The Convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, has urged President Bola Tinubu to reinstate the suspended National Social Investment Programmes to tackle rising hunger, economic hardship and food insecurity in the country.
Tinubu had in January suspended all administered programmes by the National Social Investment Programme Agency over alleged financial malfeasance by its Chief Executive Officer, Halima Shehu,
All four suspended programmes administered by NSIPA are N- Power Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
The President also directed a comprehensive inquiry into the alleged N585m scandal in the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation which the agency is under.
The probe followed the leaked memo by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, instructing the Accountant-General of the Federation, Dr Oluwatoyin Madein, to pay N585m into the private bank account of a project accountant in her ministry, Bridget Oniyelu.
Though the minister had claimed that the N585m payment was meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states, describing the allegations against her as baseless, she was later suspended by Tinubu.
Meanwhile, earlier in the week, youths and women took to the streets of Minna and Kano to protest what they described as the rising cost of living in the country.
In Niger, a group of women blocked the ever-busy Minna-Bida Road at the popular Kpakungu Roundabout and called on Tinubu to address the problem of ‘hunger in the land.’
Reacting to the waves of protests on Thursday in a statement, Adeyanju urged the President to reconsider the suspension of NSIP in light of the prevalent “hunger, hardships, and food insecurity plaguing the nation”.
According to him, recent protests in cities such as Niger, Kano, and Kogi have underscored the gravity of the situation and the urgent need for decisive action to be taken by the President.
Adeyanju also advised the President to explore alternative avenues for the management of these programs, such as involving religious bodies, including churches, mosques, and traditional rulers.
He urged Tinubu to prioritize transparency in the disbursement of funds through these programmes, stating that by adopting more accountable and transparent practices, the government can ensure that the allocated funds reach the intended beneficiaries promptly.
“It is imperative to recognize that Nigeria is currently sitting on a time bomb of hardships, banditry, insecurity, and kidnapping. The cumulative effect of these challenges has pushed our nation to the brink. If urgent measures are not taken to cushion the effects of this hardship, we fear that mass protests may erupt across the country, potentially leading to a serious revolution.
“We must acknowledge that there is a limit to what the people can endure. If President Tinubu genuinely cares about the well-being of the citizens and seeks to alleviate their suffering, it is important that he reinstates the suspended programmes that can provide much-needed support to ordinary citizens and the vulnerable,” Adeyanju said.
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