Humanitarian Access Nigerians Needy
Npower National Programme beneficiary from Yobe State, Mallam Sani Garba, had lamented at a meeting with government officials in Abuja about pains from the nine months delay in payment of his stipend.
The delay had generated so much anxiety among the beneficiaries that tempers had begun to rise, and a nationwide protest was in the offing.
Garba said at the meeting with the Npower manager, Dr Akindele Egbuwalo, that he and other beneficiaries of the programme in different clusters were so frustrated that they were already planning a protest.
Elsewhere, Mary Enanya-Hyacinth, a 34-year-old mother of four children, had been waiting for her stipend to continue her sachet water and recharge card businesses which she does in front of her one room apartment at Kabusa area of the Federal Capital Territory.
Before the meeting with Dr Egbuwalo, the Npower manager, little did Garba and his group know that the federal government was set to commence payment of the nine months backlog.
The manager said the programme was only suspended in order to address matters affecting beneficiaries with keen focus on delayed payment.
He said as a result of the suspension of the programme for thorough restructuring and forensic audit, funds had been recovered from the existing payment service providers with plans to start disbursement of the outstanding stipends from November 2023, albeit in installments.
A relieved Garba then told the manager at the Abuja meeting; “Myself and other clusters of beneficiaries represented here have understood your position and taken your assurances, there is no need for any protest anymore.”
The beneficiaries expressed delight with the assurances given for better implementation of the programme, especially as they were told that no one would be left behind in the renewed hope agenda of government with a new name; Renewed Hope Job Creation Programme (RHJCP) under the supervision of the minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, and expanded to target five million beneficiaries in five years whereby one million youths will be absorbed each year under the graduate and non-graduate streams.
Speaking against the backdrop of discoveries made after preliminary investigations on how the N-Power programme was run in the past,
the minister said an audit would lead to an expanded programme to accommodate more less privileged Nigerians, among them people living with disability.
These people will be given more opportunities to contribute to nation building starting from her ministry, she said.
The recognition of these and other efforts have triggered encouragement and desire for partnership with the ministry in order to drive home humanitarian assistance to the needy.
Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu described Dr Edu as energetic and a “round peg in a round hole” who hit the ground running from day one.
He said she is a perfect fit for the ministry.
Samwo-Olu spoke during a visit by the minister at the Government House in Marina.