Buhari govt yet to pay us – N-power beneficiaries reply Minister, Sadiya Farouq

Miffed by the announcement of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration that their April stipends have been paid, some N-Power beneficiaries have publicly debunked the claims.

Last Saturday, the Humanitarian Ministry claimed that April stipends had been credited to beneficiaries under the N-Power scheme.

Admitting that there was a slight delay, the Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq, blamed it on Government’s Integrated Financial Management Information System, GIFMIS.

GIFMIS is an IT-based system to improve the management of public expenditures and enhance accountability in ministries and agencies.

But in separate SOS e-mails, aggrieved beneficiaries rubbished the payment claims.

A complainant, Stephen (surname withheld), said he was “amazed” by the minister’s statement.

He wrote: “I want to tell you that none of us in my PPA (Place of Primary Assignment), even in Kaduna State generally, has received any money from her for April allowance.

“I’m sending this message to you so that you can help us press for the payment of our allowances( April and May). The press is the last hope of the masses. I know through you, a solution will come to our problem.”

Also, Loveth (surname withheld), sent the following: “Most of the N-Power beneficiaries have not been paid April and May stipends. I am surprised the people in charge are claiming we have all been paid. Please, we all have not been paid.”

Jethro, (surname withheld) another beneficiary also reacted in a similar manner.

The beneficiaries also alleged that some have not gotten their March payments.

“Out of a hundred, ten percent received and they concluded that all beneficiaries have received. She (Farouq) doesn’t know what beneficiaries are facing. Since they came to office, we have been facing lots of setbacks, please help us”.

In her press release, the minister said: “I can now announce that all N-Power beneficiaries from Batch A and B have been paid their April stipends.”

Farouq further assured that details will be provided as soon as May stipends are paid.

The N-Power programme was inaugurated by President Buhari in 2016 under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).

Its mandate is to lift citizens out of poverty through capacity building, investment and direct support.

The government said the N-Power scheme has enrolled about 500,000 beneficiaries – 200,000 from Batch A (September 2016) and 300,000 from Batch B (August 2018).

The Buhari administration continues to face criticisms over its handling of projects that involve the disbursement of cash and food items.

Aside the controversy trailing N-Power stipends, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) and other similar schemes, have been enmeshed in fraud allegations.

Nigerians have repeatedly asked the Nigerian government to publish a list of programmes’ beneficiaries, amounts expended and other details for transparency and public scrutiny.

Last week, Nigerian Patriots (NP) declared that the feeding project was a scam and insisted that officials be probed.

Former Deputy National Chairman of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bode George, said, “Pumping money into the school feeding programme while schools are not open is a little absurd.

“It is a redundant, unworkable palliative. In a nation where there is no standard numbering of houses, how do you get the food to the beneficiaries? This is more than laughable. It is tragic.”

In her reaction, the minister explained that the idea of “take-home rations is not unique to Nigeria, neither is it a scam”.

Farouq said it is “a globally accepted means of continuing to have access to nutrition and nutritionally-rich foods, despite disruptions to the traditional channels of school feeding”.

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