Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, has defended the importance of constituency projects, saying they are the “only evidence” of federal government presence in many communities.
The speaker made the statement on Tuesday during a public hearing on the 2018 budget organised by the joint committee of the senate and house on appropriation.
Dogara said zonal intervention projects have been “terribly maligned” by people who are “deliberately ignorant” of their objective.
The speaker said: “Over the years, the efforts of legislators, especially at the National Assembly to inject equity in budget patronage nationwide, through the instrumentality of zonal intervention projects, has been grossly misunderstood and terribly maligned mostly by those who are deliberately ignorant and have concocted their own concept of constituency projects which they apply as their yardstick of measurement.
“I make bold to state that, but for zonal intervention projects, many communities in Nigeria would never have enjoyed any form of Federal Government patronage.
“Put differently, zonal intervention projects represent the only evidence of Federal Government presence in most rural communities of Nigeria.”
He said federal lawmakers will not be deterred from ensuring there is “even development” across the country.
“Consequently, as representatives of the people, no amount of blackmail from any quarters will force us to abandon our resolve to ensure even development across all federal constituencies,” he said.