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Anti-corruption War; Buhari Is a Deceit, Anti-corruption Agencies' Heads Should Resign

The National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA) and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation are under scrutiny due to allegations of massive fraud, leading to calls for an investigation into the previous Buhari administration by President Bola Tinubu. Established by Buhari in 2016, NSIPA operates under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, aiming to address poverty and hunger through various programs.

Key Programs and Corruption Concerns:

The NSIPA’s programs, including N-power, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Government Enterprise and Empowerment (GEEP), and Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF), were designed to alleviate poverty. However, concerns raised by civil society organizations and activists suggest that both NSIPA and the Ministry have become synonymous with corruption.

Recent Investigations and Suspensions:

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detained former Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouq and suspended NSIPA National Coordinator Halima Shehu over alleged corruption involving N37.1 billion social intervention funds. Further, the current Minister, Betta Edu, faced suspension for her alleged involvement in a N585 million fraud.

Tinubu’s Response:

In response to the allegations, President Tinubu suspended both Betta Edu and Halima Shehu and temporarily halted the NSIPA programs for six weeks. The suspension, as stated by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, aims to address operational lapses and improprieties in beneficiary payments.

Tinubu Support Group

Calls for a Broader Investigation:

While many commend Tinubu for swift action, there are increasing calls for a broader investigation into the entire Buhari administration.

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Various voices, including Willy Ezugwu of the Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and Ibrahim Zikirullahi of the Resource Center for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), stress the importance of probing corruption allegations to ensure accountability.

Challenges in Probing Buhari’s Administration:

However, some experts, like Eze Onyekpere of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), acknowledge the challenges in probing a predecessor. While probing the previous administration might be the right thing to do, there seems to be an unwritten rule in Nigerian politics that discourages sitting presidents from holding their predecessors accountable.

 

The alleged misappropriation of SIP funds has ignited a renewed focus on corruption within the NSIPA and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. President Tinubu’s decisive actions have addressed immediate concerns, but the debate continues on whether a broader investigation into the Buhari administration is feasible and necessary for accountability.