By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The House of Representatives has set up an inquiry into allegations of a possible corruption in the N-Power programme of the Federal Government.
A motion of Urgent National Importance entitled “Urgent Need to Investigate the Arbitrariness and Possible Corruption in the N-Power Programme of the Federal Government”, was sponsored by Hon. Taiwo Oluga (APC-Osun).
The House summarily, considered the Motion to probe the issues raised and “report back to the House within the next to three(3) weeks”.
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Hon. Oluga while reading her motion, noted that “in recent times, there are increasing cases of N-Power Beneficiaries/Teachers who are diligent in their places of official assignment and who have no queries or negative reports, yet at the end of the month, their payments are withheld and all efforts to get reinstated has proven abortive”.
She alleged that these N-POWER beneficiaries, their School Principals and the Independent Monitors have confirmed that there are no queries and yet some of the N-POWER beneficiaries have been blocked and exited from the platform for no reason whatsoever, yet they keep reporting in their place of duty and have now been owed several months allowances, without pay.
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She said “In Osun State alone, over 400 N-Power Beneficiaries/teachers arebeen owed monthly allowances, ranging from 12 months, 15 months and 18months respectively die to arbitrary withholding of their account and unlawful exit from platform, despite diligence at place of official assignment, which is contrary to the objectives of the N-Power, N-Teach Programme.”
She observed that the National Social Investment Programme which was established in 2015, was in fulfilment of the administration’s campaign promises to Nigerians through the implementation of the N-Teach, N-Agro, N-Tech, N-Build and N-Creativity Programmes.
She noted the N-Teach Programme involves the engagement of educated Nigerians with Minimum NCE, OND,HND, B.sc, M.sc and Ph.D. Degrees who are engaged and posted to teach in different schools in the 36 States and F.C.T.
According to her, “The N-Power Programme as a form of quality assurance and check, equally engaged Independent Monitors, One per Local Government, who Monitors the attendance of the N-Power Teachers at their various places of assignment, by paying unscheduled visits to them.
“The Independent Monitors are now required to investigate the teachers and report truancy indiscipline or misconduct to the NSIP Office in Abuja through their Electronic Tablets.
“Upon receipt of the queries by the NSIP Office, they conduct an investigation to ascertain the merits of the query and now withhold payment of the erring N-Power Teacher/Beneficiary by holding his profile for 45 days and if there is no change or satisfactory response within the period, they are exited from the programme.
She however regretted that in recent times, there are increasing cases of N-Power beneficiaries/Teachers who are diligent in their places of official assignment and who have no queries or negative reports, yet at the end of the month, their payments are withheld and all efforts to get reinstated has proven abortive.
She expressed worries that ” these N-Power beneficiaries, their School Principals and the Independent Monitors have confirmed that there are no queries and yet some of the N-Power beneficiaries have been blocked and exited from the platform for no reason whatsoever, yet they keep reporting in their place of duty and have now been owed several months’ monthly allowance without pay”.
She observed that”this arbitrariness in withholding accounts and non-poyment of monthly allowances signals corruption and waste of Public Funds. This is also the case in many other South Western States and some State in the North Central”.
The lawmaker noted that “the Funds used for the National Social Investment Programme ore monies belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and Appropriated for that purpose by the National Assembly and thus, this House is constitutionally empowered by virtue of Section 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to investigate waste or mismanagement of the Funds,”.
The House adopted the Motion and mandated the House Committees on Sustainable Development Goals and Youth Development should immediately investigate the alleged arbitrariness in the management of the N-Teach Program and report back to the House within the next three weeks for further legislative action.