From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
A volunteered anti-corruption group known as “I Follow The Money”, said it has tracked over ten million worth of constituency projects abandoned by lawmakers and have ensured their completion between 2012 and 2019.
This was disclosed by the Founder of the organization, Hamzat Lawal during the flag-off of “I Follow The Money” Campus Awareness Project held at the University of Jos, Plateau State.
Lawal urged the students of the University to use their youthful skills to track public funds meant for infrastructural projects in their various communities.
He explained that the programme was initiated to mobilize Nigerian youths to hold their elected representatives in government accountable for the resources disbursed to them.
He noted that the project (I Follow The Money) which was initiated in 2012 was meant to track funds meant for projects in our various communities.
“This is public funds and we members of the public have a duty to monitor the disbursement of this monies and ensure they are used for what they are meant for.
According to him, “We have been able to track over 10 million US dollars worth of projects since 2012, and we have ensured that those projects were completed, which are mostly social amenities.
“As I speak, we are moving from one campus to the other to sensitise students and youths on the need to hold their representatives accountable.”
In its efforts to prevent fraud and abandonment of constituency projects by federal and state legislators, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has vowed to monitor the implementation of such projects across Nigera.
The Commission equally said it has uncovered projects in 12 states of the federation which some lawmakers earmarked for implementation as constituency projects, saying that funds had been released for the projects which have been abandoned.
Mrs Okwong Miriam Ese, a Chief Superintendent of ICPC,
Ese explained that the Commission is partnering with “I Follow The Money” Project, a Non Governmental Organisation to mobilise students and young people in the country to monitor the performance of their representatives in government and uncover corrupt practices within and outside government.
“For ICPC we have a project that is currently ungoing; it is call Constituency Projects Tracking Group (CPTG). The programme monitors projects across the country, particularly projects that have been budgeted for and the money released but have not been implemented.
According to her, “Those constituency projects are laying down unattended to by some legislators nationwide. We are currently working in 12 states where those projects were uncovered to find out why those projects have not been executed and what are some of the issues surrounding it.
“We are asking the lawmakers to get the people responsible to go back to site and get the work done in the interest of the constituents.
“We will monitor the 9th National Assembly and State legislators to ensure that projects that will be approved for their constituency are judiciously carried out. That is why we are partnering with “I Follow The Money” Project which has membership all over the federation,” she maintained.
In her remarks, Mrs Grace Pam,
the Coordinator of National Human Rights Commission, in Plateau State, urged the students to be conscious of their fundamental human rights, and that it is their right to monitor those they have sent to represent them in government.
Pam further urged the students to expose cases of child abuse, kidnapping, lynching and extrajudicial killings, saying they are also violations of fundamental human rights.