N24m constituency project found in rep member's office

N24m constituency project found in rep member's office

- The information communication technology centre, a supposed constituency project, was discovered poorly sited in Adekoya Adesegun's office

- BudgIT also says the ICT centre as established by the lawmaker, only has 15 computer sets and accessories

A N24 million information communication technology centre meant for Ago Iwoye in Ogun state, has been discovered in the constituency office of a member of the House of Representatives, The Cable reports.

BudgIT, an organisation that believes in the right of citizens to have access to and understand public budgets, says the 2016 constituency project was fully installed in the lawmaker’s office with poor constituents asked to pay for identity cards.

The project was found located in Ago Iwoye, Ijebu North local government area which has no less than 20,000 residents.

N24m constituency project found in rep member's office

The constituency office which doubles as ICT centre, a 2016 project

The report released by BudgIT says the area harbours youths, mostly students in the secondary and tertiary institutions in the Ago Iwoye, and this provision is crucial to the community.

When BudgIT’s project tracking officer (PTO) revisited the town in February 2017 to observe the implementation of the ICT centre provision, it was surprising to see that the project has been installed at the constituency office of Adekoya Adesegun with only 15 computers.

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BudgIT says its personnel accompanied the Tracka Field Officer and held an advocacy meeting with residents of Ago Iwoye in October 2016, who were totally oblivious of the budget provision.

In their local language, they were informed about the 2016 provision of the ICT centre in the community.

They were also provided with paper copies of related line items in the budget, with names and contact details of the responsible government officials in charge of the projects.

NAIJ.com learnt that at the meeting, the residents were enlightened on the roles of elected public officials and encouraged to be involved in the budgeting process and their rights to demand government accountability to ensure service delivery.

The report said that a field officer reported that school officials mentioned that Adesegun visited the Olabisi Onabanjo University offering to supply computers to the existing ICT department.

Despite the huge amount allotted to this project, there was no new ICT centre constructed in the community and only about 15 computers and other accessories were installed at the constituency office of the lawmaker which now serves as the ICT centre.

"We learnt residents are required to pay N500 for identification cards, N1000 for desktop publishing and N300 per hour for internet browsing.

“The question is: who receives this money and why are citizens paying for a FG funded project?

“This provision is another instance of how citizens in the rural areas are underserved.

“The residents are extremely unsatisfied with the location of the ‘ICT Centre’ as it is undoubtedly unable to offer much succour to the hundreds of youth in the community.

“BudgIT is worried that the current legislator has decided to appropriate a community project as a private project as his inability to win the next election might jeopardise the entire project.

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“It is important to note that if such project is built with public funds, it must be positioned in a place where citizens have equal access to the project irrespective of political affiliation,” the report said.

The statement from BudgIT added: “We are not certain that the entire supplied computers and other equipment amounts to N24 million allocated for the project.

“We ask that Honourable Adekoya Adesegun provide the actual expense of the project and explain why the centre is in a private location.

“Tracka, a project by BudgIT, is a citizen-driven platform where people irrespective of their location can collaborate, track and give feedback on public projects around them.”

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Source: Naij.com

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