After waiting for almost three months for their monthly stipends, the beneficiaries under the federal government National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) volunteering scheme Npower smiles again as payment of October stipends commences today 10th December 2019. The last stipend received by the volunteers was the September 2019 monthly payment. The delay caused a lot of hardship on many of the beneficiaries who depend on the monthly stipends for their survival. However, no time would have been better, than now as the heat of preparation for the December festivities is already at its highest.
After waiting for two months for their monthly stipends, which was not forthcoming and couple with the silence from the side of the government and those in charge of managing the program on the cause of the delay in the payment of the beneficiaries stipends, many volunteers became infuriated. On December 2nd, 2019, Npower volunteers threaten strike action, and many volunteers decided to boycott going to their place of primary assignment. In a post that went viral on the various Npower social pages, the volunteers called on the Honorable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development to explain to them why they were been left in the dark without information regard what is going on. The post reads “It is extremely inhuman and the act of wickedness for the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development now in-charge of Npower, to treat 500,000 Nigerian Npower graduates like kids.”
Also on the 2nd of December, 2019, the Honorable Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq held a press conference where she address the beneficiaries on the cause of the delay in the payment of their monthly stipends. “About recent agitations and outcry against the non-approval of payments of October and November 2019 stipends to Npower beneficiaries, the ministry wishes to reaffirm its commitment to ensuring that beneficiaries of all the Social Investment programmes access interventions designed for them within the stipulated guidelines”. She also said that the ministry is making all effort to ensure that volunteers gets their October stipends and all other outstanding payment on or before the 20th of December 2019.
Just as the honorable minister has promise, beneficiaries have started to get credit alert from Npower for the outstanding payment of their stipends for October, November, and December. We contacted some Npower Beneficiaries to confirm the information that payment has started an here are some of the response we got form beneficiaries.
Omolewa Ibrahim said “Thank God, that the federal government are fulfilling their promise to pay on or before the 20th of December, 2019. I was already skeptical about the program, one cannot trust the government again. But this has shown that the government also listen to the yearnings of the masses.” Another beneficiaries Micheal Okon who we spoke to though commended the government but said government needs to create enabling environment for business as youth cannot continue to depend on the meager 30,000 nairas for survival. “The government has kept o their promise to pay us our stipends before end of December, but for how long are we going to depend on 30,000. Just look at how people are suffering because there was a delay in payment. What I would advise is for the government to create a business enabling environment, where business and trade can strive. I am not saying the National Social Investment Programme is a bad idea, but we need a business-friendly environment.”
Ganiyat Kolawole said “The delay affected me personally because nobody expected the delay in payment, so I did not prepare myself for it. It was difficult for me, going to my place of primary assignment. Alhamdulillah, that we have start to receive payment”.
David Segun “It a welcome development that the Honorable Minister for Humanitarian, Disaster Management and Social Development Hajiya Sayida Farouq, kept to her word. I have already giving up hope on the programme. The government in this country has continued to disappoint its masses. Since last year they told us that we the 2016 beneficiaries would be absorbed into various ministries and government parastatals, yet nothing of such has happened. We were also told that the 2016 Npower first batch would move to enhance. We are still waiting for the enhancement.”
As payment start to trickle in, we can see the smile in faces of many of the beneficiaries who had already lost hope in the programme.