Beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s National Social Investment Programme, N-Power, in Kogi State, have urged the Federal Government to pay their stipend for March 2020.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja, some beneficiaries said the payment of the stipend would enable them to take care of their needs during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Mr James Abayomi, an N-power-teach beneficiary, said that the non-payment of their March stipend had brought untold hardship to them.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the payment, noting that the programme, which the president initiated had “really helped us a lot’’.
Another beneficiary of N-power-Agro, Abdullahi Umar, decried the delay in the payment of their monthly stipends, especially under the new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
Umar urged the minister, Hajiya Sadiya Farouk to address the challenge without any further delay.
“Our stipend was not delayed when the programme was under the Office of the Vice President; so, we are calling on the minister to address the issue once and for all,’’ Umar said.
On her part, Mrs Felicia Oladele, a teacher at Army Day Children School, Lokoja, said ”we are begging the minister to pay our March stipend to enable us buy food.
“Asking us to stay at home without paying our March stipend is impacting negatively on us; we celebrated Easter on empty stomach”.
Also, Mrs Florence Ameh, an N-teach beneficiary, said the non-payment of March stipend made it difficult for her to contribute toward taking care of her family needs amidst the COVID-19 stay at home directive.
“The payment of March 2020 stipend of N30, 000 each to about 500, 000 beneficiaries would have been one of the stimulus packages for COVID-19. “But up till now, we have not been paid,’’ she said.
In a chat with NAN, the Unit Head of N-Power Programme in Kogi, Mr. Femi Bolaji, called on the beneficiaries to exercise patience, assuring them that their March stipend would soon be paid.
“When I reached out to the Abuja office to get an update last week, I was informed that the March 2020 stipend would be paid soon.
The ministry enjoined us to encourage the volunteers to exercise some patience’’.