The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has urged Nigerians to be active participants in budget tracking to curb corruption in the country.
The ICPC Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mr Shola Shodipo, gave the advice in Uyo at the opening of a two-day training workshop on “Using Budget Data and Freedom of Information Act to Fight Corruption’’.
The sensitisation workshop was organised for Civil Society Organisations and community representatives.
Shodipo said that budget tracking was a tool that could be used to fight corruption in the country, saying that this would check abuse of public funds.
He said that without budget tracking, approved financial resources meant for specific projects were likely to be diverted and might never get to the end users.
The ICPC boss said though budget tracking is a constitutional role of lawmakers in the National and States Assemblies, he advised the citizenry not to leave it for them alone.
“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 a gain to the society,” Shodipo said.
Shodipo noted that citizens’ participation in budget tracking would help translate budget intentions to reality.
The ICPC commissioner said that corruption had impacted negatively on the social welfare projects which had direct bearing on the lives of ordinary people.
He said, “It is therefore imperative that something should be done to checkmate the grand corruption arising from the budgetary processes.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Akwa Ibom Director, National Orientation Agency, Mr Enoh Uyoh, said that the sensitisation workshop was to inform community representatives to be firm, without compromise when projects are brought to their communities.