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Government floats hotline to safeguard social safety nets

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Sadiya

The National Social Investment Office (NSIO) in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) will, on Friday, launch a toll-free line to checkmate corruption and truancy in the school feeding and N-Power schemes of the Federal Government.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, is unveiling the hotline, 0800- Call-ICPC (0800 -22554272), at the State House Auditorium, Abuja.

Government said yesterday that observed extortion of cash transfer beneficiaries and cooks as well as reported cases of truancy on the part of some N-Power beneficiaries informed the need for close monitoring of the various components of the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) to achieve their objectives.

According to the National Social Investment Programmes’ (NSIPs) Communications Manager, Tienabeso Bibiye, in a statement, the event, which aims to identify, curb and address corrupt tendencies in the programmes, is part of government’s commitment to ensure that the projects were executed transparently in line with the zero tolerance for corruption posture of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

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He explained that the latest effort was to further tighten all loose ends with a view to effectively checkmating acts that pose threats to government’s efforts at alleviating poverty in the country.

Bibiye added that the NSIO had also been collaborating with security and anti-graft agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS) for proper monitoring, a partnership, he added, had resulted in several arrests and prosecutions.

He noted that the event would raise awareness to enable the current administration garner public support against extortion, fraud and intimidation in the delivery of the four projects under the NSIPs and others.

He said: “It is also aimed at stimulating thinking and synergy around determining practical solutions and innovative approaches towards resolving the challenges NSIP beneficiaries (and their target audience) face, thereby improving the implementation of the NSIPs for the benefit of the populace, and more specifically, for the good of the poor and the vulnerable.”

The occasion, the spokesman added, is open to civil society organisations (CSOs), anti-corruption agencies, monitors and the media.

President Buhari had in a nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 59th independence restated his administration’s commitment to build on the gains of the NSIPs wherein over 12 million poor and vulnerable Nigerians had been empowered in the last three years.

The statement clarified that the NSIO, which coordinates the components of the SIP, namely the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP); Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP); N-POWER and the National Cash Transfer Programme (NCTP), “has worked in accordance with the vision of the administration by instituting processes and procedures that ensure compliance with bureaucratic processes to make the NSIPs stand out as one of the most transparently executed by government programmes in Nigeria’s history.”


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