Niger Delta groups declare ‘Operation show constituency projects’
Niger Delta youths from 15 youth organizations across the nine states of the region have called on their representatives in the National Assembly to account for funds appropriated for constituency projects.
The Niger Delta Peace and Development Advocates and 14 other youth groups, took the decision at the end of a regional meeting held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, last weekend, amidst the NASS probe of the Niger Delta Development Commission, and the latter’s release of its payment report.
They said, “Investigation by NDPDA fact-finding team showed that instead of expending the money on projects that will better the lives of people in their constituencies, the bulk of it goes into equipping the lawmakers’ political war chests.”
“This often happens in order to remain relevant in their various constituencies. At times, instead of whole communities benefitting, only loyalists of lawmakers enjoy part of the funds.”
A copy of the resolution, which was made available to The Nation said, “Operation Show Your Projects” by NASS was in response to alleged fraud N40bn probe of NDDC by lawmakers.
“We urge all NASS members from Niger Delta Region to go back to their constituencies to track projects they have achieved and also the projects that are not yet achieved in this OSYP.” NDPDA’s President and Secretary, Comrades Kelvin Ebi Thomas and Jude Taunu, said.
Other groups led by Hon Uzor Raymond Okafor, Mrs Revival Ogbuagha and Victor Amadi-Mati, who signed on behalf of Youths of Positive Change in Niger Delta, Women for Positive Change in Niger Delta and ND Youth Ambassador Forum respectively, insisted that funds for constituency projects must be transparently utilised.
“We want our Lawmakers in NASS to come and show the good people of the region their track records in development and empowerment of the people that voted them in. Constituency Projects are projects nominated by lawmakers to be implemented in their various constituencies by the Federal Government which are captured in the annual national budget.”
“While members of the National Assembly nominate these projects, it is the executive that is mandated by law to implement them in its entirety. Like every other legislative houses, the National Assembly has had a fair share of controversy but one that constantly makes an appearance is the issue of corruption is the handling of constituency projects funds.”
“As front liners/stakeholders in Niger Delta Region, we therefore urge all our Lawmakers in NASS to emulate the transparency stand of the Prof. Pondei Kemebradikumo led Interim Management Committee of NDDC for coming out to publish the list of all payments made between February 20 and May 5, 2020.”