Abandoned projects, lack of transparency worry stakeholders
At least 12,000 infrastructure projects have remained abandoned by the Federal Government in many parts of the country including the Southeast. State governments in the region also have 300 other uncompleted projects in the area.
Executive Director of the Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDSR), Mr. Emeka Ononamadu, disclosed these figures during a one–day summit on ‘Budget Transparency and Open Public Resource Management,’ held at the Links Hotel, Owerri, the Imo State capital, yesterday.
Ononamadu expressed worry over the alleged abandonment and stressed the need for governments to disclose to the citizens the real budgets they propose and appropriate in transparent and open manner.
According to Ononamadu, the research done by credible sources revealed that, of all abandoned projects in Nigeria, the Federal Government has 12,000.
He said the trips made by the group to verify the abandoned projects in Imo, Anambra and Abia, recorded 300 after several billions of naira were sunk in them, adding that they traverse roads, hospitals, schools, markets, electricity projects, among others.
Development experts, policy makers, representatives of human rights advocates attended the summit, youths, women/community leaders, captains of industries and the media.
“We all need to ask why infrastructure is inadequate in the Southeast zone. I am foreseeing that future governments will continue to build the same invisible infrastructure,” Ononamadu said.
“A research shows that Nigeria has over 12,000 abandoned projects that were paid for. How many of these 12,000 projects are in the Southeast. A little excursion to verify the truth of this assertion in six local councils in Imo State, five in Abia and Anambra, revealed that in Health, education and road construction, there are over 300 abandoned or incomplete projects. We also found out that effective public water supply has collapsed in the entire Southeast; yet all the state budgets had allocation to their ministry of water resources.
Regretting that borehole businesses now thrive on decay of water infrastructure, he said: “It is no longer a hidden fact that Southeast has the lowest annual public revenue and expenditure. Why is it difficult for different governments in the zone to let the citizens know how much their over-publicised projects cost? Let me put it the other way round: Why is it indirectly seen as an affront to governors and speakers, when a citizen demands a copy of his or her government’s annual budget?”
Ononamadu noted, with regrets that the South-South budget for one year is that of Southeast for three years.
In a keynote address, a public speaker, the Programmes Director of Development Dynamics, Dr. Jude Ohanele, in his paper “Accessibility and Inaccessibility of Government Budget — The Experience in South East Nigeria,” regretted that budgets are not made available either electronically or otherwise, and called on citizens to engage governments.