President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that the National Assembly has received one trillion naira (1trillion) in the last ten years for constituency projects with nothing to show.
“Corruption is the cause of many major problems in our country. It is a catalyst for poverty, insecurity, weak educational system, poor health facilities and services and many other ills of our society,” Buhari said on Tuesday while speaking at the National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in Public Sector.
The event was organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in partnership with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“This government is working hard to overcome such ills. Corruption generally and public sector corruption, in particular, inhibits the ability of government to deliver infrastructure and basic services to the people,” Buhari continued.
“That is why I have reiterated on many occasions that corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria. It is a major threat to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the socio-economic transformation we are all working hard to bring about in Nigeria.
“It is on record that in the past 10 years N1 trillion has been appropriated for constituency projects, yet the impact of such huge spending on the lives and welfare of ordinary Nigerians can hardly be seen.
“The first phase report of tracking these projects by the ICPC confirms our worst fears that people at the grassroots have not benefited in terms commensurate with the huge sums appropriated for constituency projects since inception.
“I invite the legislative and judicial arms of government to embrace and support the creation of Special Crimes Court that Nigerians have been agitating to handle corruption cases. I, therefore, urge the legislature to fast-track the passage of the Special Crimes Court Bill.”
President Buhari promised his support to the commission to deal with any public servant and legislator found guilty of diverting public fund.
“I’m aware that the commission recently conducted system studies and review of many MDAs to evaluate systems and processes relating to transparency and accountability in personnel and capital spending through which you successfully blocked over N9bn from being diverted from 2019 personnel budget,” he said.
Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, the Chairman of ICPC, at the event presented the commission’s report on the tracking of constituency projects.
He noted that the ICPC discovered that Federal Universities and Health Institutions padded the personnel cost presented to the Federal Government.
“Part of our preliminary findings revealed gross abuse of personnel budget and inflation or padding of the nominal roll. As of the time we went to press we had covered about 300 MDAs and the amount inflated was about N12bn. As of today, we have discovered additional N6bn making a total of N18.624bn restrained by the ICPC.
“The exercise is still going on but we can confidently report that the MDAs are mostly academic and health institutions. For example, preliminary findings show that the University of Benin Teaching Hospital padded its budget by N1.1bn; the Federal Medical Centre, Bayelsa, N915m; the Nnamdi Azikwe University, N907m; University of Jos, N896m; University College Hospital, Ibadan N701m; Usman Dan Fodio University, N636m and University of Ibadan, N558m.”
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.