Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Magu has said corruption has found its way into the implementation of the National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) of the Federal Government.
He said accused the elite in the Niger Delta region of cornering resources meant for the region’s development through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
N-SIP, which was established in 2016 under the office of the Vice-President to ensure school feeding for primary school pupils, create jobs for 500,000 job seekers, carryout conditional cash transfer for traders and the poor and enterprise promotion programme, has gulped N450 billion.
But, Magu, who insisted that the agency’s fight against corruption is not selective, told the 15th Anti-Corruption Situation Room organised by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in Kaduna on Tuesday that corruption has crept into implementation of the programme, while charging civil society organisations to investigate its implementation.
The EFCC boss, who was represented by the Spokesman of the Commission, Wilson Uwujaren said, “All the crises in Nigeria today boil down to corruption. EFCC is doing everything possible to ensure that stolen resources are recovered and returned to the treasury public use. Civil society organisations need to play more active role especially in the social investment programme.
“Corruption has crept into the implementation of the programme. We want to ensure that we don’t create more crises from a crisis situation. In the anchor borrowers’ programme, there are people who are bagging sand instead of fertilizer.
“Our experience with the National Social Investment Programme is not palatable at all.
“If you look at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), for instance, it was established to bring development to that region, but instead of bringing development to the region, it has created poverty in the area, because those who are supposed to benefit from it are not benefitting from it is the elite who are cornering the resources that should go to the people.
“Now, if you notice the discussion there, it is around which ethnic group should produce the next MD of the commission, not the benefit that the commission will bring to the generality of people of the region.
“So, we must join hands to ensure that, corruption is removed from all these intervention projects that government is bringing for the benefit of the citizens,” Magu said.
The keynote speaker, Prof. Adam Ahmed Abere, who spoke on “Corruption and its Threat to Peaceful Coexistence: A Critical Review of Feuding Communities and Management of Scarce Resources”, said all forms of insecurity in Nigeria from Boko Haram, kidnapping, armed banditry, xenophobia in South Africa and poor treatment of Nigerians outside the country are all manifestations of corruption over the years.
Abere categorised the cost of corruption into “political, economic, social and environment”, adding that, “Corruption hinders true democracy. Banditry in Zamfara and Katsina states are consequence of mining operations in the two states. The plan is to make the area an ungovernable environment to bring arms in and control the mining activities fully but Federal Government’s ban on mining activities helped to reduce the crises.”
The Executive Director, HEDA, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju said the Anti-Corruption Situation Room that has taken place in many parts of the country is designed to facilitate interaction between stakeholders in promoting anti-corruption and good governance.
“We have seen various feuds: Ife – Modakeke, Jukun – Tiv, Zango Kataf crises, that we need to start looking at how we got there.”
The programme was supported by Upright for Nigeria, MacArthur Foundation, and National Orientation Agency, among others.