‘Why civil society organisations want constituency projects probed’
The Executive Director of Divine Era Development & Social Rights Initiative (DEDASRI), Oge Enwelum, has said the call for probe of constituency projects nationwide by civil society organisations (CSOs) was necessitated by their high abandonment rate.
She stated that what they saw during a recent community constituency project tracking conducted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) in partnership with non-governmental organisations did not justify the huge expenditure.
Speaking in Enugu, during a town hall meeting and community engagement for Enugu South Local Council on cost of corruption, constituency projects and social accountability, Enwelum stressed the need to plug leakages.
The event, which was the second phase of the Strengthening Citizens Resistance against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP –C) project, was aimed at eliciting interest of communities in the fight against corruption.
On their observations, she noted: “During the field visits, we discovered a lot of abandoned projects across the state and also in other states where the ICPC works. So, we designed this particular programme to bring on board communities to participate in taking ownership and monitoring constituency projects in their area. We discovered during the visits that the people didn’t have idea of what constituency projects are all about.
Once a project comes to their communities, they take it that it is a favour from the representatives; they don’t know that the projects are Federal Government money and they feel they don’t have any stake about that particular project.”
The executive director pointed out that they were shocked by a discovery in one of the senatorial zones of Enugu State, where the senator allegedly locked up materials meant for constituency projects in his compound for almost a year, stressing that the intervention saw to their distribution.Enwelum explained that in citing constituency projects, community needs were not taken into account, adding that the engagement would enable communities demand accountability from their representatives as well as tackle those social norms that promote graft.
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