Transparency International in Nigeria has described the federal government’s TraderMoni scheme as vote buying.
Speaking on a Channels Television programme, Awwal Rafsanjani, chairman of the anti-corruption organisation, said the policy was ill-advised and ill-timed. TraderMoni is a collateral-free loan for petty traders and artisans. It is under the federal government’s National Social Investment Programme (Ń-SIP).
Rafsanjani said the N10,000 loan under the guise of TraderMoni to small-scale traders is an abuse of public funds. He said if the government was honest about the scheme, it would have started earlier with the administration, not close to election period.
“It was not a part and parcel of the manifesto of the ruling party and it is not in Nigerian constitution,” he said.
“It was not done three years ago. It was only started close to election time. So, the allegation by many Nigerians that this is clearly a case of vote buying using public funds goes contrary to our constitution and to having a free and fair election.
“That is why the Independent National Electoral Commission itself has seen this danger. The vote buying we are seeing has transformed to have more official recognition through the acts that unfortunately we are seeing performed by some of the agencies using public funds.
“This is despite the statement by the president that public funds will not be used for his re-election campaign. But this, unfortunately, is contrary to what Nigerians are seeing.
“Clearly, this is vote buying, as far as I am concerned.”
This accusation comes as the United States of America and the United Kingdom have demanded credible and peaceful elections in Nigeria.
The two powerful Nation also threaten punitive measures against those caught perpetrating election malpractices.
Recall, that the United States and the United Kingdom, had on Thursday, announced repercussions, including visa restriction, for election interference and election-related violence.
They threatened to restrict masterminds of violence and their family members, during the forthcoming elections, from visiting the US and UK.
In a joint statement in Abuja, the two nations stressed that the upcoming elections are important not only to Nigeria, but to the African continent.
The United States Government, stressed that it does not support any specific Candidate or party, in Nigeria’s upcoming elections.
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