Abacha loot: Conditional cash transfer stalled in 4 states FG says $322.5m disbursed to 1.9m poor Nigerians

The conditional cash transfer scheme of the National Social Safety Net Programme (NASSP) was stalled for two years in the four states of Edo, Enugu, Kebbi, and Ondo due to technical issues, the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) said.

The scheme is financed by the $322.5 million loot of Sani Abacha, a former head of state which Switzerland returned to the Nigerian government in 2017.

The ministry of finance had requested that the fund be used to finance the $500 million National Social Safety Net Programme (NASSP) in the form of conditional cash transfers to poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

David Ugolor, ANEEJ executive director disclosed this in Abuja at a press conference to give an update on a monitoring exercise on the payment to the beneficiaries in the four states.

Ugolor said ANEEJ and its partners advocated for the resolution of the issues which led to the beneficiaries getting paid.

“Reprieve came the way of the beneficiaries of the National Cash Transfer Programme in Edo, Ondo, Enugu and Kebbi States where payment had been stalled, as beneficiaries trooped out to receive their payment in designated centres across the four states,” he said.

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Ugolor stated that the exercise started with the screening of the beneficiaries on April 19, 2022, at Kokani Ward in Jega local government area of Kebbi State, while the payment to the beneficiaries commenced on Monday, April 25, 2022.

The executive director noted that a total of N1,920,000,000 was disbursed to 46,780 beneficiaries across six local government areas in the state.

He said in Ondo the payment commenced on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at Oba-lle Ward in Akure North local government area, adding that a total of N120,544,000 was disbursed to 3,673 beneficiaries in 6 local government areas across the state.

Ugolor said in Edo State, the pre-disbursement meeting was held on April 19, 2022, while payment to beneficiaries began on April 29, 2022, at Oredo LGA, Benin City.

“We didn’t know the reason why they didn’t pay that local government. We are following up. The delay of those four states was because the Payment Service Provider (PSP) was unable to reconcile the data of beneficiaries,” he said.

Ugolor further explained that on May 4, 2022, payment eventually commenced at Owo Development Centre, Nkanu East LGA in Enugu State while a total of N129,560,000 was disbursed to 3,144 beneficiaries.

He said the Federal Government has disbursed the entire $322.5 million Abacha loot of 2017 to 1.9 million poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

“The Abacha loot is exhausted. The interest of $11 million was accrued in the money where it was saved and it was disbursed to around 1.9 million poor Nigerians. “No politically motivated data was used in selecting the beneficiaries. The national social register was used to determine those who will benefit,” Ugolor claimed.

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