The Monitoring Transparency and Accountability in the Management of Returned Assets, (MANTRA) project, a sub-sect of Anti-Corruption in Nigeria (ACORN) programme of DFID/UKAid, Thursday, said about 703,506 poor Nigerians received N23.7 billion from the $322.5 million “Abacha Loot” returned from Switzerland as at December 31, 2019 under the Conditional Cash Transfer of Nigeria’s Social Investment Programme, SIP.
Executive Director of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, and Head of MANTRA project, Rev David Ugolor, leading CSOs monitoring the disbursement nationwide disclosed this yesterday, at a World Press Conference/Virtual Meeting in Benin City, Edo State, while formally presenting to stakeholders and Nigerians MANTRA one-year field monitoring report covering from October 2018 to December 2019. According to Ugolor, the total number of beneficiaries monitored by the organisation were about 73, 998 spread across 4,540 communities, in 97 Local Government Areas from 20 states of the country in the database developed by the National Social Safety-Net Coordination Office, NASSCO, as verified.
It said the number was an improvement on the 30, 846 poor Nigerians recorded to have benefited in the first monitoring report from 11 States.
MANTRA is working with eight partners in the project across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria including Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Abuja (North Central); Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRISED), Kano (North West); Bayelsa Non-Governmental Forum (BANGOF), Yenagoa (South-South); FAHIMTA Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI)(North East); New Initiative for Social Development (NISD), Ado-Ekiti (South West); and Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), Enugu (South East). Others are the Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC), Lokoja; New Apostolic Church Centre for Development (NAC), GRA, Benin City which focused on behavior change programmes of MANTRA.
Present at the World Press Conference/Virtual Meeting include Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, are Dayo Akpata, representing Minister for Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; Director Asset Recovery and Management Unit (ARMU), Ladidi Abubakar; Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform and International Affairs, Juliet Ibekaku- Nwagwu; Country Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, Oliver Stolpe; Deputy Head of Mission, Switzerland Embassy, Anne-Beatrice Bullinger; Governance Adviser, DFID, Chris Okeke; and Social Protection Specialist, World Bank, Fanen Ade.
He said: “As Civil Society, our mission is to ensure transparent and judicious use of the recovered Abacha funds in line with its stated purpose to ensure that recovered money is not re-looted.