The social media is inundated with complaints and lamentations of N-Power volunteers over the non-payment of October stipend deep into the month of November. A visit to any organization where N-Power volunteers are rendering their services will paint a better picture as you can get direct taste of the real situation. Remember the federal government in 2015 kick started this aspect of the present federal government’s Social Investment Programmes called N-Power with the initial 200,000 qualified Nigerian youths and an additional 300,000 volunteers in 2017. As they work, they were to earn a stipend of N30,000 every month. The payment, so far, has been very consistent, though with some minor hitches, until recently when it started getting delayed. Sometimes, it was delayed till into the middle of the next month. Most of the volunteers may have started getting used to this irregular pattern of payment until now, when October stipend is delayed beyond the expectations of the volunteers. To worsen the situation, the handlers of the programme, who often interface with the volunteers through social media platforms and live chats, have not come out with any official statement to explain such an unprecedented delay. This created room for various speculations as per the reason for the delay. However, SchoolUpdate has dug out the truth behind the delay. So read on for the full information.
Permit us to categorically state that the previous information from the handler of the N-Power twitter handle was not true. According to the statement issued sometime last week, it was alleged that the delay was due to the transfer and reconciliation of volunteers’ data to the new ministry which now oversees the N-Power programme. This misinformation was very unfortunate and unnecessary as it generated various forms of responses from the aggrieved beneficiaries and the concerned public. However, the truth surrounding the delay in the payment of October stipend has emerged.
The delay, according to the intel from a very reliable source, is due to the allegation of serious allegation of corruption cases of misconduct leveled against the managers of N-Power on Tuesday, 12th November 2019 by Hon. Oluga Taiwo at the plenary of the House of Representatives.
The honourable member who represents the good people of Ayedaade/Irewole/Isokan Federal Constituency of Osun State, while moving a motion of urgent national importance, alerted the house of the need to investigate the arbitrariness and possible corruption in the N-Power programme. She raised so many issues including non-payment of some volunteers who continue to work diligently and have no queries/negative reports against them, arbitrary exiting of some volunteers from the programme by N-Power authorities, refusal to pay backlogs to those who had issues at the commencement of the programme and so on to substantiate the necessity of the motion. She specifically went ahead to alleged that 400 N-Power volunteers (N-Teach) in Osun State alone are being owed for between 12 and 18 months due to arbitrary withholding or suspension of their accounts and illegal exit from the programme. The motion was unanimously adopted by the House members, which leadership mandated the House Committee on Sustainable Development Goals and Youth Development to immediately investigate the allegations in the management of the N-Power programme and report back in three weeks.
Following this mandate, the Committee had swung into action to investigate the alleged diversion of backlogs, unwarranted and deliberate forceful resignation of volunteers, diversion of the allowances meant for such beneficiaries that were unlawfully resigned from the programme and general cases of corruption brought against the management of the programme. As is always the case, almost everything about N-Power has to be put on hold while the investigation is being carried out. Therefore, the new ministry under which N-Power was moved to has to wait until the investigation is concluded. Only then can they be allowed to have access to volunteers’ data to effect payment.
The more saddening fact is that the said investigation just started on Monday, 18th November 2019. Assuming it will actually take the Committee the whole three weeks to conclude the investigation, there is no way payment can be made soon. With that at the back of the minds of the volunteers, it may be necessary for them to expect payment of allowances and backlogs to commence either on 9th December 2019 (if the said three weeks start counting from 18th November) or on 1st December (if the counting started the day the mandate was given to the committee) . By then the investigation must have been concluded and the volunteers’ data must have been transmitted to the new ministry which will forward same to the Accountant General of the Federation to authorize the Central Bank of Nigeria to effect payment. As it stands, the waiting game for October stipend may be long from being over.