By Racheal Ishaya
The Federal Government has raised concerns over reports that some beneficiaries of its N5,000 monthly stipends under the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme are being shortchanged.
The Senior Adviser to President Buhari on Social Investments, Mrs Mariam Uwais revealed this on Thursday in Abuja at the launch of the Third-Party Monitors for the National Social Safety Nets Project.
Uwais said that 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.
“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.
Uwais said that the case had been reported to relevant security agencies while the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) would be involved in cases where state officials are allegedly involved.
Also, the National Coordinator, National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), Mr Iorwa Apera said that involving Civil Society Organisations 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 said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the National Cash Transfer Programme is one of the four social investment programmes anchored by the Federal Government.
The programme is designed to deliver cash transfers to beneficiary households in order to improve their consumption, health and nutrition services among others. (NAN)