The attention of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and her MANTRA partners drawn from the six geo-political zones of the country have been drawn to a misleading publication on Thisday Newspaper of January 24, 2021, authored by one Obinna Chima, where ANEEJ “Spot Checks” report was wrongly and copiously used to substantiate allegation of corruption and inefficiency in the cash transfer programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The rabid publication entitled “Concerns Mount over Corruption and Inefficiency in Cash Transfer Programme” made reference to ANEEJ report issued in May 2020 following the disbursement of the January – April 2020 payment rounds to beneficiaries of the National Cash Transfer Programme, which ANEEJ dully monitored in 24 States of the country. The payment was sequel to President Muhammadu Buhari’s March 29, 2020 broadcast where he directed the immediate payment to cushion the effects of the lockdown on the poor and vulnerable Nigerians due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Our report confirmed that beneficiaries in 24 States were paid during the payment rounds. The States include, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Ekiti, FCT, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe. ANEEJ monitoring team reached out to selected beneficiaries who confirmed receipt of the money. We are therefore in shock as to why ThisDay chose to drag our well detailed report into its wild corruption allegation against the scheme.
It should be noted that ANEEJ through her MANTRA project has conducted five monitoring exercises from August/September 2018 when the first payment was made from the recovered $322.5 loot. Findings from each of the reports were discussed with the National Cash Transfer Office, which they have used to improve on subsequent payment rounds and the system generally. ANEEJ reports on the MANTRA project have also been shared with the public and have been acknowledged globally by government and development partners across the globe as success story from Nigeria.
We equally want to state that ANEEJ did not monitor the implementation of Rural Women Programme and the Rapid Response Register which Obinna Chima made reference to in the ThisDay publication and we ask for a retraction from ThisDay publishers.
Reading through the ThisDay report, we are at a loss because the reporter did not visit the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to seek clarifications on its weighty allegations before rushing to press.
ANEEJ and her partners would like to use this opportunity to state emphatically that the findings from our well-researched reports should not be quoted out of context by any individual or group. Our reports should also not be used to pursue any narrow political or ethnic interests and should be read and understood in the context of development that it seeks to achieve.
We implore our media friends and the general public to reach out to us for clarification on any aspect(s) of our reports and publications rather than to quote us out of context.
Erhisohwode Assurance Ovie,
ANEEJ Communications/ICT Officer