The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has embarked on post-inspection visits to monitor the implementation of constituency projects in six states across the geo-political zones in Nigeria.
The ICPC constituted the Constituency Projects Tracking Group (CPTG) to ensure project delivery of social services to citizens, recovery of diverted public funds, and increased performance of the enforcement mandate of the ICPC.
The focus of the CPTG are people-centred projects such as education, health, water, rural electrification, security and infrastructure.
The 12 states mapped out in the first phase were Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Kano, Kogi, Lagos, Osun and Sokoto with a few in the FCT being handled by the headquarters as ‘test cases’.
Reports from the Commission showed that the total appropriation for all the tracked projects was N24.3 billion while the value of all projects was N22.2 billion.
The report also showed that over 200 contractors have returned to the sites and unexecuted projects are beginning to gain momentum.
Hospital equipment, ambulances, farm tractors, and other vehicles have been tracked and returned to average Nigerians who need them the most and who would have been otherwise denied their use, the agency said.
Six states from each of the geo-political zones where work had been slow and where there was less compliance by contractors and agencies since the beginning of the initiative were selected for the post-inspection visits.
The states are Osun, Edo, Benue, Sokoto, Adamawa and Imo States.
Among the projects visited was Otuo Earth Dam in Edo State, an N800 million project.
A former lawmaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Pally Iriase, in 2016 nominated the contract for construction of a comprehensive earth dam for people of Owan East/West federal constituency at the sum of N500 million which sprawled into the 2017 budget with an allocation of N250 million.
The contract was placed under the supervision of Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority (BORBDA).
According to the Head of CPTG, Hassan Hafiz, the project actually started as a constituency project and consists of four components: the construction of the dam itself, the pumping station (solar-powered), reticulation systems and access road to the dam site.
Three of them form part of the constituency projects except for the pumping station that is the core mandate of the agency.
“What happened was that the initial cost was N400 million but the design had some flaws. When this was re-designed, the cost skyrocketed to about N800 million. This is far above the agency approving threshold and so it was passed to FEC (Federal Executive Council) and the sum was approved. So it started as a constituency project but at the end of the federal government is coming into it without the sponsoring legislature,” noted Mr Hafiz, the Head of the CPTG.
If the dam is successfully completed, it is meant to generate potable drinking water to over 5,000 residents in Otuo community and its environs, which is one of the major challenges faced by the community dwellers.
In Imo state, the team visited a civic centre.
The project was nominated in 2016 by former a Senator, Hope Uzodinma, who represents Imo West senatorial district.
The project “Construction of the multipurpose civic centre in Omuma, Oru East LGA” was nominated at the sum of N130 million under the National Directorate of Employment. Another N136.6 million was budgeted in 2017 for furnishing, procurement and installation of 100 KVA generator in the said civic centre.
Data from UDEME showed that 70 per cent of the fund was released for implementation of ZIPs in 2016 and 80 per cent in 2017, implying that nothing less than N200 million has been released for the project.
The entrance to the building and the exterior presents a picture of a civic centre. It had no signage to indicate that it was a constituency project. However, on close inspection, the structure has 35 rooms with 4 suites, and two open spaces which served as receptions.
“This cannot be a civic centre, if not for this CPTI, this would definitely be his property,” noted Mr Hafiz.
In Osun state, the CPTG re-visited a community education centre at Ika Orangun and discovered that the project has been completed with additional two generators and air conditioners, compared to the last visit, but was yet to be handed over to the community.
However, it was also discovered that a shoddy work was done at CAC Gbonmi Osogbo which should have been rehabilitated, according to ZIP document with an appropriation of N140 million.
The team discovered that the ceilings were leaking and the floors were badly done.
According to Dauda Yahaya Umar, a member of the ICPC board, if the fight against corruption is not felt at the grassroots then it is not right.
“We selected some projects we were not comfortable with the report and embarked on this exercise so that uncompleted projects are completed”.
“It is sad and unfortunate that in Nigeria, a leader who has been elected by his people to carry out certain projects decided to change it to a hotel. What is the relationship of a civic centre to a hotel?” he asked
According to him, ”there will be continuous investigations and project inspection”.
UDEME, an initiative of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) participated in the follow-up visits to the states.