President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said N1 trillion had been spent on constituency projects in 10 years with no direct bearing on the lives of the ordinary Nigerians.
“It is on record that in the past 10 years, N1 trillion has been appropriated for constituency projects yet the impact of such huge spending on the lives and welfare of ordinary Nigerians can hardly be seen,” he stated.
Speaking at the National summit on ‘’Diminishing Corruption in the Public Service’’ organised by Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) in collaboration with Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in Abuja, the president called on National Assembly to hasten the passage of the Special Crimes Court Bill.
He urged the judiciary to support the creation of the special court.
His words: ‘’The fight against corruption is of course not only for government and anti-corruption agencies alone. All arms and tiers of government must develop and implement anti-graft measures.
‘’I invite the legislative and judicial arms of government to embrace and support the creation of the Special Crimes Court that Nigerians have been agitating for to handle corruption cases.’’
Mr Buhari noted that the passage of the piece of legislation was a “specific priority” of his administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020.
On the recent directive to all agencies of government to enroll into Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Buhari instructed ICPC to beam its searchlight on erring public institutions, adding that the initiative was to halt the padding of personnel budgets and diversion or misappropriation of capital budgets.
He went on: ‘’I am aware that the commission recently conducted system studies and review of many MDAs to evaluate processes relating to transparency and accountability in personnel and capital spending through which you successfully blocked over N9 billion from being diverted from the 2019 personnel budget.
‘’That was a proactive prevention measure. I have directed that all agencies of government must enroll on IPPIS to eliminate the padding of personnel budgets.
“I urge ICPC to beam its searchlight on all agencies yet to embrace the IPPIS and our e-government platform in order to fully halt the padding of personnel budgets and the diversion or misappropriation of capital budgets.”
The president also used the occasion, which marked the launch of the Constituency Projects Transparency Group (CPTG) Report Phase One, to reiterate his appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to join in the fight against corruption.
Buhari pleaded: ‘’The war against corruption cannot be won without prevention, enforcement, public education and enlightenment.
“I encourage the ICPC and other law enforcement agencies to intensify their efforts in public education, enlightenment and engagement with citizens.
“I also urge our development partners, civil society organisations and the media to continue to support our efforts to strengthen ethical values and integrity in Nigeria.”
He lauded the new board of the anti-graft agency for major enforcement and preventive initiatives, including the System Study Review, tracking of zonal intervention projects, popularly called constituency projects, and collaboration with the National Social Investment Office.
Buhari reaffirmed that his administration will continue to support anti-corruption agencies to recover ill-gotten wealth and prosecute offenders while the proceeds are remitted to the treasury.
He acknowledged that graft was the root cause of most of the major problems besetting the country with its attendant negative effects manifesting in poverty, insecurity, weak educational system, poor health facilities and services among others.