The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday urged Nigerian citizens to take an active part in budget tracking to curb corruption in the country.
Concise News understands that the State Commissioner of ICPC, Akwa Ibom State, Shola Shodipo, said this in Uyo during a 2-Day training workshop on using Budget Data and Freedom of Information Act to fight corruption for civil society organizations and community representatives.
Shodipo said while speaking at the event that budget tracking was one of the tools that could be used to fight corruption in the country, stressing that this would check abuse of public funds.
He said that without budget tracking, approved financial resources meant for specific projects would be diverted and would not get to the end-users.
He added that though budget tracking “is a constitutional role of lawmakers in the National and States Assembly, the citizens should not leave it for them alone.”
According to him, he said grand corruption has been a major hindrance to the legislature in performing the onerous task of budget tracking through their oversight function.
Shodipo said “The people must accept the challenge of putting their eyes in budgetary matters. They stand to gain or lose depending on the steps they take.
“They may be lackadaisical, in which case, billions would be budgeted yearly and there won’t be value for the money which would amount to losses for them.
“They can show enough concern with a view to ensuring that budgets produce value for money which is gain to society.”
He also added that citizens’ participation in budget tracking would help translate budget intentions to reality.
The ICPC commissioner in the state stated that grand corruption had impacted negatively on the social welfare projects which have a direct bearing on the lives of ordinary people.
In a similar vein, the Akwa Ibom Director, National Orientation Agency, Enoh Uyoh, said that the sensitization workshop was to inform community representatives to be firm, without compromise when projects were brought to their communities.
Uyoh said that institutional corruption has been the reason for decayed infrastructure in the country because money budgeted for projects were diverted to private pockets.
He said that citizens must be willing to take an active part in governance and expose corrupt public officials known to them.
“Governance is about everybody, do not say I am not in government, because you need good roads, functional health centers and good schools for our children,” he said.
Also, the Head of Programme of Policy Alert, Tijah Bolton-Akpan in his opening speech said that community representatives must be aware of the Freedom of Information Act so that they could ask questions about projects sited in their communities.