The Nigerian government, on Thursday, alleged that some beneficiaries of its N5, 000 monthly stipends under the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme were being extorted.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Social Investments, Mariam Uwais, said although payment of the N5,000 monthly stipends to poor and vulnerable households was going seamlessly, there had been reports of extortion and bullying of beneficiaries in some communities.
Uwais made this comment at the launch of the Third-Party Monitors for the National Social Safety Nets Project in Abuja.
She, nonetheless, assured that payment of the N5,000 monthly stipends to the poor and the vulnerable households would continue.
She disclosed that the matter had been reported to relevant security agencies, while the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) would be involved in cases where state officials were allegedly involved.
“The reported attempts to extort or bully them comes from random quarters like the youths in the communities, sometimes it’s the community leaders and traditional rulers who levy them.
“It’s really important that we do not allow people to steal from the poor. So the challenge is how to support and protect them so that they are not duped by others,” she said.
Speaking, the National Coordinator, National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), Iorwa Apera, called for the involvement of Civil Society Organisation, CSOs.
Apera said involving CSOs as Third-Party Monitors would ensure transparency and accountability in the cash transfer programme.
“We believe this process will encourage transparency and accountable behaviour from service providers.
“The Third-Party Monitoring is designed to have state-based Civil Society Organisations with experience and technical capacity, monitor the cash transfer programme in the states we operate.
“It will also serve as a mechanism through which beneficiaries and their communities can gain confidence in their ability to get quality service,” he added.
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