‘I have nothing to do with allocations, disbursements, implementation’
By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, representing Southern Borno Senatorial District, says he has nothing to do with N2.436 billion Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIPs) allegedly allocated in 2016 for constituency projects in his district.
Ndume said the projects execution is normally handled by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.
The district has nine local government areas: Biu, Hawul, Shani, Bayo, Kwaya Kusar, Chibok, Damboa, Askira-Uba and Gwoza.
Our correspondent gathered that funds for ZIPs are fully disbursed yearly to relevant MDAs and contracts executed under a programme must be certified by relevant National Assembly representatives through the Ministry of Special Duties (Presidency) before payments are made for projects implementation.
This is not the first time the senator is reacting to claims of poor or non-execution of projects in Southern Borno.
He once spoke on behalf of lawmakers from the North-East when it was alleged that over N19 billion ZIPs allocations were made by the Budget Office of the Federation and Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) for execution of projects.
Ndume insisted that MDAs were the ones that hired contractors to execute constituency projects while lawmakers only recommended projects and certified payments before execution.
He described the suggestion that lawmakers in the zone misappropriated funds meant for constituency projects as spurious and baseless.
But reacting to a new report suggesting that, in 2016 alone, N2.436 billion was allocated to constituency projects in Southern Borno but without evidence of execution and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army did not exercise his oversight of supervision, Ndume said: “I am not involved in implementation of constituency projects.
“Yes, sometimes, there are issues relating to non-release of funds earmarked to agencies or contractors responsible for the execution of such projects.
“My duty as a lawmaker is to submit areas of intervention, but not to supervise or implement.
“And so, it is unfortunate that some people who a parading themselves as my enemies would issue statement against me as regards constituency projects.
“It is on record that I have personally drilled many boreholes, constructed classroom blocks, in addition to procurement of over 1,000 desks which were distributed to public schools across communities in my constituency.
“I was the one who drilled a borehole at Marama Women Development Centre, and in Hawul local government area alone, I drilled five boreholes in Tashan Alade, Kinging and Ngwa among other communities.
“In Biu, I drilled over 30 boreholes in the past four years with my personal rigs.
“These have led to the reduction in cases of cholera. You can go there and verify.
“I just drilled four boreholes in Askira -Uba, one at Government Secondary School Uba, one at Emir’s palace, another one at Low Cost and one at Lassa town.
“In Gwoza Local Government Area where I hail from, I drilled nine boreholes.
“You can visit all these places to verify. I want to commend the North East Development Commission, NEDC, as they have upgraded these boreholes from hand pump to solar.
“In the area of agriculture, I procured 10 brand new tractors to add to the 10 donated by the Federal Government as constituency project. “We have distributed at least two tractors to each of the nine local government areas in three years.
“This is in addition to annual distribution of 10 trucks of 6,000 bags of fertilizer to our teeming farmers.
“Even for this year’s cropping season, about 10 trucks of fertilizer have been stocked in Dadin Kowa town of Gombe State for onward distribution to our farmers as the rainy season sets in.
“In the area of youth empowerment, over 2,000 people, mostly youths, across the district have received N500, 000 and above each from COVID-19 Relief Fund which I facilitated for my people.
“The claim that delegates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, have concluded arrangements to vote me out in the forthcoming primaries is not true because our party was not expected to affirm delegates until May 14, 2022. “It is unfortunate that some people continue fabricate lies against me but they will not succeed Insha Allah”.