CSOs call for forensic audit of national social register to resolve ‘credibility’ issues



Open Alliance, a coalition of civil society organisations working to improve openness and accountability in governance, has called for an immediate forensic audit of the national social register.


The call follows the concerns raised by the National Economic Council (NEC) over the credibility of the register.


The register, comprising names of vulnerable people and households across the country, was created for the purpose of cash transfer and other social investment programmes.


On July 20, NEC, comprising the 36 state governors and led by Vice-President Kashim Shettima, resolved to discard the register for “lacking credibility” and agreed that states should develop their own registers using formal and informal means.


However, the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) said the register is an aggregation of state registers.


Reacting to the development, the CSO coalition, in a statement issued on Friday by Bolarinwa Iyanuoluwa, its national coordinator, expressed concern about the effectiveness of the whole scheme.


The CSOs argued that a forensic audit of the register is needed to determine its authenticity and “give Nigerians the details of the criteria for selecting the beneficiaries on the register”.


The Open Alliance said it also wants the government to uncover if the people in charge of the register have “siphoned the country’s public funds and determine the consequences of this is true”.


It added that to bridge the trust gap between the government and its citizens, an independent body must immediately carry out a forensic audit, and the government must make public the criteria for determining the eligibility for inclusion, and provide clarity on the selection process.


“Open Alliance believes open and transparent governance is fundamental to building a solid and equitable society. By conducting a forensic audit and being transparent about the criteria and selection process, we can safeguard the interests of citizens and uphold the principles of fairness and accountability,” the statement read.


It called on NEC to respond quickly to the concerns raised to enable an inclusive and transparent disbursement of the palliatives for poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

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