James Emejo in Abuja
As part of efforts to ensure transparency and accountability in the administration of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) to the poor and vulnerable in the country, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) in partnership with Department for International Development (DFID) has monitored the disbursement of part of the $322.5 million -Abacha loot, recovered by the federal government.
The Executive Director ANEEJ, David Ugolor said the aim of exercise was to bring transparency and accountability to the utilisation of all recovered assets in the country.
According to him, the disbursement to beneficiaries in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), coincided with the World Anti-corruption Day celebration and seeks to send a strong message against abuse of trust in the fund’s administration.
He said: “As you know, the cash transfer programme is partly financed by money recovered by Abacha starched in western bank. We also see today as an opportunity to highlight the benefit to see assets returns back to Nigeria.
“As you can see around, you see the very poor of the poorest as they are the ones benefiting from the recovered loot from Abacha and for us it is remarkable.”
He said the CCT presented an opportunity to send a strong signal that embezzlement is no longer business as usual.
According to him: “If people steal public money, you can recover it and return it to the poor and for me the cash transfer presents that benefit of fighting corruption and that is why we have to come all the way from Abuja down to Kuje to solidarise with the very poor of the poorest.”
Also, Head of Operations, National Cash Transfer Office (NCTO), Binta Isah Ismail, said the modality of the programme had been transparent as the programme does not just start from the beneficiaries but from the national register where beneficiaries were targeted.
She also said aside from cash given to the beneficiaries, there are other packages such as trainings to improve the health, nutrition and environmental outcome for the vulnerable.
She said the payment cycle was being made once in two months, a total of N10,000 (N5,000 each month.)
On her part, the Senior Governance Adviser, DFID, Sonia Warner, also said the recovered fund was being used to help the poorest and vulnerable people, adding that it was clear that beneficiaries really need the money.
She said: “It is really a good point to make that this money is being used for a good purpose and from those beneficiaries that I’ve spoken to, they used the money for basic survival.”