FG to prosecute abusers of social investment programme ― Uwais

Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Mrs Maryam Uwais, has said efforts were ongoing to track down those bent on sabotaging the SIPs by exploiting beneficiaries for personal gains or even sensationalising untruths to discredit the efforts at uplifting poorer citizens of the country from poverty.

Uwais also said Federal Government will continue to mainstream the principles of transparency, accountability and probity in the implementation of the Social Intervention Programmes (SIPs).

The Presidential Adviser, who stated this in a statement issued on Sunday, disclosed that the National Social Investment Office NSIO, is working with the relevant security agencies to ensure that those found wanting are arrested and prosecuted.

She responded against the backdrop of media reports which quoted her to have accused monarchs and other Traditional Rulers in the Country of collecting bribes from beneficiaries of the Social Intervention Programmes of the Federal Government, urging members of the public to dismiss such reports as sensationalism and a total misrepresentation of facts.

Uwais, who delivered a goodwill message as Special Guest at the 13th anti-corruption agenda for the 9th National Assembly, held on Friday in Abuja, said she did not mention monarchs or traditional rulers as among those involved in demanding kickbacks from SIP beneficiaries in rural areas.

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According to her: “at a similar event held some time ago, a young man had publicly reported that some beneficiaries were being shortchanged in his community, so I promised to have it investigated.

“This investigation was carried out by ANEEJ, the principal monitor of disbursements of the Abacha restituted funds.

“The report of the investigation revealed that the disclosures were essentially factual.

“Some community leaders and LGA officials were in the habit of demanding levies after payment is concluded in the communities.

“So we resolved to undertake measures to counter those adverse practices in the field.

“Indeed, we are planning an event in the communities to engage the beneficiaries with a view to building their confidence, so they can refuse to accede to such demands.

“Those who understand the leadership structure in our communities would know that monarchs are not the only set of persons classified as community leaders.

“Our royal fathers are usually supported by others in the hierarchy to superintend over community affairs.”

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