By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, Friday, cleared Nigerians over difference between Cash Transfer Programme money from the recovered Abacha loot of $322.5 million from Switzerland and the Federal Government’s COVID-19 palliative.
This was stated by the Executive Director, ANEEJ, the Rev David Ugolor, while explaining to Nigerians understand the two package not to get it wrong and in order for politicians to mislead them on the two issues.
According to him the Swiss and Nigerian Governments including the World Bank entered into an agreement which was signed 2017 at Washington DC, United States of America, USA, in the presence of key Nigerian Civil Society Organisations, CSOS, including Human and environmental Development Agenda HEDA; Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP; the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC; The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development Centre-LSD; Policy Alert; and Centre for Social Justice .CSJ.
He further stated that the agreement provided a framework on how the money will be used in Nigeria which is for Conditional Cash Transfer for the poor under an existing Social Protection Programme managed by the Federal Government with support from the World Bank.
He said: “I think we should try to use our platform to educate Nigerians and not to allowed politicians to misled the public, the Covid-19 Palliative is not Conditional Cash Transfer for the Poor. The funding for the ongoing Cash Transfer Programme is from the recovered stolen public fund from Switzerland- $322.5 million.
“The Swiss and Nigerian Government and World Bank entered into agreement which was signed in Washington DC in 2017 in the presence of key Nigerian Civil Society which include HEDA, SERAP, CISLAC , Centre-LSD, Policy Alert and CSJ. The agreement provided a framework on how the money will be use in Nigeria which is for Conditional Cash Transfer for the poor under an existing Social Protection Programme managed by the Federal Government with support from the World Bank.
“The Cash Transfer Programme is funded through the recovered asset and World Bank- 80 per cent from Abacha loot and 20 per cent from World Bank. The institutional framework put in place for poor Nigerians to access the fund is the National Social Register (NSR) developed by the Federal Government with support from the World Bank.
“Each beneficiary is paid N5, 000 each month according to the NCTO payment framework. The whole Social Protection Programme was managed by the office of the Vice President until last year when it was moved to the Ministry of Humanitarian, Disaster and Social Development.
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“The monthly CCT payment was stopped in December. They were to resume payment few weeks ago when the COVID-19 crisis started and the President directed that the poor beneficiaries should be paid four months- January to April- which is n20, 000.
“Unfortunately, the Federal Government started to assure Nigerians that COVID-19 palliative will be released while the CCT payment was going on and the public could not differentiate COVID-19 and the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.”
The ANEEJ boss also charged other civil society organizations to ask the federal government to explain to Nigerians source of funding for COVID-19 palliatives.
“As Civil Society we should challenge the Federal Government to disclose the source of funding of the so-called COVID-19 palliatives for Nigeria”, he said.