…Link abandoned projects to rising insecurity
By Chris Ochayi & Fortune Eromosele
The President Muhammadu Buhari led administration has been advised to constitute a Federal Projects Advocacy and Accountability Committee with a view to help in tackling the issues of abandoned projects in the country.
The Association for Public Policy Analysis, (APPA-NIGERIA), which issued the task, through its National President, Comrade Princewill Okorie, at a media briefing Tuesday, in Abuja, noted that the fight against insecurity in Nigeria must not be left to only military and security agencies.
Comrade Okorie stressed further a committee like this if constituted, would deal with public servants and legislators who create conducive environment for crime and insecurity to thrive in the country.
According to him, “Given the definition of National Security provided by Draft National Defence Policy, such conduct of Government officials which provide fertile grounds for crime and insecurity should be prevented and the perpetrators identified and dealt with as official criminals in the nation’s quest for security, unity and peace.
“The authors of the Draft National Defence Policy described security of the nation as an all encompassing condition in which citizens can live in freedom, peace, safety, participate fully in the process of governance enjoy the protection of fundamental rights, have access to resources and necessities of life, and inhabit an environment which is conducive to their health and well-being.”
Okorie noted that as slated in section 24, b, c, d, and e, of the 1999 constitution, the Federal Projects and Policies Advocacy and Monitoring Programme (FEPAM) was enacted in October 2019, to advocate for execution of federal projects at the states, monitor and report findings with regards to execution status.
“In other to practically demonstrate our commitment to FEPAM, we extracted, analyzed and documented capital appropriations made for five South-East state in Federal Appropriations Act (Federal Budget) from 2016 to 2020. The exercise made us discover that 5,242 projects were appropriated for the five states,” he added.
He further called on South-East Governor’s to set up South-East Federal Projects Advocacy and Accountability Centres in the five states to monitor and report on execution of federal projects appropriated for the zone by the federal government.
“If they all account for their roles in execution of projebbbcts appropriated for the State under their watch, Imo people and South-East people by extension will appreciate the effort of the federal government and identify those that have held the development of the zone down”, he stressed.
Okorie reiterated that the state of insecurity in the country today, manifesting in form of kidnapping, rape, banditry, robbery calls for the need to appraise the nation’s national security policy to identify what has gone wrong.
According to him “This is the reason why it has become not only imperative but also urgent that federal government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari should make effort to curb crimes of physical insecurity such as kidnapping, rape, banditry, also curb the official crime of diversion of funds meant for execution of federal projects in states, failure to monitor contractors to ensure they deliver according to specification.
“Failure to make public, releases made by Federal government for execution of federal projects in states, failure to monitor and report on expenditures made for implementation of annual federal budgets, these acts are similar to crimes of physical crime of kidnapping if not worst because the perpetrators take advantage of public trust bestowed on them as public officials to deny millions of Nigerian citizens the opportunity of benefiting from resources of the federal government.”