By Ed Malik, A | January 19, 2023

Prominent civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Wednesday, received a clarification from the National Assembly on a project for inner roads for the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze located in the Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement said a member of the Finance Committee in the National Assembly (NASS) contacted the group and clarified that the college in Umunze was used as executing agency for the project in Surulere I constituency of Lagos State where the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila comes from.

The Finance Committee member also provided portions of the 2022 Appropriation Amendment for the National Assembly Constituency Project which listed the college in Umunze as an executing agency for construction and reconstruction of inner access roads in the college and other places in Nigeria including one in Olodeokuta, Aralile in the Surulere LGA with a sum of N207.9m.

HURIWA had called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe the Speaker of the House of Assembly and the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, over an alleged swap of constituency project.

HURIWA said it is important to note that the Speaker and the Minister did not divert or swap any project from Umunze to Surulere. In fact, the ICPC recently rated the college in Umunze high in its evaluation exercise of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for 2022. The commission scored the college 77.38 per cent and commended the institution for the structures and processes put in place to promote efficiency.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The document by a finance committee member in the legislature shows that in the National Assembly budgeting system, executing agencies like federal establishments are usually mandated as executing agencies of projects captured under their subhead that aren’t necessarily inside the location of the said executing agencies.

“The document was furnished to HURIWA by the office of the speaker by an official who preferred to be anonymous. From the document, there are evidences to show that the project executed under the subhead of Federal College of Education Umunze. The document shows institution in Lagos executed jobs in the northern states and similarly executing federal institutions in the East executed job outside of the location of such institutions.

“The legislator further requested that with the documentary proofs to the contrary, it is therefore, crucial to inform the public that the Speaker did not divert or swap projects from the South-East to South-West but that the legislature has a technical template for budgeting in which executing agencies of the Federal Government most time are allotted jobs outside of their locations.

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