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SERAP Urges Fed Govt To Give Details Of N729b Payments To 24.3m Nigerians

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, to “publish details of proposed payments of N729 billion to 24.3 million poor Nigerians for six months”.

The organisation called for the details in a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, dated January 23, 2021 and signed by its Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare.

SERAP also urged the minister to “explain the rationale for paying N5,000 to 24.3 million poor Nigerians, which translates to five-percent of the country’s budget of N13.6 trillion for 2021, and to clarify if this proposed spending is part of the N5.6 trillion budget deficit.”

Last week, Umar Farouq announced that the Federal Government would pay about 24.3 million poor Nigerians N5,000 each for six months to “provide help to those impoverished by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The organisation said: “Publishing the details of beneficiaries and selection criteria as well as the payment plan for six months would promote transparency and accountability and remove the risks of mismanagement and diversion of public funds.”

It added: “Transparency and accountability in the programme would improve public trust, and allow Nigerians to track and monitor its implementation, and to assess, if the programme is justified, as well as to hold authorities to account in cases of diversion, mismanagement and corruption.”

The organisation advised Umar Farouq to “invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to jointly track and monitor the payments.

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