Poverty Index: Centre tackles SERAP over call for investigation of intervention programs


THE Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER) has described the call by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) for the probe of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development as mischievous, misplaced and attention seeking.

The centre, therefore, urged President Buhari to disregard SERAP’s letter.

According to a statement signed by its Executive Director, Dr (Mr) Cecilia Ikechukwu, CALSER said the ministry should rather be commended for its transparency and intervention programs that has benefitted millions of Nigerians.

“The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER) is alarmed at the simplistic assessment of Nigeria’s poverty burden by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), which resulted in its call for the probe of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD). We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to completely disregard SERAP’s letter as mischief targeted at making the president distrust one of his best-performing Ministers,” the statement said.

“CALSER views these calls for the probe of the social intervention programs under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development as misplaced and attention seeking considering the high level of transparency in the activity of the Ministry and the impact of these programs on Nigerians. The Ministry has proven to be one that directly impacts Nigerians through programmes that have improved the quality of life of indigent citizens.

“Instead of ordering a probe into the handling of social intervention programmes as SERAP is demanding, the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq should rather be commended for the giant strides the ministry recorded under her watch, particularly the numerous interventions of the various agencies under the ministry.

“It is apparent that SERAP assessed FMHADMSD as if it is the Ministry of Poverty Reduction/Eradication such that it failed to reckon that part of the ministry’s funding also went into disaster management and the provision of succour to distressed and internally displaced persons (IDPs). An honest assessment of the Ministry’s activity would throw up beneficiaries of the programmes that are willing to testify as to how their lives were turned around for the better because of what the Ministry did for them.

“The group also failed to factor in the severity of poverty prior to the execution of these social safety net programmes. Had SERAP referenced a baseline study that showed that these programmes are not meeting expectations instead of cherry-picking the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report then it would be in a potion to pontificate in its letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“SERAP’s threat to take legal action if its demand for the probe of the Ministry is not met within seven days is no surprise as the group often recites this tired line like a broken record. It is a ploy that it has consistently deployed to destabilize and distract any government Ministry, Department or Agency that it is targeting. Such distraction from SERAP has proven more damaging than whatever ill it claims to be fighting. Interestingly, SERAP has never gotten anything meaningful from its proliferated litigation against government interests and public officials.

“Rather than attempting to harass FMHADMSD and its minister, SERAP should come up with ingenious solutions for amplifying the impact of the good work that the ministry is already doing. For instance, CALSER would like to see religious bodies and non-profits commit higher percentages of their disposable resources to support the government’s poverty alleviation initiatives as is the case in some other jurisdictions”.

The Centre, however, urged Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq and FMHADMSD “not to be perturbed by SERAP’s theatrics in calling for a probe as this is a well-known modus operandi of the organization, which threatens government agencies and ministries on a weekly basis with cogent reasons.”

It also urged President Buhari to “urgently consider a special class of award for the Ministry and its management in recognition of the good work they have done in contributing towards the goal of his administration to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the course of ten years.”

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