House of Representative committee Chairman on Constituency Outreach, Mr Bello Kaoje says the era of abandonment of constituency projects with the intent to siphoning funds meant for such projects is over.
He said the committee under his watch would ensure that constituency projects were fully and timely executed according to the project’s specifications by lawmakers.
Kaoje disclosed this in Owerri on Friday at the opening ceremony of a two day retreat on `Agenda setting on constituency outreach’ sponsored by YIAGA AFRICA, in conjunction with the European Union.
He said the 9th assembly would correct age long impression that constituency projects were drain pipes.
“Gone are days when constituency projects are regarded as conduit pipes to siphon funds; the 9th assembly is committed to quality representation to ensuring that democracy dividends get to the people,” he said.
The chairman said the retreat would help members of the committee to chart a way forward by ensuring maintenance of constituency offices in the country.
Kaoje said it would afford them the opportunity to synergize with agencies and organisations responsible for supervision of constituency projects.
He said: “We want to have 360 functional constituency offices; we want to follow member’s projects to its completion and we will kill the habit of poor representation,” he said.
Executive Director of YIAGA AFRICA, Samson Itodo, in his opening remarks, said the retreat was conceived because the organisation carried out a survey and found out that the 8th assembly performed poorly in terms of constituency projects.
Itodo said the retreat was also partly borne out of the misunderstanding of the duties of legislators and the impression that it was the duty of lawmakers to give out financial handouts.
He emphasised the need to strengthen the local government system, to reduce the channel of request and allowing lawmakers to concentrate on their main functions of law making and oversight.
The executive director said the retreat would help the lawmakers to enhance their capacity and quality of their engagement between their duties as lawmakers and representation.