*As Five More States Join School Feeding Scheme
Against the backdrop of reports about some undesirable elements demanding application fees for the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programmes (SIP), Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, on Sunday night urged Nigerians not to pay for the forms.
Akande who was giving a weekly media update on the SIP, urged Nigerians not to pay anyone, as “such action is illegal and could warrant criminal prosecution.
“Let us make this very clear: in order to benefit from N-Power, you don’t have to pay any application fees at all. The way to apply is to go online to the N-Power portal. But it is not open right now as we are still working on the 200,000 unemployed graduates already engaged.”
The Presidency also disclosed that five more states: Ogun, Oyo, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Osun would be joining in the implementation of the Homegrown School Feeding Programme. They would join Anambra where the school feeding programme kicked off last year, bringing to six the number of states implementing the scheme using FG funds.
At least 5.5 million Nigerian primary school pupils, the statement added, would be fed for 200 school days under the free Homegrown School Feeding Programme, for which N93.1 billion was appropriated in the 2016 budget for the feeding scheme.
A statement by Akande also explained that for the CCT, there are no application forms or fees to be paid either.
“We are using a Community-Based Targeting template of the World Bank and as we have explained this is the mode of identifying the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable,” recalling instances during the N-Power online application process when some leaders decided to gather information of their people and upload same onto the N-Power internet portal to meet the online application requirement.
“We don’t frown on such an effort as long as the information of the N-Power applicants are properly in-putted online. But we frown at anyone selling forms to Nigerians for this programmes,” he said.
On claims that some party agents have been involved in such illegal form sales, Akande said “the rule affects everyone. No one should sell forms for N-Power or any of the President’s Social Investment Programmes. That is exploitation and it is fraudulent.”
On the progress so far recorded on the CCT, Akande said payment is now taking place in all the nine pilot states, for which the Federal Government has already made cash available to keep the payments going.
Akande said while the CCT payments have started in the pilot states, not everyone in those states have been paid due to logistics and banking challenges, for which he acknowledged help from Stanbic IBTC Bank, Access Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank in the process, including supporting the implementation of aspects of the CCT free.
He also assured that the Homegrown School Feeding Programme would also proceed this week with the addition of five states who will now be getting FG funding to ensure that primary school pupils in those states start enjoying one hot meal a day.