The Federal Government says it is training no fewer than 1,500 independent monitors for various National Social Investment Programmes across 17 states in the southern part of the country.
Ismail Ahmed, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on N-SIP, disclosed this at the opening of the training on Tuesday in Akure.
Ahmed said that government’s target was to ensure effectiveness and productivity of the social programmes.
He said: “1,500 people are to participate in the southern part of the country as monitors, to pay attention to what is happening in their communities and get back to presidency through their report.
“The participants were drawn from the major stakeholders in the 17 states because we cannot monitor all these programmes directly from Abuja, considering we have 8,812 wards, 774 local governments and 36 states.
“Therefore, we need people on ground to report to us so that the billions of naira spent on these schemes will not go down the drain.”
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State noted that the programme was to showcase unflinching commitment to the plight of the vulnerable by making sure that social programmes were executed.
Akeredolu, who was represented by Ifedayo Abegunde, Secretary to the State Government, commended the FG for choosing the state for the training.
The governor urged the participants to acquaint themselves with the rudiments of the programme because its success would be measured by their reports.
Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, lauded the training in view of its prospect of bringing evaluation into N-SIP.
Ngige, who represented by Dr Martina Nwordu, Director, Special Duties in the ministry, said that the ministry was impressed because the programme would address unemployment in the country.
Similarly, Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment Programme, said the programme was to enable proper coordination of N-SIP in kicking poverty out of Nigeria.
Uwais added that FG was trying to close gaps between the rich and the vulnerable in the society.
According to her, 9.7 million direct beneficiaries are being targeted by N-SIP schemes.
She noted that FG was putting measures in place to ensure that the funds are not squandered, urging the participants to be objective and impartial.
Olubunmi Ademosun, the Focal Person in Ondo State, admonished the participants to be diligent and hardworking, saying that their job was easy but demanding.
Ademosun said that the government relied on the participants to expose some sharp practices that might have been smuggled into N-SIP project.
Two of the trainees, Abosede Akintade, Ondo State and Obed Amasu from Abia, lauded the FG’s initiative of bringing the programme to grassroots monitoring.
They said that the people at the grassroots had been neglected for long, saying that if the programme was properly executed it would help the youth in the society.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the training, which started on May 22, will end on May 24.
NAN also reports that the trainees are to monitor Home-Grown School Feeding Progamme, Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme, N-Power Programmes and National Cash Transfer Programme.