The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), Mrs. Maryam Uwais, has expressed confidence that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) would use its expertise and technical know-how to block leakages and tackle corruption in the implementation of the National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP).
Mrs. Uwais made the remark at the State House during the training of ICPC operatives on monitoring the implementation of the social investment programmes namely: National Home Grown School Feeding Programme; Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme; N-Power and National Cash Transfer Programme.
The presidential adviser lamented the fact that some state and local government officials were sabotaging government’s effort to lift vulnerable Nigerians out of poverty as monies meant for such persons were diverted in one way or the other.
She expressed the concern that funds made available for the various components of the programmes never got to the beneficiaries in full as some of them were intimidated, exploited and extorted by these officials.
“Our beneficiaries are being exploited and intimidated by either state or local government officials to part with certain percentages of the money they receive. In some cases, when a woman is given the sum of N10,000 which is meant for two months, as much as N8,000 can be taken from her,” she lamented.
Mrs. Uwais also explained some of the ways corruption was being perpetrated to include: demand for a fee or commission; submission of unregistered or deceased persons’ names to collect the cash; short-changing or non-payment to eligible beneficiaries etc.
She therefore enjoined ICPC to leave no stone unturned in bringing these saboteurs to justice for the benefit of the Nigerian masses.
Earlier in his opening remark, ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, who was represented by the Director, Public Enlightenment and Spokesperson for the Commission, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, mni, disclosed that the collaboration with NSIO was principally to reduce the incidence of corruption in N-SIP.
Also, speaking during the training, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on N-SIP, Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed, stated that NSIO was leveraging on the expertise and professionalism of law enforcement agencies like ICPC and others to achieve the aim of the programmes.
The ICPC operatives were taken through all the components of the social safety net in order to understand some of the intricacies of the programme implementation.
The operatives were also trained on how to operate the “TrackWithUs Monitoring Software” a web and mobile application designed to drive operational efficiency for monitoring purposes.
It should be recalled that about a fortnight ago ICPC and NSIO entered into a partnership to promote transparency and accountability in FG’s Social Investment Programmes.
The collaboration has started yielding positive results as two persons involved with the programmes in Kogi State are currently in the net of ICPC for alleged N68,097,053 fraud.