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The National Social Investment Office (NSIO) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Friday formally flagged off collaboration to check corruption in the implementation of the National Social Investment Programmes.

The Media Launch of the NSIO-ICPC partnership, held at the State House Auditorium in Abuja, was performed by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq.

The highpoint of the event was the unveiling of Toll-Free Whistle Blower Hotline—0800-call-ICPC (0800-2255-4272) by the Minister assisted by the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mrs Maryam Uwais and ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye.

Speaking, Farouq said that she was excited to be part of the laudable initiative, which aligned with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to rid Nigeria of corruption and other forms of sharp practices.

She said it was a fight against people who wanted to sabotage the effort of the Federal Government in its aim of reducing extreme poverty that impeded on Nigeria’s Socio-Economic and Political development.

“This renewed partnership between the NSIO and ICPC, as well as other anti-graft and security agencies that have been working in close concert with the Programme underscores commitment, zeal, passion and inter-agency cooperation.

“It is towards achieving the desired results in the ongoing campaign against corruption as championed by the President himself.

“Recall that on assumption of office in 2015, President Buhari introduced the NSIP in fulfillment of a critical part of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign promise which endeared majority of Nigerians to the President and our party.

“The objective of the Programme is principally to reach the poor and vulnerable Nigerians, following the growing rate of poverty and unemployment in the country in the years preceding the current democratic dispensation.

“Consequently, the NSIP was set up in 2016 to coordinate and supervise all components of the social protection programme.

“They are: the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), N-Power and the National Cash Transfer Programme (NCTP).

’’She said that she was pleased that all the programmes had recorded resounding successes, directly impacting the lives of no fewer than 12 million Nigerians.

According to her, there are several millions of indirect beneficiaries whose living standards have significantly improved through the value chain created by the various Social Protection Initiatives.

She said that there were over 548,000 graduate and non-graduate beneficiaries under the N-Power; while Home-Grown School Feeding Programme had over 9.8 million beneficiaries.

The minister said that the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) being coordinated by the Bank of Industry had over 2.1 million beneficiaries from TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni.

She said also that the Conditional Cash Transfer initiative had almost 400,000 beneficiaries, with over 1.1 million households captured on the National Social Register.

Farouq said that with the successful outcomes of people-oriented programmes and policies government was already looking at taking 100 million Nigerians out of the poverty line in the next 10 years.

“Incidentally, this target set by the president comes at a time when most of the programmes and agencies saddled with the mandate of addressing the plight of Nigerians who are way below the poverty line, have been moved to the newly-created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, for synergy and close supervision.

“To achieve the task of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years in line with the president’s directive, we must as a ministry ensure that all our poverty alleviation strategies and programmes remained strengthened.

“They should be devoid of infractions that could undermine ongoing efforts to empower our poor and vulnerable citizens.

“This is why this collaborative engagement between NSIO and ICPC is crucial as it aims to prevent and eliminate third party corruption in the National Social Investment Programme.’’

Earlier in her remark, Mrs Maryam Uwais, the Special Adviser to the President on the Social Investment Programmes, said she was delighted that NSIO was getting ICPC publicly involved in preventing malpractice in the implementation of NSIP.

She said that the NSIO would not tolerate people at the other end being extorted, intimidated and defrauded in the process of getting their stipends.

Uwais said that Buhari had directed that the NSIP be extended to Nigerians no matter their political affiliations.

On his part, ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, commended the institutionalisation of the NSIP and pledged the commission’s total support in checking corrupt practices in the implementation of the programmes.

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