The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Beta Edu, has made fresh appointments into non-existent entities and defunct World Bank- supported projects, findings by Daily Trust Saturday have shown.
Edu had on Monday via a statement by her Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Rasheed Zubair, announced the appointment of 13 persons to head different entities and programmes under her ministry.
However, investigation by Daily Trust Saturday revealed that some of the appointments were made into entities that no longer exist, including those that are no longer part of her ministry.
Findings by this newspaper showed that Olubunmi Bello is one of the 13 persons appointed as the national coordinator of the Community and Social Development Programme (CSDP), a defunct $415million World Bank-funded intervention project that was launched in 2009 and officially concluded in June, 2021.
The CSDP is a community-driven development (CDD) project focusing on improving access to services for human development. At its conclusion ceremony, former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq had noted that 11million Nigerians had benefited from the CSDP programme, with a clear record of impacting on poor and vulnerable communities and groups across the country.
Again, findings by this newspaper revealed that the current minister appointed Richard Romanus as the national programme manager of the Youth Empowerment and Social Support Operations (YESSO), another defunct World Bank-supported project.
Details from the World Bank project tracking site revealed that the YESSO-supported programme in Nigeria, which was initiated in 2013 with $300 million, is defunct.
Attempts to find out if there are available records to show why the YESSO programme’s name was changed from “Employment” to “Empowerment” by the World Bank or the Nigerian government turned out negative.
On the status of the programme, further checks showed that only the YESSO in Nigeria found on the World Bank tracking sites has the project IDs P157899 and P126964 and officially closed in September 2020.
Appointments outside jurisdiction
Our findings revealed that among the fresh appointments by Dr Edu on Monday, two were within the purview of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA).
Edu appointed Jamalu Kaburu as the National Communications Manager of the NSIP and Obande as the National Programme Manager for the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), which she renamed as “Renewed Hope Home Grown School Feeding and End Hunger Programme.”
In May 2023, former President Muhammadu Buhari signed the NSIPA bill into law. And President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had in September approved the appointment of Delu Bulus Yakubu as the pioneer National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programmes Agency (NSIPA) pending Senate confirmation.
Further checks by this newspaper showed that the NSIP Agency Act covers N-Power, Home-Grown School Feeding Programmes, and Conditional Cash Transfer in the country, among others.
However, in what looks like usurping the power of the NSIPA, Beta Edu appointed Obande and Kaburu into the NSIP and HGSFP, which should ordinarily be made by the pioneer coordinator of the newly established agency when confirmed by the Senate.
A reliable source within the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry explained to Daily Trust Saturday that: “With the NSIPA, these schemes are meant to be implemented and driven by the new agency and government employees to the new outfit. The minister has made appointments that ordinarily should be left to the pioneer coordinator of the NSIPA.”
Asked why the minister made appointments into defunct World Bank projects, the Special Adviser to Edu on Media and Public Affairs, Rasheed Zubair said, “The first part of the YESSO and CSDP had ended but the second part is beginning with this administration under National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO).”
Asked why the minister made appointments into NSIPA, an agency not under her jurisdiction, he said: “Their appointments are not agencies but programmes under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.”