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TraderMoni is vote buying, says Transparency International

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Transparency International Nigeria has said the TraderMoni scheme , a collateral -free loan initiative targeted at petty traders and artisans as part of the National Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government , is a form of voter inducement .
The chairman of the anti – corruption organisation , Awwal Rafsanjani , who spoke on Lunchtime Politics, a programme of Channels Television , noted that the initiative was an “ official use of public funds in the name of TraderMoni to actually induce voters . ”

Rafsanjani noted that the TraderMoni scheme was not a programme that was “ part and parcel of the manifesto of the ruling party and it is not in Nigerian constitution . ”

He added , “ 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 . ”

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The Federal Government had , however , argued that the TraderMoni was an empowerment initiative designed to meet the financing need of at least two million petty traders across the country .

But Rafsanjani said if the government had TraderMoni as a policy plan , it should have begun its implementation earlier than a few weeks to the elections .

He stated that , no matter how well -intentioned , implementing the scheme close the elections would give different signals to Nigerians across the federation , adding that if the government was sincere about the scheme, it would have started before the elections drew this close .

According to the TNI chairman , mixing election campaigns with “ distribution of money ” is ill – advised.

“ Clearly, this is vote buying , as far as I am concerned, ” he added .

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