The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) in Nigeria has urged the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to ensure contractors executing substandard constituency projects are brought to book.
CHRICED made the call as it commended the ICPC in Kano State, northwest Nigeria, for going after contractors of constituency projects that are not in line with contract specifications.
The Executive Director of CHRICED, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, praised the commission for its dedication and commitment to tracking constituency projects across the country.
The tracking exercise is an initiative of the ICPC to combat corruption in the country by focusing on how well funds allocated for critical sectors of education, health, agriculture, water resources and power by the government are utilised.
During the first phase of the exercise in 2019, over 524 projects were tracked across 12 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
In 2020, the second phase of the exercise led to 300 contractors returning to project sites and completing abandoned or shoddily executed public projects.
‘CHRICED observations and findings during the constituency project tracking revealed that a good number of the projects implemented by contractors were poorly executed, just as the contact sums are over-bloated’, Zikirullahi said in a statement.
‘CHRICED similarly observed in the course of the tracking that some blocks of classrooms constructed as recently as in 2020 are already in a state of disrepair.
‘CHRICED similarly noted that in several cases, contracts were awarded for the construction of classrooms and supply of furniture, but the contractors only built the classroom blocks without supplying the furniture.
‘This, and similar underhand practices, constitute serious breaches of the specifications of the various contract terms.
‘There was also an instance where a contractor signed up to install 35 units of solar-powered street lights in communities in Gezawa/Gabasawa Federal Constituency. The tracking team was however only able to trace 20 street lights.
‘All of these instances of corruption and abuse of due process, lead to the violation of the rights of Nigerians in the areas where those acts are being perpetrated.
‘It is equally pertinent to note that these acts of corruption exert serious pressures and costs, especially on marginalized, poor and vulnerable citizens, including youth, women and people with disabilities’.
Zikirullahi called on Nigerians to increase their level of engagement with key stakeholders at the community level to bolster project tracking and accountability.
Photo source: Jeremy Weate