An anti-corruption organisation in Nigeria, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has filed a petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) against state governments and the Federal Capital Territory over the allegation of converting the NG-Care Programme to a state programme, corruptly reducing the amount received and the beneficiaries.
In a two-page petition document signed by its Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, titled “Complaint Against State Governments And The Federal Capital Territory On Allegation Of Converting The NG-Care Program To A State Program And Then Corruptly Reducing The Amount Received And Beneficiaries” the civil society group said a senator representing Ondo central at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Ayo Akinyelure made some weighty allegations against state governments in Nigeria as regard the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES).
In a viral video, Senator Akinyelure had said the NG-CARES programme of the Federal Government undertaken through the Bank of Industries (BOI) was targeted to benefit about 3,000 small-scale business owners per state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with each business owner receiving N3,200,000 grant in support of their business.
The petition reads in part, “The lawmaker further revealed that after the Federal Government disbursed the money through the various state governments converted the program to state programs, specifically cited Ondo State who converted the program to Ondo-CARES and Oyo State converted it to Oyo-CARES.
“Senator Ayo Akinyelure further alleged that the numbers of beneficiaries were reduced by the state governments from over 3,000 to just 100 while the amount received by each beneficiary was also reduced. In Ondo State, the amount was reduced to N300,000 while in Oyo State, the amount was reduced to N250,000. He specifically mentioned that he does not know about other states in the federation.
“Meanwhile, the mentioned grant which is the subject of corruption is a program initiated by the Federal Government to help sinking small businesses to recover from the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and in effect bring economic prosperity to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its citizens.”
According to Suraju, the allegation made in the video by a sitting Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a very weighty one that cannot be overlooked, coupled with the fact that among the states mentioned is the state the Senator is representing in the upper legislative chamber.
“We therefore as a matter of urgency call upon the Commission to diligently investigate this very weighty allegation against all the States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory,” it said.
HEDA further charged the Commission to make its report public as the people are the most affected by the alleged corruption. It also called for diligent prosecution of all actors involved in the alleged corruption impoverishing the citizens of the country.
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