Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
The House of Representatives has ordered investigation into an alleged arbitrariness in the management of the N-Power programme of the federal government.
At the plenary yesterday, Hon.Oluga Taiwo, moved a motion of urgent national importance on the need to investigate the arbitrariness and possible corruption in the N-Power programme, which was adopted by the House.
She said the federal government established the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) in 2015 in fulfillment of the administration campaign promises to Nigerians.
The NSIP, she said, included the N-Power programme, which consists of the N-Teach, N-Agro, N-Tech, N-Build and N-Creativity Programmes.
Oluga stressed that the N-Teach programme involved the engagement of Nigerians with minimum of NCE, OND, HND, B.sc, M.sc and Ph.D, who are posted to teach in different schools in the 36 states of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
She further explained that the programme requires N-Powerteachers to report in their states, and the state offices/local offices will consequently post them to different schools in various local government areas within the state to teach courses related to their discipline, as directed by their various school heads.
The lawmaker expressed worry that in recent times, there are increasing cases of N-Power beneficiaries/teachers who are diligent in their places of official assignment and have no queries or negative reports, yet at the end of the month, their payments are withheld and all efforts to get reinstated have proven abortive.
“Worried that these N-Power beneficiaries, their school principals and the independent monitors have confirmed that there are no queries, yet some of the N-Power beneficiaries have been blocked and exited from the platform for no reason whatsoever, while they keep reporting in their place of duty and have now been owed several months’ allowances.
“In Osun State alone, over 400 N-Power beneficiaries/teachers are been owed monthly allowances ranging from 12 months, 15 months to 18 months respectively, due to arbitrary withholding of their accounts and unlawful exit from the platform despite diligence at their place of official assignment, which is contrary to the objectives of the N-Power and N-Teach programme,” she lamented.
Oluga added that ‘the arbitrariness in withholding accounts and non-payment of monthly allowances’ signaled corruption and waste of public funds, noting that this is also the case in many other South-western states and some states in the North Central region.
The lawmaker took cognizance of the fact that the funds used for the NSIP belong to the government and were appropriated for that purpose by the National Assembly, “thus, the House is constitutionally empowered by the virtue of Section 88 and 89 to investigate waste or mismanagement of the funds.”
The House, therefore, directed its Committees on Sustainable Development Goals and Youth Development to immediately investigate the alleged arbitrariness in the management of the N-Teach programme and report back within the next three weeks.