Covid-19: FG’s conditional transfer not reaching the targets—RULAAC

A CIVIL Society Organisation, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) has raised the alarm that the Federal Government’s Social Intervention Policy known as the Conditional Cash Transfer was yet to address mass poverty, deprivation and hunger across the country in the face of two-week lock down imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

“The billions which government announced that it has released and made available for conditional cash transfer to the poor and vulnerable in communities are not reaching the targets. There are still cries of woe and anguish in most communities,” said Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director of RULAAC in a statement issued on Wednesday.

“We have seen videos of caricature of the ‘social intervention’, of food items shared to some communities. In one video, we saw a street in Lagos of over 30 families who said they were given two loaves of bread and few cups of rice and garri and few condiments (tomato paste sachets) to share.

“And we see members of the community lamenting and asking how a whole street of over 30 families could be given such quantity of food items not enough to serve one family for two days to share,” he added.

Nwanguma called for transparent and community based approaches to the management and disbursement of the social intervention funds.

“Considering complaints by many local communities about not benefiting from the released billions of naira announced and meant to alleviate poverty and hardship, especially during this difficult and uncertain period, we call for a transparent and effective investigation of the management of the funds so far allocated. Efforts must be put in place to ensure that the funds are not diverted, as usual,” he said.

He noted that independent community committees must receive these funds and be charged with identifying those in their midst who qualify to benefit.

In the statement titled, “Assuaging the plight of the poor in this perilous time”, Nwanguma stressed that the management of the funds should be monitored by a multi stakeholder committee including government and community representatives as well as credible media and civil society representatives.

He added that government must put effective measures in place to check corrupt public officials who want to steal or divert funds meant to relieve the sufferings of the poor and vulnerable people in this perilous times.

“This is the only way to help the people comply with the law and stay at home for now,” Nwanguma said.

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“Finally, since government has been announcing huge numbers of beneficiaries of cash transfer program running into millions and claiming to have paid billions, can the government make the system transparent by publishing the names and addresses of the beneficiaries on an electronic portal so that Nigerians can do the verification?”

It would be recalled that the Federal Government on April 1 commenced the disbursement of N20,000 Conditional Cash Transfer to indigent households (poor) at the Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Sadia Umar-Farouk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,  while kick-starting the disbursement noted that the Federal Government was giving out N20,000 per person for the next four months starting from March 2020.

She explained that President Muhammadu Buhari during his nationwide broadcast directed that the Conditional Cash Transfer should be given in advance of two months.

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