HomeCover StoriesINVESTIGATION: How Kano youths fight corruption in constituency project execution

INVESTIGATION: How Kano youths fight corruption in constituency project execution


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By Victor Christopher @iamvictorcool

Over the years, government’s efforts aimed at bringing development through the Constituency Project, especially in the rural areas continue to be frustrated by several factors.

For instance, pupils of Kingawa Yunusawa Nomedic Primary School in Ungogo Local Government Area of Kano have been learning in dilapidated structures, and or under the trees due to lack of structure for the pupils.

A 12-year-old girl, Fiddausi Abubakar, along with hundreds of other students have been learning under that condition that lack desks, chairs, and other vital learning materials despite having representatives who benefit from constituency project every year.

“We don’t have chairs and desks, and due to lack of classrooms, we learn under trees. During the rainy season, we close the moment the cloud changes. So, because of this, some of the students are no longer coming to school”.

N100 million Goes Into Constituency Projects Every Year

In 1999, the Federal Government introduced the Constituency Project to bring needed infrastructural development to people at the grassroots by allocating constituency funds to each of the serving 109 senators and 360 reps from the 36 states and the federal capital yearly.

Executing ministries implement projects worth about N200 million on behalf of each senator yearly and half that amount per rep. Every year, about N100 billion from the year’s national budget goes into constituency projects.

Unfortunately, constituency projects have been legislators’ conduits for embezzling public funds in collaboration with top ministry officials.

Sometimes, lawmakers use their self-founded companies to bid for contracts against the spellings of the Public Procurement Act and divert the funds.

Other times, lawmakers connive with officials at the supervising ministries to award contracts to non-existent contractors.

However, a project can also be abandoned or not commenced, not because of the lawmaker’s corrupt manipulations but because the supervising ministry failed to release the funds due to bureaucratic processes.

Between January 2020 and June 2021, out of 1439 constituency projects awarded, about 288 of them worth N2.1 billion were never started, and 21 were abandoned, according to a 2022 report by BudgIT, a local social advocacy group.

These challenges, including lack of transparency and accountability, have left several communities underdeveloped in Kano.

CHRICED’s Intervention

Seeing this as a major challenge, in 2021, a non-governmental organization, the Resource Center for Human Rights and Civic Education, CHRICED started an initiative tagged “Promotion of Community Anti Corruption Initiative in Kano”.

CHRICED partnered with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), and trained over a thousand youths across the State in public contract procurement processes and project tracking.

After the training, CHRICED gave the youths project documents obtained through the ICPC. With the papers, constituency youths can locate and check the status of projects.

The nonprofit also publishes the findings across its social media handles and engages the public to discuss them during its weekly live program every Thursday on Arewa Radio, 93.1, a local radio station in Kano.

Next, CHRICED invites the legislator concerned to its outreach tagged “Community Accountability Report Back Forum”, where the representative hears the findings of the youths firsthand in the presence of ICPC agents and the media.

The legislator is made to explain why the project allocation is delayed or why a commenced project was abandoned. Where a lawmaker proves that the delay or abandonment was due to the ministry’s non-release or half-release of project funds.

However, if there is proof that a lawmaker was involved in corruption, ICPC investigates further for possible prosecution.

Commenting, CHRICED’s Senior Programme Officer, Mr. Omoniyi Adewoye says in 2021, the NGO trained community youths on how to track abandoned projects and hold legislators accountable.

Mr. Adewoye further said, “CHRICED has held 22 outreach, adding that over 1,000 locals in the state were trained on how to track projects and demand accountability”.

Impact of intervention

However, after the initiative, residents of Yunusawa in Ungogo Local Government documented the dilapidated nature of their school to a former Member Representing Ungogo/Minjibir, at the Federal House of Representatives, Sani Ma’aruf Mai-Wake.

Currently, the hard learning conditions experienced by Fiddausi Abubakar and other pupils of the School are over following the construction of 1 block of 3 classrooms by Mai-Wake as part of his constituency projects.

The facility is now a turning point for Fiddausi Abubakar and other students who had once studied under tough atmospheric conditions due to the dilapidated structure.

A ten-year-old student of the school, Sadiq Ibrahim said “he hopes to become a journalist after completing his studies someday”.

The Headmaster of the School, Manir Abdulrazak, says currently four different schools, with 2,000 students are learning in the school.

According to Manir, “The new classrooms have increased the number of students here. Currently four different schools are learning here. So, we need more classrooms to accommodate more students”.

Another Positive Impact

Also, after several follow-ups, a former lawmaker representing Nasarawa Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Nasir Ali Ahmed constructed a brand new road from Badawa Bustop to Ring-Road.

The Ward Head of Unguwar Gaya in Badawa, Alh Haliru Ahmed Ibrahim says the development projects have touched the lives of residents in the community.

Alh. Haliru however said, “The road was built without a culvert which makes water hard to pass especially during rainy season”.

However, speaking at one of CHRICED’s outreaches in Sumailla local government, the ICPC Resident Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Ibrahim Garba Kagara urges stakeholders to monitor the projects and report lapses.

Kagara however stressed that “henceforth, any contractor or legislator who failed to complete his projects to specifications would be sent back to the site”.

This story is produced with support by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, through the Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED), a non-profit organization working to promote human rights, the rule of law, democracy, and accountability.


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