Reporter : CHUKWUBUIKE MADU
The Federal Government has set machinery in motion to strictly monitor implementation of its National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) in the country to ensure that its purpose is achieved.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, stated this in a message to the distribution of Engagement Letters and Monitoring device to Independent Monitors trained to check implementation of the programme across the seventeen local government areas of Enugu State.
The National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) is part of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s efforts to reduce poverty and engage unemployed youths in some useful ventures.
Components of the programme are the Home Grown School Feeding, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), the N-Power and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
To ensure proper implementation of the Social Investment Programme, the Federal Government about four months ago trained 75 Independent Monitors in Enugu State, with about four persons to be deployed to each of the local government areas to monitor and write reports about the programme.
Distributing letters of engagement and tablets to the monitors, a Director in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Mr. Raphael Obi, who represented the Minister, explained that the N-SIP was a child of necessity to address serious poverty concerns in the country.
“Before now, Nigeria was classified as the poverty capital of the world and other very terrifying indices. In 2012, the World Bank came up with a report that 1% of Nigeria’s population consume 80% of Nigeria’s wealth; that the remaining 99% are there to grapple with paltry 20%.
“By 2015, when this administration came, the gap became wider. So it is only an irresponsible government that will sit and watch its citizens die of hunger and starvation.
“That is why this administration came up with these packages of intervention: the little it can within available resources to see how it can touch lives of the people,” he explained.
Mr. Obi urged the monitors to see their job as a national assignment, cautioned them against truancy, noting that the monitoring job would last for one year in the first instance and would be renewed depending on performance.
“See it that Nigeria is now calling you to do something, no matter how small. We have means of tracking your activities and scoring you so that after the first one year, we will assess and evaluate and know who should do what.
“My department will also come up in the next one month to monitor what you are doing so that we will be sure you are doing the right thing,” he said.
Mr. Obi also warned that any of the monitors with paid Federal Government Jobs would be fished out and disqualified using the integrated Personnel payroll, System IPPIS.
“Your stipend is #30,000.00 per month. This job is purely for people who are unemployed and who are not in government enterprise in any form because it’s illegal to get double salary from government where as many are still jobless. So we will use IPPIS to catch federal government workers who want to do this job and state workers whose states have keyed into IPPIS platform,” Mr. Obi threatened.
Also, the Social Investment Focal Person in Enugu State, Dr. Innocent Ogbonna, also encouraged the monitors who were equipped with tablets to deliver on the mandate given to them.
“The tablet is configured to suit the local government you are working. The tablet is already configured in your name so that Abuja will be seeing what you are reporting and the location where you are reporting from.
“You are required to give valid information that will help Abuja to know what is happening in the state and how to intervene and get it better done.
“You are going to be there in the fried to interact with the cooks, the youth, the head mistresses, with the pupils, the vulnerable and so on. So with the training you have received, you already know the scope of the job,” Mr. Ogbonna remarked.
The Acting Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Enugu State, Mr. Tony Aneke and the Head Conditional Cash Transfer Unit in the state, Mr. Sunday Ugwuani, urged the monitors to carry out their duty with passion, considering that the beneficiaries of the N-SIP were the poor and vulnerable.
Two of the Independent Monitors Ms. Adaora Ani and Mr.Ejike Ilo, who spoke with Radio Nigeria, promised to put in their best.
“They instructed us to be in our various local governments and that’s exactly what I will do to earn my little pay,” Ms. Ani said.
Then for Mr. Ilo who was deployed to work in Oji River Local Government Area, he said “the money they are paying is nothing but I will still do my job. The things set up for the poor, the vulnerable, we will follow them up to make sure that the beneficiaries get what they deserve.”
Meanwhile of the 75 trained Independent Monitors, only 48 showed up to be engaged but the overseers of the programme promised to train more people to fill in the gap.