By Ahmed Ubandoma
The National Social Protection Forum (NSPF), says Nigerians will use the outcome of investigations into the alleged mismanagement of the nation’s social investment funds to assess President Bola Tinubu administration’s stance on corruption.
Dr Taiwo Benson, National Coordinator of NSPF, a Non-Governmental Organisation focusing on advancement of social protection, disclosed this at a news conference on Monday in Abuja,
Benson urged the federal government to be thorough in the investigation of the alleged mismanagement of social investment funds by the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu and the National Coordinator, National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA), Halima Shehu.
While commending the President for the prompt action to suspend the top officials involved in the alleged fraud, the NSPF coordinator urged the investigative authorities to administer an unbiased process in unraveling the truth.
“We appeal to the federal government to unravel the truth regarding the implementation of the National Social Investment Programme and make far reaching recommendations accordingly.
“No public servant, no matter how highly placed, should be spared from facing the full wrath of the law if the outcome of the investigation indicts him or her“ Benson said
According to him, the President’s action, so far, had renewed the hopes of many Nigerians in his ability to fight corruption.
He noted that suspending the minister and the chief executive of the NSIPA will allow for a fair and transparent investigation.
Benson however appealed to the President to review his directive suspending some of the social investment programmes including, N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer, Government Enterprise and Empowerment, and Home-Grown School Feeding.
He urged that the government should strengthen mechanisms for smooth implementation of the programmes.
According to him, this could be done through the involvement of Civil Society Organisations as third-party monitors for transparency, accountability, and efficiency.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had launched an investigation into the alleged fraud by the minister and NSIPA coordinator.
Edu was alleged to have transferred the sum of N585 million grants meant for vulnerable groups in four states – Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Lagos and Ogun – to a private account of one Onyilo Bridget domiciled in United Bank for Africa.
On her part, Shehu, the embattled Coordinator of NSIPA was suspended in connection with alleged N44 billion money laundering. (NAN)
Edited by Franca Ofili, Rotimi Ijikanmi