- Some beneficiaries of N-Power in Osun state have again registered their grievances over the delay in the payment of their monthly stipends
- Legit.ng's investigation revealed that the beneficiaries have been owed two months stipends now
- A member of the House of Representatives from the state, Taiwo Oluga, was said to have called for an investigation into the alleged fraud by some N-Power officials
There seems to be a disquiet among the beneficiaries of N-Power in Osun state over the delay in the payment of their monthly stipends and alleged forceful ejection of some volunteers from the scheme.
Legit.ng's regional reporter in Osun state, Ibrahim Akinola, who visited some places of primary assignment of the N-Power beneficiaries in the state, interacted with them and got first-hand information on what could have been responsible for the delay.
The N-Power is part of the government National Social Intervention Programme (NSIP) which commenced in 2015 with the initial 200,000 graduates and another 300,000 volunteers were also added in 2017, giving a total of 500,000 beneficiaries.
Speaking with Legit.ng, a beneficiary who didn't want his name in print, said the payment was very smooth and commendable initially before it became epileptic over a year ago, lamenting that none of them could voice out because of fear of being disengaged.
He said: "The payment was very smooth and commendable initially before it became epileptic more than a year ago, when it started getting delayed, even, into the middle of the following month. As you can see, this October stipend is the worst so far and none of the N-Power officials deems it fit to come out with just a statement to explain such an unprecedented delay."
Iyabode Tolulope, a visibly aggrieved beneficiary lamented that the scheme became worse when the NSIP was removed from the office of the vice president and put under a new ministry.
"This N-Power of a thing keeps on deteriorating every now and then. It has become even worse since the NSIP was moved to the new ministry. We have been experiencing untoward hardships. Many of us have been unceremoniously exited or put on hold for no justification.
"Many have been owed backlogs of monthly stipends. There's a very wide communication gap between us and the N-Power officials. We are always in the dark. We only rely on mere rumour on social media for information. Even the homegrown school feeding programme has been technically abandoned in virtually all the states of the federation," she said.
She queried: "What about the much talked about Trader Moni? What has become of the Market Moni? All have faded away? This was how Sure-P of the PDP dissolved into the thin air. If I may ask, is there a significant difference between the Sure-P of the PDP and N-Power of the APC? Only time will tell."
Although an N-Power social media handle claimed last week that the delay was due to data reconciliation at the new ministry, Legit.ng's findings from an insider in the ministry revealed entirely different reasons.
The source said that there were a serious report and allegation of corruption, diversion of backlogs of stipends, deliberate resignation of innocent beneficiaries and diversion of monies meant for those beneficiaries that were forcefully exited, deliberately resigned or put on hold by N-Power officials into their private accounts.
When probed further on how soon would all the stipends issues be rectified and what fate awaits those forcefully exited, resigned or put on hold, he said: "Remember that the honourable member representing Ayedaade/ Irewole/ Isokan at the federal constituency area of Osun state, Taiwo Oluga on November 12, at the plenary, called for an investigation into the said fraud by N-Power officials.
"As a result of that, the new ministry will have to wait until the investigation is concluded before the beneficiaries' data will be transmitted to them. The investigation only started on Monday, November 18 and it is expected to take up to three weeks. So, I don't think there will be payment of the backlogs or any rectification before three weeks time."
A source from the ministry of finance, budget and national planning who spoke with Legit.ng on the condition of anonymity, said: "Audit and verification of NSIP would be concluded by the House of Representatives and the ministry this week. October and November stipends might be paid anytime soon. Beneficiaries who were exited will be reinstated as well as those on hold and their stipends would be duly paid."
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that some beneficiaries of the N-Power programme threatened to embark on a peaceful protest over alleged delay in the payment of their monthly stipends.
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