The federal government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development says it has commenced the payment of arrears of stipends for batches A and B of the 2016 and 2018 volunteers of the N-Power programme nationwide.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Bashir Alkali, on Friday in Abuja.
Alkali said the accounts of these 14,021 volunteers were flagged in March 2020 by the Federal Government payment system, the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), for various reasons.
According to him, the reasons include beneficiaries holding multiple bank accounts and receiving other payments such as salaries and allowances from multiple Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on permanent employment
Alkali explained that these acts violated the regulations guiding the N-Power volunteer programme and could amount to gross misconduct and corruption.
The ministry carried out a detailed investigation in collaboration with relevant government MDAs and so far the accounts of 9,066 volunteers were cleared for final payment.
“Based on this reality, the five months allowance arrears of these volunteers, totalling N150,000 each is currently being paid. They have started receiving credit alerts today.
“The allowances of the remaining 4,955 is withheld pending the conclusion of further investigation. Where clear violations of the agreements are established, such violators will be subjected to appropriate sanctions as stipulated by the law.
“Contrary to some insinuations in the public domain, this process is a clear demonstration of the ministry’s resolve to address this unfortunate incidence in a transparent manner for accountability and to forestall its future occurrence.
“As it has consistently maintained, the investigation carried out by the ministry is in the best interest of the country and has the major goal of institutionalising the National Social Investment Programme,” Alkali said.
He said that the essence was to ensure the programme’s efficient management in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to ensure transparency and accountability in its implementation at all times.
“The ministry regrets the delays experienced in concluding this process, but assures the public that transparency and accountability cannot be compromised in all its activities”.