From Zahraddeen Yakubu Shuaibu, Kano, Tijjani Ibrahim, Katsina, Kabiru R. Anwar, Yola, Victor Edozie, Port Harcourt & Magaji Isa Hunkuyi, Jalingo
Complaints have dogged the process of the N-Power Batch C, 2022 programme in parts of the country as participants bemoan operational challenges.
Following the conclusion and shortlist of the participants in the 2022 Batch C, applicants have complained of delays in documentation, or no payment for those cleared, and a general lack of communication from the managers of the programme.
For instance, participants in Kano State lament the claim of payment on their dashboard, which they don’t receive in their accounts.
The participants also allege that they have been waiting for deployment despite successful verification and thumbprint capturing, to no avail, while others are yet to be screened, especially those in Batch C, Stream 2, but those in Batch C, Stream 1 have been screened.
Bashir Usman, a beneficiary under Batch C, Stream 1 said that despite the long wait for thumbprint and verification, he was yet to be deployed to his place of primary assignment.
“Between shortlist to thumbprint and verification, we have spent over five months waiting.
“And now that we are screened and included in the beneficiaries list, we are yet to be deployed, and they have not paid us a single kobo.
“So there are challenges, honestly. Waiting for this long is also a big challenge. We are always in fear of whether the programme would no longer continue,” he said.
Aisha Salisu also got shortlisted in Batch C, Stream 2, but said she was not sure if she would benefit from the programme due to its slowness.
Also, some beneficiaries of Batch B that are already in the programme and receiving their payments lamented delay in the payment of their stipends.
For Khadija Lawal Usman, the programme, although helpful, is also a source of worry as she has never gotten her stipends at the right time.
“They just sent the May stipend, while for June I have to wait till next month,” she said, adding that some persons had not been paid for March, April, May and June.
The beneficiaries also lamented over the failure of the federal government to fulfill the promises they made to them.
Somebody in this category, who did not want to be named said, “They categorised us into three groups and trained the first set, with a promise that they would give us a loan to start business, but since then, we have not heard anything from them. We are now at home jobless.”
In Katsina State, beneficiaries of the programme also face problems of non-payment of allowances. All of them are being owed a minimum of two months’ allowances.
One of the beneficiaries, Nura Sani, told our reporter that the last time he received the allowance was close to the Sallah celebration in April.
“They were owing us three months’ allowances, then recently, they paid that of April, which means we still have those of May and June unpaid. That’s how it has been. The payment of our salaries has never been regular,” he said.
Sani, however, said other beneficiaries did not receive their allowances for the last four or five months while others were waiting for theirs from April till date.
Asked whether there was any explanation for the delay, Sani said nobody had said anything.
“The only time I know we had some interaction over this programme was when we met at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium here in Katsina to discuss a possible extension of our tenure because they said we would benefit from the programme for only a year, while the previous batches did at least two years,” he said.
Another beneficiary, Malam Mubarak, said that in addition to the problem of irregular payment, some beneficiaries could not get alerts, which compelled them to lodge a complaint at the state focal office for rectification, which in most cases took more than a month to be corrected.
He said he was also waiting for two payments – May and June – adding that he knew of colleagues who had unpaid allowances of up to five months.
In Adamawa State, participants in the Batch C programme are complaining that they have not been given relevant information after weeks of completing their documentation.
A candidate, Danfillo Taraba Junction, said he had completed the processes of data capture and physical verification a month ago, but there was no communication from the authorities on when the successful candidates are billed to start.
Another candidate, Jonah Jere, called on the federal government to speed up the process as the delay was creating a negative impression among the beneficiaries and members of the public.
In Rivers State, while some beneficiaries hailed the programme as good and beneficial, others complained of fraudulent activities among beneficiaries, who abstain from work and still receive payments.
A beneficiary, Blessing Amadi, said she was posted to one of the state government-owned primary schools in Oyigbo in October 2021 and she received a N30,000 monthly stipend. “It has helped me a great deal. I am very happy and wish to thank the federal government for creating such an opportunity for us,” she said.
Another beneficiary who simply gave his name as Gracious said she enrolled last year and was posted to a secondary school in Oyigbo.
She said, “I was enlisted last year and have been teaching in one of the secondary schools in Oyigbo. The programme is very good and has been of good benefit to me and my family.”
A supervisor in Oyigbo who pleaded anonymity said many of the beneficiaries would not come to work but had some understanding with coordinators of their locations to cover them.
In Taraba State, 20,000 youths were engaged in health, education, agriculutre etc under the scheme.
‘Participants need to be patient’
When contacted, officials of the programme, including an aide to the minister of humanitarian affairs, did not respond to the complaints of participants.
Also, when Daily Trust on Sunday visited the office of the contact person at the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, the door was locked and nobody was seen to provide information on the programme.
However, an official of the programme in Adamawa State, who wanted his identity hidden because he was not in a position to speak, urged participants to exercise patience as it could not be completed in a few weeks.
When contacted, an official of the state focal office, who said he did not have the authority to speak to the media, said the office was aware of such problems but the payment comes directly from the federal government.
“We are not responsible for the payment. Our duty is monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the beneficiaries discharge their responsibilities. And if any of them has a complaint, they lodge it here, while we pass it to the ministry,” he said.
He said the challenge was nationwide and not just in Katsina State.