ABUJA, NIGERIA, April 1, 2020… Following the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development  to commence immediate disbursement of two months cash to poor Nigerians under the Cash Transfer Programme to cushion the impact of COVID 19 in the country, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ and its MANTRA project partners have swung into action to monitor the disbursement nationwide.

Flagging off the monitoring exercise in Abuja today, the Executive Director of ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor said Civil Society Organisations working under the mantra project are carrying out spot- checks in all states of the federation where the disbursement is taking place and that the  checks will cover 10 percent of current recipients, beginning with the FCT and Nasarawa State today.

Rev Ugolor who was represented at the occasion by the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of ANEEJ (Abuja Office), Mr. Paul Odokara commended the Federal Government for responding to the clamour from MANTRA to continue the disbursement of returned $322.5million Abacha loot to poor Nigerians to enable them cope with the challenges of COVID 19.

“We commend the Federal Government for responding to the needs of poor Nigerians during this trying period of COVID 19 which comes with movement restrictions and all the challenges that corona virus has thrown on poor Nigerians. We commend the hard work put in place by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, and Programme Coordinator  of the National Cash Transfer Office, Dr. Temitope Sinkaiye since the presidential directive by ensuring a hitch-free disbursement exercise and ensuring that the poor are succored at this trying time of our nationhood,” Ugolor said.

The ANEEJ Chief Executive urged all MANTRA monitors deployed for the exercise nationwide to ensure strict professionalism in the discharge of their duties.  He reminded them to ensure strict adherence to ANEEJ Guidelines on COVID 19 by making sure that they move around with their hand sanitizers with the appropriate face masks, keeping the prescribed distancing, while not shaking hands or embrace anyone all through the exercise.

Rev Ugolor assured the monitors that MANTRA leadership has secured Special Pass for all monitors in states and FCT where Government announced lockdown to enable them go through security checks during the period of the exercise.

Mr. Victor Emejuiwe of the Center for Social Justice (CSJ) and MANTRA North Central Coordinators, expressed satisfaction with the fund disbursement exercise thus far and assured that the monitors would meet their daily targets.

ANEEJ and its partners across the six geo-political zones of the country have been implementing the Monitoring Transparency and Accountability in Recovery and Management of Looted Assets (MANTRA) project since 2018, a project that is a sub-sect of the Anti-Corruption  in Nigeria (ACORN) Programme of DFID which is principally monitoring the disbursement of the returned $322.5million Abacha loot from Switzerland, while also advocating for improved policy environment around the issues of asset recovery and management in the Nigeria.

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