The Kogi Government in Lokoja on Tuesday disbursed N78 million grant to 18 civil society organisations involved in the control and prevention of HIV and AIDS.
The beneficiaries received between N3.5 million and N6.5 million each from the government.
While presentation cheques to the beneficiaries, Gov. Idris Wada said that the grant to the organisations signified the take-off and implementation of counselling , behavioural control prevention of the spread of HIV and AIDS in the state in the next one and a half years.
Wada, who was represented at the event by his Senior Special Assistant on HIV/AIDS, Mr Henry Ukwubile, urged the organisations to cooperate, be transparent and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities as contained in the memorandum of understanding with the government.
He said that government would not tolerate any breach of the agreement and warned that defaulters would be prosecuted.
To facilitate a hitch-free activity , Wada said that the state government was taking steps to pay the remaining counterpart fund of N25.5 million to enable the state to access additional N629 million between now and November, 2015.
He advised the implementing partners not to be carried away by the euphoria of the recent drop in HIV rate in the state from 5.8 per cent in 2010 to 1.4 per cent in 2012 and said that the ultimate target was to achieve zero prevalence.
The Executive Secretary of Kogi State Agency for the Control of AIDS (KOSACA), Mrs Rahinatu Bala, in her speech said that the fund was disbursed under the second phase of the HIV/AIDS Development project approved by the Federal Government in 2011.
Bala urged the civil society groups to adhere strictly to the work plan in discharging their duties.
She said that service support organisations from NACA and independent assessors would be deployed to the field to monitor their performances and ensure that they carried out their activities according to the guidelines.
The Project Manager of KOSACA, Dr Musa Gabriel, called for harmony with groups involved in the programme.
He said that 63 civil society organisations applied for the grant but 18 were selected and warned that any of them found wanting would be removed.
Gabriel said that the grant would be disbursed in three tranches of 35 per cent, 45 per cent and 20 per cent, adding that results of performance audit to be carried out regularly would determine their eligibility to continue with the implementation of the project..
Mr Aminu Ibrahim, the state Director of Project Financial Management Unit, urged the beneficiaries to ensure efficiency and be prudent in the utilisation of the grants to attract more support from the World Bank.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Dr Moses Shuaibu of Development and Female Gender Initiative, promised that the grant would be used for the purpose it was provided. (NAN)