By Olawale Ajimotokan
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has said the federal government cannot afford the cumulative N300 billion grant demanded by 500,000 exiting beneficiaries of the N-Power.
It would be recalled that the outgoing enrollees of the scheme on Thursday protested at the National Assembly and the Federal Secretariat Complex to request the federal government to employ as well as pay them all a grant of N600,000 each.
Farouq in a statement issued by the Deputy Director Information, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Rhoda Ishaku Iliya, insisted that this demand was not part of the agreement of engagement the beneficiaries signed with the federal government, which clearly stipulated that they would be exited after two years.
‘’It is noteworthy to state that the FGN has expended hundreds of billions to N-Power beneficiaries during the last four years and is liaising with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, which is responsible for the payment of their stipends, to ensure that any outstanding legitimate claim is settled.
‘’The FG cannot afford to continue to pay the exited N-Power beneficiaries stipends indefinitely, more so that the process of engagement of new beneficiaries has already began,’’ Farouq said.
She stressed that though the ministry was not a lending agency, it was in contact with other Ministry’s, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) such as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), to see if the exited beneficiaries can key into their empowerment programmes.