The National Social Investment Office (NSIO) says it is partnering with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other anti-graft agencies to ensure a seamless and transparent execution of the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs).
Mr Justice Bibiye, the Communications Manager, NSIO, in a statement in Abuja, said that recent reports on extortion of cash transfer beneficiaries and cooks on the school feeding programme were disturbing.
He said that reported cases of truancy on the part of some N-Power beneficiaries had compelled the need for close monitoring of the various components of the SIPs to achieve the intended objectives.
Bibiye said that the NSIO/ICPC partnership would be formally inaugurated on Oct. 18 in Abuja.
“The NSIO has also been collaborating with security and anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Service (DSS) for a more robust monitoring approach, which partnership has led to several arrests and prosecution of defaulters.
“Nigeria remains a vast and diverse terrain, while many of the SIPs beneficiaries reside in remote communities.
“The NSIO has ensured that from the federal level, all disbursements can be monitored and tracked through the BVN and unique identities of the beneficiaries but disturbing reports from the field call for more diligence from the CSOs, the anti-corruption agencies and concerned members of the public.
“The NSIO, therefore, continues to encourage and provide opportunities for feedback from the field, if only to safeguard the entitlements of the poor and vulnerable.
“This latest collaborative effort between the NSIO and ICPC is to further tighten all loose ends; to effectively checkmate acts that tend to undermine the strident efforts of the Federal Government to alleviate poverty in the country.
“The NSIO/ICPC partnership, which would be formally launched at an open event on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Auditorium of the State House in Abuja, is among other things, aimed at raising awareness to garner public support in fighting the menace of extortion, fraud and intimidation in the delivery and scaling up of the four projects under SIPs at the field level.’’
According to Bibiye, the partnership also aims at stimulating thinking and synergy around determining practical solutions and innovative approaches towards resolving the challenges SIPs beneficiaries and their target audience face.
He said that it was also an opportunity to establish a systemic structure to identify, curb and address corrupt tendencies in the programme.
A major highlight of the programme, which would be inaugurated by Hajiya Sadiya Farouk, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, was the launch of a Toll-Free Whistle blower Hotline 0800- Call-ICPC (0800 -22554272).
The communications manager said that SIPs had empowered over 12 million poor Nigerians in the last three years.
“Having begun moves to institutionalise the programme, the Buhari administration has remained committed and unwavering in its quest to ensure that the Social Protection Programme is executed in an open, accountable and transparent manner and in line with the zero tolerance for corruption stance of the current democratic dispensation.
“The NSIO coordinates the components of the SIPs namely National Home Grown School Feeding Programme NHGSFP, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme GEEP, N-POWER and the National Cash Transfer Programme NCTP.
“The NSIO has indeed worked in accordance with the vision of the administration by instituting processes and procedures that aim at insulating the SIPs from corrupt practices.
“Deliberate deployment of technology in identification, screening and payments to beneficiaries, strict adherence to due process in the award of contracts as well as compliance to bureaucratic processes make the SIPs stand out as one of the most transparently executed government programmes in Nigeria’s history,’’ he said.