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From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi

Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) under the project, “Monitoring of Recovered Assets in Nigeria Through Transparency and Accountability” (MANTRA), on Wednesday, paid an Advocacy Visit to the Benue State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU), in Makurdi, where they sought partnership to monitor disbursement of Abacha loot and other recovered loot in the country .

The civil society organization said the disbursement, management and monitoring of the funds can not be left to government alone hence the need to straighten partnerships to ensure that it is done in a manner that it will improve the lives of Nigerians.

The Programmes Officer, Public Finance Management of CJS, Mr Fedelis Onyejegbu told newsmen shortly after the meeting that the project MANTRA intends to monitor the disbursement of the US$322.5 million Abacha loot and other recovered loots under the Cash Transfer Programme of Federal Government social investment program.

He said the policy dialogue with government agencies involved have already been carried out.

Mr Onyejegbu said as a major advocate in the area of Public Finance management, good governance and policy reforms,  CSJ was partnering with African Network for Environmental Justices(ANEEJ) and other Civil Society Organizations to see to the effective implementation of MANTRA in Nigeria.

He noted that project MANTRA was out to “make the public more aware and knowledgeable enough to hold government accountable on issues of recovery and management of looted assets.

“To enhance the capacity of CSOs and citizens to effectively monitor the use of the recovered $322.5 million Abacha loot, $900,000 Alamieysia loot and other looted assets recovered.”

According to Mr Onyejegbu, MANTRA as a subset of the Aniti-Corrupt in Nigeria (ACORN)  is a project supportted by the Department for international Development(DFID).

Speaking to our Correspondent shortly after the Advocacy Units, the Acting Head Benue  State Cash Transfer Unit, (SCTU), Mr Waghbo Emmanuel said the State Unit of the programme was partnering such organizations to ensure that the programme works for the benefits of the targeted Nigerians which he said were the poorest of the poor in the country.

Mr Waghbo acknowledged the firmness of the Federal Government in ensuring that the common wealth of Nigerians which was recklessly swindled be redirected to the peoples purse through the cash transfer and other related programmes of the FG.

He commended the Benue State Government for their support in ensuring that the funds get to the targeted vulnerable citizens of the state as well as providing SCTU with office accommodation and staffing of the state unit.