INDIGENES of Borno State have said they are not aware of projects on which the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) spent N3.07 billion in Nigeria’s North-East region.
An investigation by The ICIR revealed that the IPCR awarded contracts amounting to N3.07 billion on peacebuilding projects in the North-East and the North-West between 2017 and 2020.
IPCR is a Nigerian government agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that is saddled with preventing, mitigating and resolving conflict across the country.
Speaking on a radio program – ‘PUBLIC CONSCIENCE on RADIO’ – produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) on Wednesday in Abuja, a member of Borno-Yobe Peoples Forum Abba Kaka said he did not know of the presence of the IPCR or any of the agency’s interventions in the North-East.
“As a stakeholder from Borno State, I am just hearing that N3.07 billion was spent on peacebuilding in the North-East for the first time. I am not aware of their presence, and neither is the Borno-Yobe People Forum which I belong to.”
Kaka expressed shock over the amount the institute claimed it spent on peacebuilding.
He revealed that the immediate past Chairman of Governing Council of the Institute, Muhammed Abba-Aji was equally surprised when he heard the huge amount the institute claimed to have spent in the region.
“Last night, I called the former Chairman Governing Council of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution to read the story; he called me back and said he is not even aware himself.
“He has even asked the current Director-General of the Institute to come and brief the North-East Governor’s forum,” Kaka added.
He urged the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to investigate the matter.
“We are calling on the EFCC and ICPC to kindly investigate this matter and find out what happened to the money. This is just one agency of the government. Several such things are happening,” Kaka said.
He applauded The ICIR and PRIMORG for exposing the alleged fraud and encouraged them to do more.
Investigations by The ICIR had revealed a breach of procurement laws by the institute in the spending of the N3.07 billion in the two geopolitical zones.
Speaking on the radio program, The ICIR’s Head of Investigations Olugbenga Adanikin said the motive behind the investigation was to evaluate the funds spent on peacebuilding in the region, given the fact that killings, kidnappings and other forms of insecurity have continued unabated in the area despite the institute’s claim that over N3 billion was spent in the two geopolitical zones.
He said the death toll from insecurity rose from 2,773 in 2017 to 6,401 in 2020, a development that raised questions about budget performance and the registration status of the companies that got the peacebuilding contracts.
“Some of the contractors that did the job for the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution were not even registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission, and the essence of our investigation is to ensure government agencies become meticulous with the award of contracts,” he said.
Adanikin disclosed that all efforts to reach the institute before publishing the investigation were not successful.
Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to call government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The MacArthur Foundation supports the programme.