The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Ms Sadia Umar-Farouk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development to publish details of proposed payments of N729bn to 24.3 million poor Nigerians for six months, including the mechanisms and logistics for the payments, list of beneficiaries, and how they have been selected, projected payments per state, and whether the payments will be made in cash or through Bank Verification Numbers or other means.
SERAP also urged her to explain the rationale for paying N5,000 to 24.3 million poor Nigerians, which translates to five-percent of the country’s budget of N13.6 trillion for 2021, and to clarify if this proposed spending is part of the N5.6 trillion budget deficit.
In a statement titled the Freedom of Information request, dated 23 January 2021 and signed by SERAP deputy Director, Kolawale Oluwadare, read in part: “Publishing the details of beneficiaries and selection criteria, and payment plan for six months would promote transparency and accountability, and remove the risks of mismanagement and diversion of public funds.
“It is important to invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to jointly track and monitor the payments.
“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take appropriate legal actions under the FoI Act to compel you to comply with our request.”
Ms Sadia Umar-Farouk had last week said that the Federal Government would pay about 24.3 million poor Nigerians N5,000 each for a period of six months to “provide help to those impoverished by the COVID-19 pandemic.”