobia (an igbo from Plateau) should be very careful of what she signs, they need to show us what they’ve been doing with the past billions. Personally, I think this money should go to the local governments, not the legisla-thieves.
    On the other hand; Jonathan really planted his cronies in sensitive and strategic places under his administration, and many of them are still there. House cleaning continues.

    • emmanuel

      You are a beast. You want your person there? Na the woman establish constituency projects.
      Oluremi, Ashafq and even Abike Erewa collected that money all through. Scum

  • emmanuel

    This is the single most useless spending engaged in nyvthe Nation called Nigeria. No one become responsible for maintaing a Federal Road excuted by a Local community once executed by a Law maker. That renders such a waste and becomes enviromental polution eventually.
    Have you seen the boreholes dug by them? The life span are usually very short and no one maintan them thereafter, because they may have moved to collect monies for other projects and after four years, it is another person who has nothing to do with the previous.
    Shame Nigeria.
    Let Buhari stop this fraud if he is a man and can survive the crooks, including Oluremi Tinubu.

    • Eniriches

      You were making sense, until you brought in Oluremi Tinubu. That’s pathogmonic sign of a wailer.

  • David Adeniran

    Awon Jegudujera.