16 February, 2018
Benin City, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has lauded the honesty behind the disclosure of the fraud involving the Social Investment Programme of the Federal government in some states as announced by the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment Programme, Mrs. Mariam Uwais and aligns with her for proper monitoring of the scheme nationwide.
In a statement released to the press, ANEEJ Executive Director the Rev David Ugolor said this kind of honesty by the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment Programme, Mrs. Mariam Uwais is needed in our collective effort to fight corruption in the country.
“It clearly shows that there is no hiding place for the corrupt under her watch. It clearly shows that there is hope at the other end of the tunnel in our fight against graft and she deserves commendation.
“The presidential aide’s admittance that “the Federal Government was weak in the monitoring of the implementation of the programmes reinforces the need for Civil Society partnership with government to strengthen the monitoring of expenditure of funds meant for the programme.” Ugolor noted.
“Mrs. Uwais had listed those corrupt practices as including shortchanging, racketeering and harassment of beneficiaries as well as exploitation of the vulnerable and it is sad to note that state officials working under the programme were taking undue advantage of the poor people they were supposed to be serving and helping to exit poverty, Rev. Ugolor lamented and called for full scale investigation by the Federal Government to bring all suspects to book to serve as a deterrence to others.
“ANEEJ as a leading CSO in monitoring of the use of public funds for poverty eradication in the country would bring our experience to support the effort of government in this regard, more so as some looted funds being repatriated from Switzerland and other sources are being chanelled to National Social Investment Programme. We would join forces with other stakeholders to ensure that monies meant to combat poverty are not looted by the corrupt at the state levels.” Ugolor assured.
The Social investment programme of the Federal government was put in place by the Buhari administration as a palliative measure. It seeks to create jobs through a school feeding programme for children in primary schools and soft loans to indigent women and youth. Prior to revelations by the organisers of the programme, there have been complaints regarding the quality of food being fed to school children and ghost recipients who have hijacked it for fraudulent intents. These instances reveal that the programme, laudable as it seems, may be one example of a social remedy which may not have been well-thought out for execution.
‘It is for this reason that ANEEJ calls for a committee to be set up by the Federal government to rejig and re-evaluate the programme based on the revelations of corruption and irregularities expressed by the coordinators of the Social Investment Programme’, the Rev Ugolor added.