By Soni Daniel – Abuja
Apparently goaded by the modest success recorded by its pivotal monitoring of projects undertaken by Nigerian federal lawmakers nationwide, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has taken upon itself the additional task of tracking projects being executed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies across the country.
The Chairman of the ICPC, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, who dropped the hint, said the move was to ensure the delivery of quality projects by those assigned to undertake them in order to add value to Nigerians and justify such public expenditure.
Owasanoye, who spoke at a two-day retreat for management of the Commission and members of the National Assembly Committees on Anti-Corruption, said that tracking of executive projects, in addition to the on-going tracking of constituency projects would start this month.
Owasanoye said that the new initiative, called ‘Constituency and Executive Project Tracking Group’, became necessary following the huge success recorded by the Commission in the tracking of constituency projects.
He said: “We fully appreciate that apart from constituency projects, other projects being executed by ministries, departments and agencies that are not connected to members of the National Assembly will also be tracked. Consequently, starting from March, ICPC will commence the tracking of both executive and constituency projects.”
The ICPC boss stated that the Commission had already listed priority sectors and projects for the exercise adding that the focus would be on key sectors of education, health, agriculture, power and water resources.
He further said that the Commission would employ technology to track all priority projects, even as the 2020 national budget had been broken down and analyzed by ICPC to ensure proper tracking.
“We have already dissected the 2020 budget. We have broken it down on a sectoral basis. We will also leverage on technology. We have engaged partners who have technologies that will track all the hospitals in Nigeria. We will use these technologies so that nobody will lie to us,” Owasanoye said.
The Chairman, House Committee on Anti-Corruption, Mr. Shehu Sani decried the negative impact of corruption on the country saying that the theft of public funds earmarked for the development of critical sectors such as health, education and infrastructural projects inevitably denies the nation and its people of progress and improved well-being.
Sani said: “A people denied good health are being killed physically, a people denied good education are being killed mentally, and a people denied adequate regular power supply, good transportation system, and other infrastructural necessities that facilitate productive and gainful life, are being killed economically and emotionally.”
Sani assured that the 9th National Assembly would support the anti-corruption agencies through review of existing legislations and increased funding for ICPC and EFCC to enable them to tackle the cankerworm of corruption effectively.