The Senate dismissed as misperception the call by some Nigerians to scrap allocation of funds for constituency projects initiated by lawmakers.
The call was due to their ignorance, Chairman, Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare, Senator Ali Wakili (APC, Bauchi-South), stated on Monday.
Wakili, while speaking during a public hearing on Constituencies Development Catalyst Fund Establishment Bill 2017, said the belief that lawmakers siphoned monies meant for constituency projects was regrettable.
According to him, those who make such an allegation have little or no knowledge of the workings of the legislature. He stated that constituency projects were handled by the executive and not the legislature.
Wakili said, “We are not quite unaware of the great negativism, stereotypes, perception rigidity and the bad public image of the successive assemblies, including ours, since when the constituency intervention project was introduced.
“To some of them, those funds meant for such intervention projects that were aimed at bringing government closer to the people, spread even development, improve the basic needs of the people to fight the scourge of poverty via provision of potable drinking water, health clinics, schools, rural roads and provision of basic amenities of life, are siphoned and misused by the members of the legislature, in active connivance with bureaucrats.
“These people who give us bad names know little or nothing about constituency intervention projects. They feel it is the money set aside that we put in our pocket, which is not true. What we do is to ensure that projects are brought to our constituencies so that they will have a sense of representation.
“This is because the bureaucrats who implement government projects across the country do not even know where some constituencies are located in the country. As such, they often regurgitate projects in urban areas instead of spreading them to rural areas, where they are most needed. That is why we make suggestions about these projects, but implementation is carried out by the executive.”
Wakili, however, noted that the Constituencies Development Catalyst Fund Establishment Bill sponsored by Senator Buhari Abdulfatai, (APC Oyo-North) would correct the prejudices and stereotypes.
The bill, the senator added, was aimed at redistributing national wealth and resources to the nooks and crannies of all states of the federation through improved rural economy, employment and standard of living.