Sadiya Umar Farouq, minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, says over 12 million Nigerians are benefitting from the social investment programmes (SIPS).
The minister said this on Friday during an event to flag off a partnership between the National Social Investments Office (NSIO) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
“I am pleased to say that all these programmes have recorded resounding successes, directly impacting the lives of over twelve million Nigerians, with several millions of indirect beneficiaries, whose living standards have significantly improved through the value of chain created by the various Social Protection Initiatives,” she said.
“On their individual levels there are over 548,000 graduate and non-graduate beneficiaries under the N-Power; while Home-Grown School Feeding Programme has over 9.8 million beneficiaries; Government Enterprise & Empowerment Programme (GEEP) being coordinated by the Bank of Industry, has over 2.1 million beneficiaries from TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni; and Conditional Cash Transfer initiative has almost 400,000 beneficiaries.”
She said with the successful outcome of these programmes, “government is already looking out taking 100 million Nigerians out of the poverty line in the next ten years”
Speaking on the theme of the programme; “strengthening collaborative efforts in promoting transnparency and accountability in the delivery of national social investment programme,” Farouk said the engagement between the NSIO and ICPC is very crucial.
“It aims to prevent and eliminate third party corruption in the N-SIP,” she said.
Maryan Uwais, special adviser to the president on SIP, said the programme has been plagued with fraud and other irregularities.
She cited examples of teachers stealing food meant for pupils, cooks reducing the ration of food paid for by the national home grown school feeding program (NHGSF).
She also added that some corrupt individuals who pose as middlemen extort the poor and vulnerable who are beneficiaries of the national cash transfer programme.
“We will no longer tolerate people at the other end being extorted, intimidated and defrauded,” she said.
Uwais said she expects the ICPC to detect areas of corruption and punish offenders.
Bolaji Owasanoye, ICPC chairman, expressed delight over the partnership, commending the NSIO for digitalising the programme which he said has engaged many without recording loss of lives.
Owasanoye pledged the support of the ICPC to ensure that the N-SIP is free of fraud.
A tollfree whistleblower hotline was also launched to encourage the public to report suspected cases of fraud.