President Muhammadu Buhari has said there is little to show for over one trillion Naira budgeted for constituency projects of the National Assembly members in the last 10 years.
Buhari spoke at the National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in Public Sector, which was organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, in conjunction with the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in Abuja on Tuesday.
At the event, the ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, presented the commission’s report on the first phase of constituency projects tracking initiative.
Buhari called on the National Assembly to hasten work on the Special Crimes Court Bill, saying Nigerians had been agitating for it to handle corruption cases. The President added that the ICPC report on constituency projects confirmed the fears that people at the grassroots had not benefited from the huge money that the National Assembly members had collected for the projects.
He said, “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.
“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.
“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.”
Buhari said that he was delighted that through the effort of the ICPC in the tracking of constituency projects, some contractors were returning to the site in order to complete abandoned projects.