About 60% of N-Power beneficiaries have not been paid their March stipends, and as a result, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has been accused of dubiously converting the March salary of N-Power beneficiaries to COVID-19 palliatives by the Nigerian Government.
N-Power beneficiaries started receiving their stipends on the 14th of April, 2 weeks after they were due, with the ministry deciding to delay the payment.
Sources said that the delay in payment was part of measures to finalise plans to divert the salaries to palliatives for the Coronavirus pandemic in the country. The source also added that the ministry chose to go ahead with their plan despite a warning by stakeholders in the scheme.
In a bank notification, the payment was tagged “30k FG alert”, a move which sources in the ministry said tagging N-Power salary as Nigerian Government COVID-19 palliatives was a bid to divert funds originally meant for the palliative.
Since the transfer of the N-Power scheme from the office of the Vice President to the ministry, there has been delays in the payment of salaries despite approval and release of funds by the Ministry of Finance.
“Payment has always been processed and paid through the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) but the one for the month of March was processed with the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System (GIFMIS).
“This payment was done by skipping the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government,” a source in the ministry familiar with the payment told newsmen.
The source added that to be able to carry out the payment, the data of N-Power beneficiaries and others not included in the scheme was uploaded on the GIFMIS platform.
“The payment was done with GIFMIS, which was used to carry out the renaming of the N-Power March salary to COVID-19 palliatives,” the source said.
While this was done, some beneficiaries of N-Power were deliberately excluded from the payment of the March salary.
Another source in the ministry also condemned the move, saying desperate politicians were trying to benefit from relief funds for the poor.
“There is an ongoing pressure by some politicians trying hard to loot the money that was billed to be given to poor Nigerians as palliatives and they are ready to go any length to carry out this plan,” the source said.
There have been reports of a plan by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq; President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to divert funds meant as palliatives by altering the country’s social register.