Reading through the October 24th edition of the Sunday trust newspaper, I saw a report titled: Over N 7.2 billion NAPEP found left in two banks-senate committee. The report gave an account of the findings of the senate committee on national planning economic affairs and poverty alleviation signed by its chairman, senator Zainab Kure and Lawal Barau Bungudu ,the committee clerk; which carried out investigation into the dismal performance of NAPEP.

The report stated that “officials of the national poverty eradication programme, in collaboration with two commercial banks have left the funds idle in various accounts with no interest paid by the banks at the expense of the army of poor Nigerians. “it was further uncovered that one of the banks even charged the commission on turnover (COT) on NAPEP accounts, an action contrary to the directives of the central bank of Nigeria. The money according to the committee is meant for Village Economic Development Solution (VEDS) and COPE programmes.”

The poor and almost nonexistent performance of NAPEP, as an agency charged with alleviating poverty is no news, this fact makes one wonder! Why it took the committee this long to investigate the activities of NAPEP.

The big question here is; what is the money doing in banks ,while a high percentage of Nigerians languish in poverty?

The answer to this question is not farfetched. Though the committee observed the “the relationship between NAPEP and the banks was skewed in favour of the banks, as funds were managed to the disadvantage of NAPEP and the poor Nigerians,” I believe that the arrangement is more to the disadvantage of the latter group,(POOR NIGERIANS).

The report also made a stunning revelation regarding the way NAPEP officials in some states use their influence to approve for themselves directly or through others funds which they use without intention the of paying. It further discovered that the agency’s funds were used for politicking ,with money given to party members with no plans for recovery.

The capacity acquisition programme(CAP)and mandatory attachment programme (MAP) were also discovered to be full of irregularities; as the report stated that “faceless names and fake addresses were submitted to the committee by NAPEP during the investigations.”

Irregularities were also discovered in the supply and distribution of KEKE NAPEP tricycles, as the contractor is yet to supply the 3rd phase of the tricycles, despite receiving the complete payment of the contractual sum. It was also discovered to be that “most of the KEKES allocated to the states were diverted to open market and displayed for sale in some cities at exorbitant prices of N390,000 to 410,000.

The report attributed these problems in the agency to the failure in the monitoring and evaluation units of NAPEP at the National and state levels; despite over N1.850 billion provided between 2006 and 2008 for monitoring and evaluation. It also pointed out the lack of any legislation to regulate the activities of NAPEP, which made it a lord unto itself.

It is our hope, that the committee follows through with an action, so that the poor Nigerians whom these programmes are meant for can benefit from them. Dr Magnus kpakol,the NAPEP boss should step up to the play and explain these anomalies to the Nigerian poor.

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