Completed constituency projects sponsored by Nigerian lawmakers will henceforth be labeled as ‘Facilitated by’ and no longer as ‘Donated by’, the House of Representatives Committee on Constituency Outreach has agreed.
The committee reached the conclusion at a two-day retreat in Owerri, the Imo State capital, that ended on Friday.
According to a communique sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, the 25-member committee chaired by Bello Kaoje focussed its discussions on “oversight, constituency projects for inclusive governance, constituency engagement and democratic accountability in Nigeria.”
It recommended that development partners and civil society organisations (CSOs) should be involved in monitoring and tracking of constituency projects and constituency offices.
Billboards of projects sponsored by federal lawmakers usually bear the inscription: “This project was funded by senator/honourable” representing a certain constituency.
Civil rights groups have said such labels suggest the projects were fully funded by the lawmaker, and prevent them from giving public account on zonal intervention projects.
The zonal intervention projects were first introduced during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 with the aims of ensuring equity in the allocation of projects by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in the budgets.
In its communique after the retreat, the committee said it would use its powers and mandate to ensure proper education of citizens to engage their lawmakers on constituency project implementation.
It said this would build public trust and promote democratic accountability.
The committee promised to provide an updated database of constituency projects as allocated in the Appropriation Act annually for ease of monitoring and assessment.
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”To utilise its powers and mandate to ensure proper education and improve citizens an understanding of constituency projects and effective ways of engaging lawmakers on constituency project implementation. This will build public trust and promote democratic accountability.
”To ensure proper implementation and release of funds for members’ constituency projects in line with the demands of their constituents.
”The committee also commits to providing an updated database of constituency projects as allocated in the Appropriation Act annually for ease of monitoring and assessment of constituency projects.
”To deploy its oversight powers to ensure that members set up functional constituency offices as statutorily required. This will enable effective communication between constituents and their representatives and deepen legislative accountability.
”The Committee is committed to promoting regular engagement between constituents and their representatives to promote inclusive governance.
”To encourage lawmakers to monitor and ensure the successful implementation of their constituency projects and for ease of identification appropriated constituency projects should be labelled as ‘facilitated by’ in place of ‘donated by’.
”Submit reports on the state of constituency offices and constituency projects to the House.
”To partner with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and development partners in the monitoring and tracking of constituency projects and constituency offices.”