ABDULLAHI Faruk, a legislator from Kebbi State has refuted the claim to “deal with” Emmanual Yaro, one of the officials working for Tracka.ng in the state.
He told The ICIR that the alarm raised by Tracka.ng on its Twitter handle @TrackaNG over the safety of its staff was unfounded.
Tracka NG, a transparency platform that helps citizens monitor constituency projects in their communities, disclosed on Twitter today that the lawmaker representing Kebbi/Kalgo/Bunza federal constituency has threatened to deal with Yaro for “sensitising the people of Maidahini community.”
Faruk’s side of the story
Faruk denied this claim in a telephone interview with The ICIR.
The lawmaker said his people had called him, saying the Tracka official had alleged him of collecting a sum of N10 million for a perimeter fencing which had been abandoned.
“They gave me his number, and I called him and told him that I am giving him one week to go and correct what he said or else I will take legal actions against him.
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“Nobody gave me money. This government will not give any member money. It doesn’t concern me, you should go and ask the River Basin Development Authority, they are the ones that the money is released to quarterly. I already have 48 projects executed, in fact, you can get the document verifying this,” he told The ICIR.
In a previous interview with Uadamen Ilevbaoje, Head Tracka, he said Yaro received a call from the legislator threatening to deal with him, and promising to take legal actions against him for visiting his constituency.
Ilevbaoje said that after the Tracka’s official received the call, out of fear for his life, he decided to make the threat public.
The ICIR called Yaro to describe the event leading to the “threat”. He corroborated the account of his boss.
He said after sensitising the villagers about the need to monitor project in their constituency, the village head reached out to the legislator notifying him of their knowledge about the monetary provision of N10 million assigned for a perimeter fencing of a Muslim cemetery at Madhini and Tunga both in Birnin Kebbi.
Subsequently, the legislator called him and told him that he had just 30 minutes to go back to Birnin Kebbi and tell them he was not given the sum that he (Yaro) said he received or else he would have his lawyer on his tails.
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Tracka had since then alerted the Nigerian Police Force and the Kebbi State Government describing Faruk’s statement as a threat on its official Twitter handle.
“This is to inform the people of Kebbi state, that our project tracking officer’s life is in danger. His offence is sensitising the people of Maidahini community. Hon Abdullahi Umar has alleged to deal with him. @PoliceNG_PCRRU@PoliceNG Please take note of this threat. @KBStGovt,” Tracka tweeted on its official account.
“As it seems, the Tracka project which is geared towards ensuring transparency, grass root participation, and reduction of corruption in government capital projects had obviously annoyed the legislator,” Ilevbaoje told The ICIR.
The Tracka head said that this was not the first time his men had come under attack or harassment from members of the House of Representatives in the course of doing their duties and holding legislators accountable on constituency projects.
Other legislators who have openly threatened Tracka officials include Hon. Nnanna Igbokwe, representing Ezinhite Mbaise Federal constituency Imo State; Senator Sani Mohammed, representing Niger South senatorial district; Hon. Alhassan Dogowa, representing Tudunwada/Dogowa federal constituency and Hon. Shehu Usman Aliyu, representing Karaye/Rogo federal constituency Kano.
Tracka periodically embarks on sensitising Nigerians in communities, councils and local government areas, enlightening indigenes on federal government constituency projects in their community. It also takes civic education to the grassroots, insisting that public funds must work for the people.
The World Economic Forum recently commended Tracka’s impact in Nigeria.
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The organisation “is turning citizens into real-life anti-corruption tsars with a tool called Tracka, an e-platform on which citizens share updates on budgetary and development projects in their communities,” says WEF.