Presidency on Tradermoni: Monarchs, govt officials take bribes from beneficiaries

The Presidency Thursday said some traditional rulers and government officials were sabotaging  the implementation of  the Social Investment Programme (SIP).

Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on SIP  Maryam Uwais said this at the 13th anti-corruption agenda for the 9th National Assembly.

The programme was organised by the human and environmental development agenda, a non-governmental organisation, in Abuja.

She said  the affected traditional rulers and government officials  sabotaged the scheme by collecting bribes from the poor beneficiaries of the N10, 000 tradermoni scheme.

  The presidential aide said several attempts to ensure the prosecution of the affected persons by the various security and anti-corruption agencies were unsuccessful.

Some of the affected states, according to the presidential aide who spoke in an interview with journalists at the sidelines of the event, included Osun, Kano, Jigawa,  Katsina, Benue and Niger

She said:, “There are people in the local government areas and at the state levels who have been able to exploit the vulnerability of our beneficiaries.

“Some of those beneficiaries don’t even report because they are thankful for whatever they get and they believe that the people who are trying to take this money from them are actually capable of removing their names from the list.

“They believe that it is better to part with some of the money rather than not getting anything. So, we accept that we need to do a lot of publicity more. Women have no confidence to resist the traditional  rulers who are demanding a particular amount from them.

“We asked our monitors to investigate and we discovered that it was true. We are planning to visit all those communities and assured all those women of their protection. We have reported those cases to the security agencies.

“Whether or not the security agencies have been swift or aggressive in their approach is another issue. As far as  compiling and submitting  our findings to security agencies,  we have done our best.

“The BoI(Bank of Industry ) has been able to apprehend and reported the perpetrators of such acts. We have focal persons in some states that have reported their findings to the EFCC. We have given our statements to the anti-corruption agency.

“The suspects have been invited but I’m yet to see any prosecution kick-started. We are planning an engagement with the ICPC so that their offices at state levels will work with us.

“The Directorate of State Service has been giving us reports but they are not arresting or prosecuting anybody. They are only giving information. We desire information from members of the public too.

“Some of the affected states are Osun, Kano, Jigawa,  Katsina,  all of them are being investigated and we have submitted our report.  I have also reported Benue and Niger with evidence forwarded to the law enforcement agencies.”

Uwais further spoke on  how the various interventions of the federal government had lifted Nigerians out of poverty.

“As for the National Assembly, we have asked how we can sustain our efforts. There is a draft bill we are working on. The National Assembly is not too keen on how monies appropriated are spent at the local levels,” she added .

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, who also spoke at the occasion, said  of the 774 local government areas in the country, none has a functional budget as required by law.

Falana said the inefficiency at the local and state levels was a major setback in the fight against corruption.

He said there was too much attention at the centre, with no investigation into how states and local government areas expended their money.

 “None of the 774 local government councils in Nigeria has any functional budget. They are just operating without any direction,” the silk said.

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