The Federal Government said that the political will demonstrated in the execution of the N-Power programme, insulated it from corruption and other forms of sharp practices that marred similar youth empowerment endeavours in the past.
Communications Manager, National Social Investment Office (NSIO) Justice Bibiye, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said the transparency in running the programme was also responsible for its huge impact on its beneficiaries and the economy, NAN reports.
He said that media reports highlighting minority views expressed by a few critics who made bogus allegations bordering on corrupt practices in the implementation of N-Power did not reflect the true picture on ground.
Bibiye said that N-power, one of the social intervention programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, remained the most successful government-driven youth empowerment schemes in history.
“It is either those critics have lost touch with existential realities as it concerns this government’s strict approach in implementing its policies and programmes, or that the resounding successes recorded, as evidenced in the outpouring of sincere and honest testimonies by the beneficiaries, is lost on them.
“We are aware that some persons have assumed the role of perpetual pessimists of the SIPs, following the institution of processes and procedures that frown at selfish tendencies and corrupt practices at the NSIO.
“We, however, owe it a duty to Nigerians to continue to set the records straight whenever naysayers come up with falsehoods to mislead the public.
“We wish to state categorically that there are no N-power ghost beneficiaries neither is the programme embroiled in corruption as alleged by those who have decided to see nothing good in the scheme.
“From application, selection, deployment and payment of volunteers, the process is transparent, being technology driven,’’ he said.
According to him, at inception, the BVN of successful candidates are sent to Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) for verification.
Bibiye said that NIBSS, being the custodian of the BVN data, authenticated the identity of each and every name, number and account number submitted by the NSIO, and anyone not verified was dropped from the list of successful beneficiaries.
“For the first set of 200,000 beneficiaries submitted for verification, NIBSS verified 93 per cent of the total number, after which only those verified were submitted to the various States, which entities are saddled with the responsibility of physically verifying the beneficiaries and deploying them to their Primary Places of Assignment (PPA).
“Upon confirmation of the deployments to the PPAs, the NSIO then signs off to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, which makes payment directly to the accounts of beneficiaries through the NIBBS.
“This process also applies to other components of the social intervention programmes except for the National Conditional Cash Transfer programme, where due to logistics challenges, mobile money agents (MMA) are engaged to reach out to beneficiaries in the rural areas.
“The successful MMA’s are selected through an open process in compliance with the BPP Act, and even though they pay beneficiaries in remote locations where there is a dearth of banking infrastructure, they each have a backend technology that enables visibility and timely reconciliation of payments, as a pre-condition to engagement,’’ he said.
He said the Federal Government remained favourably disposed to constructive criticisms and the feedback that would aid ongoing efforts to strengthen the execution strategies of the SIPs for greater service delivery to Nigerians.
Bibiye, however, said that critics were also encouraged to follow up closely and interrogate the processes of the programme to avoid making remarks that were not evidence-based.
He said that Nigerians, particularly beneficiaries of the programme and their dependents, should be rest assured that the SIPs were not crumbling or coming to an end any time soon as predicted by naysayers.
The communications manager said that the Federal Government, through the NSIO, would continue to redouble efforts to ensure that the intended objectives of the Social Intervention Programmes were achieved in line with public expectations.
DSS Questions Sowore For Alleged Ties To IPOB, Boko Haram, Shiite
Sources familiar with the continued detention of Omoyele Sowore have told PREMIUM TIMES the Nigerian activist and convener of RevoluionNow was questioned earlier this week over purported ties to Boko Haram and other outlawed groups. Terrorism allegations were the focus of a grilling session conducted with Mr Sowore by State Security Service operatives on November 12, two sources familiar with the event told PREMIUM TIMES this weekend.
“Agents have been asking him to tell them about his relationship with Boko Haram, Islamic Movement of Nigeria and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra,” a source said on Sunday afternoon.
“He has continued to deny any relationship with all these groups.” Boko Haram was outlawed by the Jonathan administration and later designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States in November 2013.
President Buhari’s categorisation of Shiite IMN and separatist IPOB has remained one of the most controversial decisions of his government, with opinions splitting over whether a religious or self-determination group could be outlawed under a secular constitutional democracy.
The information came 10 days after Nigerians had been demanding official explanation for the controversial re-arrest of Mr Sowore on December 6.
The questioning indicated the secret police has started fresh plots to file yet another set of criminal charges against the Sahara Reporters, and would likely be before another judge.
This came a week after Omoyele Sowore was violently seized from courtroom by armed agents of the DSS, a domestic intelligence outfit reputable for acts of repression and targeted attacks on anti-government voices.
Mr Sowore was released the night preceding the December 6 court invasion when the SSS pretended to obey the order of a federal judge handling the case.
BREAKING: Traditional Ruler, Oluwo Divorces Jamaican Wife
The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, has divorced his wife, Chanel Chin, saying “she is now an ex-Queen of Iwoland.
Though the reason for the separation between the traditional ruler and his ex-wife, a Jamaican who had a boy named Oduduwa for him could not be ascertained, a statement signed by the monarch’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr Alli Ibraheem confirmed the development.
According to the statement: “This is to inform the general public, most especially friends and associates of the Oluwo of Iwoland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Dr) Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, Telu I, that Ms Chanel Chin is an ex-queen of his majesty.
This information is necessary for the attention of the general public to avoid representation on proxy or accordance of respect attached to the sacred stool of Oluwo to her.
“For personal irreconcilable differences, Chanel Chin ceased to be his Majesty’s queen. We equally enjoin the public to disregard any business transaction or request with her using the office of his majesty. We wish her the best in her new journey,” the statement concluded. It would be recalled that Oba Akanbi got married to Chanel Chin shortly after he ascended the throne of his forefathers in November 10, 2015.
2023 Presidency: Jonathan, Others Destroy Zoning Formula – Arewa Youths
The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) has accused a former president, Goodluck Jonathan and all those who helped him to get to power in 2011 of breaking the zonal arrangement for a rotational presidency.
The accusation was made by AYCF’s national president, Yerima Shettima, when he visited Legit TV studios on Tuesday, December 10 in Lagos.
Speaking on Legit TV’s live programme, Political Arena, Shettima argued that Jonathan was supposed to just finish Yar’ Adua’s term after the latter’s death and move on, rather than choosing to stay on.
Former president, Goodluck Jonathan, is accused of destroying the zoning arrangement by contesting in 2011 instead of stepping aside for a northerner.
Shettima noted that by staying on in power after using up Yar’Adua’s two years, Jonathan took an additional 4 years away from the region.
This incident, Shettima said, completely ended the gentleman’s agreement between the north and the south on rotational leadership at the centre.
“Jonathan had that remnant of two years from Yar’Adua’s regime and subsequently in 2011, ordinarily, in the spirit of a rotational presidency, or whatever-whatever, ordinarily in normal circumstances, one would have expected Jonathan to step aside and allow another northern person to come onboard.
But Jonathan still went ahead (to contest for the presidency). And that was the moment when the issue of a rotational presidency was completely jettisoned. It is not even on record anymore. At that level, I believe strongly that the agreement had been broken.”
Asked if he blamed Jonathan for the collapse of the zoning arrangement, Shettima replied, “I blame those who stood at that time to do what they did.”
Arewa youths believe that the gentleman’s agreement to rotate the presidency between the north and the south has been broken completely – AYCF’s national president, Shettima, said the blame for this should be placed on all of those that helped Jonathan become president in 2011 – Shettima believes that because of this and more, the north deserves to remain in power for longer than 2023 when President Buhari ends his term
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