Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
A project assessment report conducted by a non-governmental organisation, Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE), has exposed corrupt practices in the award and execution of constituency projects being facilitated by federal lawmakers.
The group said it carried out a nationwide assessment study on the implementation of federal government projects in some selected states in the six geographical zones of the country with the assistance from the European Union through UNODC and the UNDP.
The states are Imo, Jigawa, Ekiti, Cross Rivers, Benue and Gombe.
In all, ACE said it identified 171 capital projects ranging from roads construction, building of school laboratories, boreholes, youth and women empower schemes.
Speaking in an interview with journalists in Abuja yesterday, the acting General Secretary of ACE, Mma Odi, said the study has revealed a lot of sharp practices in the execution of federal government projects in the affected states, particularly constituency projects.
Odi said the report showed lack of proper adherence to the provisions of the Procurement Act in the award of contract for the execution of projects by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), a situation that has led shoddy project implementation and even outright abandonment.
â€œWe were able to mobilise 899 citizens in these states and build a capacity of 1,232 stakeholders in these six states; we have tracked a total of 171 capital projects; from our result, we found out that very few of the capital projects have been executed, some of them very poorly executed and many of them are still ongoing, but there are no contractors in the site,â€ she said.
For instance, the report stated that in the case of an empowerment project for youths and women meant for Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of Imo State, the communities denied any such intervention.
Similarly, a school rehabilitation project at Group of Schools in Mbutu, Abo Mnaise in Imo State, it was discovered that out of six classrooms listed for renovation under the 2015 federal budget, only five were executed.
â€œFive classroomsâ€™ block were built instead of six as captured in 2015 federal budget. The community people agreed that the project has been completed and that it is serving them well. The ceilings of most classrooms have fallen,â€ Odi further stated.
In Jigawa State, the report showed that a project for the drilling of an earth dam worth N38 million locate at Madaka village was abandoned by the contractors after collecting the money.
In Benue State, one of the project sites visited by the ACE team in Wunne Tarka where an earth dam worth N150 million was to be constructed, the team found nothing on ground in the site.
The ACE scribe who lamented the poor state of job delivery at most of the sites the group assessment team visited, said what was mind-boggling was the discovery that in some places there was nothing there even after full payment had been made.
â€œAt many of the sites, we see equipment lying there and they have not been installed to be put into use. In some communities, we also see boreholes dug with generators there, but not being put into use,â€ she revealed.