- ICPC tracking constituency projects across Nigeria
By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, has claimed that from May 2007 to May 2019, the previous administrations in the state, collected more than N2 trillion from the federation account in form of allocations and interventions “without commensurate projects.”
This is as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), has said that the Commission was tracking the execution of Constituency capital projects across the country so as to ensure proper execution. Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Bolaji Owosanoye, said this during the commemoration of the 2019 African Union Anti-Corruption Day, organised by the ICPC, Bauchi State office.
Mohammed made the allegation on Friday while inaugurating members of a committee for recovery of government’s funds and properties allegedly looted by ex-government officials from 2007 to date at the Banquet Hall, Bauchi Government House.
He further alleged that between 2015 and 2019 alone, the state’s total revenue collection stood at over N400 billion saying rudimentary audit to be conducted by the committee would show “how the funds were scandalously mismanaged.”
“Bauchi State as we speak has more than 1.3 million children out of school and another 1.3 million unemployed. Our resources were clearly diverted or outrightly squandered while our citizens grapple with poverty.
“Recent statistics show that of the eight states with total percentage debt of about 4, 000 per cent debt, Bauchi State alone has a combine profile of 783 per cent domestic and 32 external debts. Translate this in Naira and Kobo, our state has a total debt profile of more than N150 billion,” he lamented.
The governor explained that the committee’s mandate was not to witch-hunt, or settle old scores but to recover the misappropriated commonwealth of the state.
Members of the committee are Senator Isah Hamma as Chairman, Professor Sylvester Shikyil as Secretary, Alhaji Umar Barau Ningi, Brigadier General Markus Yake, Tijjani Baba Gamawa, Alhaji Musa Gora, CP Hamisu Makama, ACP Musa Kwankiyel and Malam Musa Azare.
Others are B.B Dogo, Alhaji Kamel Isah, Honourable Harsanu Guyaba, Barrister Lawal Hussaini Ibrahim, Honourable Maryam Garba Bagel, Alhaji Sani Shehu, Mr. Baba Mohammed Dadi, Alhaji Maigana Adamu Abdulkadir, Mr. Dawood Yakubu, Mr. Abdulkadir Dahuwa Mahmud, Alhaji Tijjani Abdulkadir and Barrister Muktar Abubakar Usman as assistant secretary.
Owosanoye, represented by the ICPC Commissioner, Bauchi State, Abubakar Dutsinma, said: “As we join our African brothers to create awareness on the menace of corruption and engender collective action against it today, we need to deeply understand the direct and indirect impact of corruption on all of us, especially the helpless common man.
“With corruption, citizens suffer one denial or the other, in social service, physical infrastructure and their general well-being. When N10 million is stolen from public coffers or misappropriated from a local government, 20 boreholes meant to provide potable water to the local people are never dug; the Corrupt officials and their collaborators in turn smile to the banks at the expense of the majority.
“The Commission is presently tracking the execution of Constituency capital projects across the country so as to ensure that the projects are properly executed and delivered to the communities they were meant for.”
The ICPC Chairman said that tax fraud and illicit financial flows investigation was also being conducted by the Commission as well as prosecution of corruption and money laundering, among others.
He said that efforts were geared towards recovery of identified stolen wealth would be transformational for the nation.
“Millions of Nigerians suffering denial of basic social services and lack of infrastructures such as hospitals, schools, water and employment with receive succour when stolen assets are recovered from looters.
“When you recover stolen wealth back to the original owner in a way that obviously makes the concealment of same difficult at all times, there is less controversy in corruption fight, future perpetrators are prevented from such evil enterprise, while the common people that were made poor by activities of thieves get to rejoice and bask in general prosperity,” he noted.
He lamented that the bulk of “an estimated $90 billion that leave Africa through illicit financial flows l annually might have come from Nigeria” adding that the continent certainly received less than that amount in development assistance from countries of Europe and America yearly.
According to him, the AU declared 11th July of every year as African Union Anti-corruption Day since 2017 to enable the 55 AU countries raise more awareness on corruption and propagate the supportive things people can do to fight it.
In his welcome address, the ICPC Commissioner, Bauchi State, Dutsinma, said that the fight against corruption would not succeed if Nigerians do not rise and fight against the menace.
Dutsinma, whose address was read by the Deputy Head Investigation, Mohammed Haja, said: “Either as private citizens or as public officials, we do not have to accept corruption.
“ We should therefore, make it a part of our civic responsibility by sending petitions to ICPC, EFCC, Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal, Public Complaints Commission, the Nigerian Police and relevant agencies where we are dissatisfied with the services we receive from government and where we know that government officials are committing fraud on our resources. “
A rally through major streets within the Bauchi metropolis was held by Secondary School Students, Corp Members and Staff of the ICPC, to commemorate the Day