By Stephen Adeleye
Lokoja – N-Power beneficiaries under the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme (SIP) on Thursday appealed to the federal government to ensure timely payment of their monthly stipends to enhance their performance and productivity.
Some of the beneficiaries, in separate interviews told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja, commended the federal government for initiating the programme, saying it had transformed their lives tremendously.
They, however, decried the recent development in the delay in payment of their monthly stipends and urged the government to address their plight.
Mr Samuel Sanni, N-Power Teach, told NAN that payment of their stipends had always been delayed since March 2019, saying their July stipend had yet to be paid.
“Our hope was dashed during the Sallah celebration because our July stipend was not paid even till now. We felt disappointed.
“We are calling on the attention of the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo, to intervene so that our stipends can be timely paid,’’ Sanni said.
Another beneficiary, Mrs Joy Awosanmi, said: “we don’t know why our stipend is being delaying now, unlike when we use to get it the same time federal workers get their salaries.
“We want the vice president to speak to us on the matter, because we are hearing rumour that the federal government wants to discontinue the programme,’’ she said.
On his part, Mr Usman Abdullahi, N-Power Agro, told NAN that the delay in payment of his stipend was affecting his fishery business.
“ It is unfortunate I cannot get cash to buy fish meal for the fish.
“We are appealing to the federal government to help us to look into the matter and ensure regular and timely payment of our stipend,’’ Abdullahi said.
The beneficiaries, however, commended the federal government, especially the vice president, for ensuring optimum transparency in the programme which had made the children of nobody to benefit optimally from the initiative.
Speaking to NAN on the issue, Mr Femi Bolaji, the Unit Head of N-Power Programme in Kogi, urged the beneficiaries to be patient, assuring them that everything would soon be normalised.
Bolaji told NAN that the beneficiaries had also been coming to their office to make enquiries on why their stipends were being delayed, noting that payment were made directly from Abuja and not at the state level.
“Honestly, payment is made directly from Abuja. N-Power beneficiaries have been making enquiries on their own as to the reason for the delay in the payment of their stipends.
“Abuja has always been responsive and told the beneficiaries to exercise patience.
“My thinking is that since the new ministers and special advisers are to be appointed, processing of such huge bill in excess of N15 billion monthly for beneficiaries nationwide might not be as smooth as it should be, compared to when ministers, special advisers and SSAs were on ground.
“Effort is on to contact the national office to send out a public announcement regarding this recent delay in payment of stipends for N-Power beneficiaries,’’ he said.