Graft weakening social safety nets scheme, says Magu
• PDP seeks investigation of alleged N90b FIRS fraud
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, yesterday raised the alarm that corruption was allegedly impeding the effective implementation of the Federal Government’s National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP).
Established in 2016 under the office of the vice president, the project was to ensure school feeding for primary school pupils, create jobs for 500,000 unemployed, carry out conditional cash transfers for traders and the poor as well as promote enterprises, gulping N450 billion in the process.
But Magu, who insisted that the agency’s fight against graft was not selective, told the 15th Anti Corruption Situation Room organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in Kaduna that the scourge had crept into the scheme, urging civil society organisations to probe its execution.
Represented the anti-graft agency’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, Magu stated: “All the crises in Nigeria today boil down to corruption. EFCC is doing everything possible to ensure that stolen resources are recovered and returned. Civil society organisations need to pay more active role, especially in the social investment programme.
“Corruption has crept into the implementation of the programme. We want to ensure that we do not create more crises from a crisis situation. In the anchor borrowers programme, there are people who are bagging sand instead of fertilisers.”
The keynote speaker, Prof. Adam Ahmed Abere, in his presentation on “Corruption and its threat to peaceful coexistence: A critical review of feuding communities and management of scarce resources”, held that the insecurity in the country and the ill treatment of Nigerians abroad were manifestations of corruption over the years. He categorised the cost of the menace into “political, economic, social and environment.”
Abere added: “ Corruption hinders true democracy. Banditry in Zamfara and Katsina states are consequence of mining operations in the two states. The plan is to make the area an ungovernable environment to bring arms in and control the mining activities, but the Federal Government’s ban on mining activities helped to reduce the crises.”
The Executive Director of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraju, said the event was to facilitate interaction among stakeholders towards the of good governance. In a related development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has sought investigation of the alleged siphoning of N90 billion from the coffers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).In a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against the “tendency to cover the alleged corruption.”
The party noted that “this shocking allegation directly borders on gross misconduct and breach of public trust.”It rejected “the flimsy denials and threats being pushed through the FIRS as a belated attempt at cover-up by persons close to the presidency.”
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