From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As part of its efforts to curb corruption in public procurements in Nigeria, an accountability NGO, Connected Development (CODE), at the weekend trained select locals to track N6.4 billion in 2020 and 2021 constituency projects in Kaduna State.
The locals are equipped as Community Monitoring Teams (CMTs) to track constituency projects in the northern state.
The constituency projects would be tracked under a three-year MacArthur Foundation supported “Deepening Citizens’ Interest in Government Spending and Addressing Accompanying Corrupt Practices (DeSPAAC)” project, the organisation said.
Project Manager Kinsley Agu indicated at the opening of the training in Kaduna that the idea was to equip the CMTs with the needed skills and information to effectively track the projects at their levels.
Agu explained that the CMTs consisted of community structures and existing “Follow the Money Champions” with equitable representation of women and men in Kaduna.
He identified some of the community structures as Community-Based Organisations, Community-Based Associations, religious and traditional leaders as well as women and youths’ groups.
‘The CMTs will be empowered to develop mechanisms to ensure that budgeted constituency projects reflect their needs, access data about projects appropriated for, and provide effective oversight on the implementation of such projects in their communities,’ he stated.
‘After the training, the CMTs will organise community outreaches, and engage duty bearers via town hall meetings and strategic advocacy visits on community needs and government appropriations.
‘They will be expected to step down the skills acquired to other community members and integrate local communications systems and other available media platforms.
‘A total of N6.4 billion was earmarked for constituency projects in Kaduna State by the Federal Government: N3.5 billion in 2020 and N2.9 billion in 2021,’ he said.
Earlier, CODE’s Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Onochie Mokwunye noted that most of the constituency projects were planned and sited without inputs of the community members leading to duplication and waste.