By Joseph Erunke – Abuja
As criticisms trail the disbursement of money to the vulnerable in the federal government’s Conditional Cash Transfer scheme, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, has said no region or section Nigeria will be excluded.
Farouq said the programme was a national one with beneficiaries cutting across different religious and political inclinations hence people must desist from spreading unfounded rumors about it.
“This is a national programme irrespective of religion or political affiliation,” the minister said yesterday in Abuja, at a briefing held by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
She added:” It is a programme that has been on and nobody is going to be shortchanged. Let us be nationalistic in this very trying moment of our lives. We are all committed to this work and I appeal that everyone should contribute his or her quota to get through this pandemic.”
To this end, she said: “I want to appeal to citizens to desist from spreading fake and malicious news around.”
” We just started the programme of the cash transfer and we have different states with their numbers all over the country. No section of this country is going to be marginalized,” she explained.
Farouq spoke further: “It is a programme that has been on for years and the national social register as at 31st March 2020 is made up of 11,045,537 poor and vulnerable people in 35 states and 453 local government areas across the country.
“Currently, the beneficiaries that we give this cash transfer to are 2.6million people. In FCT, we have 5,982 households, in Nasarawa we have 8,271 households, Katsina has 6,723 households and, Anambra has 1,857 households.
“Household’s composition by the general standard is six-person per household. We are thinking of expanding the register and we are in touch with the UN Social Protection Donor group to see how the register can be largely expanded to cover additional 1million households but we have 11.4million households already for this intervention”.
“The way these people are captured is by community engagement. We go into the community and reach out to the opinion leaders there and they are the ones that decide which family falls within that category of poor and vulnerable households and that is what we use. So, there is real transparency and accountability in this regard.”
Recall that the minister had on Wednesday, commenced distribution of the N20,000 covering four months, precisely from January to April, to the vulnerable, at Kwali Central Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
The development was in line with the directive of President Muhammad Buhari that money is disbursed to the poorest of the poor captured under the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.