SIP: FG moves to check extortion, truancy of beneficiaries

• Introduces toll-free line for whistle blowers

THE Federal Government has adopted a stringent measure to check extortion of beneficiaries of cash national transfer programme and truancy of some N-Power beneficiaries across the country.

Accordingly, the National Social Investment Office (NSIO) in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) would on Friday formally flag off a Toll-Free Whistleblower hotline to checkmate corruption in cash transfer, School Feeding Programme and truancy in the N-Power scheme.

Communications Manager NSIP, Tienabeso Bibiye, in a statement on Monday in Abuja said the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk would launch the Toll-Free Whistleblower Hotline 0800- Call-ICPC (0800 -22554272) at an open event scheduled to hold at the State House Auditorium, Abuja.

Bibiye noted that recent field reports have revealed the beneficiaries of the cash transfer programme and cooks on the school feeding programme were extorted as well as reported cases of truancy on the part of some N-Power beneficiaries.

He said this has compelled the government to adopt strict monitoring measures of the various components of the SIPs to achieve the intended objectives.

He expressed the government’s unwavering commitment to ensure the Social Protection Programme is executed in an open, accountable and transparent manner and in line with the zero-tolerance for corruption stance of the administration.

He noted that the latest collaborative effort between the NSIO and ICPC is to further tighten all loose ends, to effectively checkmate acts that tend to undermine the strident efforts of the Federal Government to alleviate poverty in the country.

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Bibiye said the event would also raise awareness to enable government garner public support in the fight against the menace of extortion, fraud and intimidation in the delivery and scaling up of the four projects under NSIP at the field level among others.

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in a nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 59th Independence Anniversary restated his administration’s commitment to consolidating on the huge gains of the National Social Investment Programmes NSIPs, which he said have empowered over 12 million poor and vulnerable Nigerians in the last three years.

NSIO coordinates the components of the Social Investment Programme SIP namely National Home Grown School Feeding Programme NHGSFP, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme GEEP, N-POWER and the National Cash Transfer Programme NCTP.

Bibiye further stated that NSIO has worked in accordance with the vision of the administration by instituting processes and procedures that aim at insulating the NSIP from corrupt practices.

This, it does through the deliberate deployment of technology in identification, screening and payments to beneficiaries, strict adherence to due process in the award of contracts as well as compliance to bureaucratic processes to make the NSIP stand out as one of the most transparently executed Government Programs in Nigeria’s history, the statement said.

Further, he said the NSIO has also been collaborating with security and anti-graft Agencies Such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Service (DSS) for a robust monitoring approach, which partnership has led to several arrests and prosecution of defaulters.

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