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Two weeks ago, the Federal Government through the National Social Investment Office (NSIO) boldly stated that the N-Power scheme is immune to corruption. This statement perhaps came too early, as there have been revelations that the beneficiaries of the scheme have been found wanting in accountability. 

The N-Power is one of the schemes under the Social Investment Programmes (SIP). In July, the management of the N-Power scheme moved to sack 2,525 of its beneficiaries after investigations revealed that they were being absent from their places of primary assignment. In addition to this report on truancy, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, has claimed that some community leaders and local government officials were in the habit of demanding levies after the conclusion of payments in their communities. She has revealed the Federal Government’s intention to prosecute these saboteurs of its SIPs.

Likewise, a number of civil servants have resorted to abusing the N-Power programme. Some have become perpetual earners of free money as a result of the government’s inability to harmonize the BVN database and bank details of workers on its payroll. The resultant effect is the scourge of ghost workers who continue to suck the government’s purse dry. Some others have acquired a false sense of freedom since the N-Power scheme began. Thus, they have become lax in their duties while expecting the youths under the scheme to take over their own primary duties.

Besides, TraderMoni, another scheme under the SIP, has been criticized for its involvement in corrupt practices. TraderMoni empowerment loans were allegedly used to wangle votes from non-suspecting electorates during the last general elections.  Hence, some political players have accused Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, whose office oversees the SIP, of vote-buying.

Notwithstanding, there is no doubt that the N-Power scheme has been instrumental to bridging the manpower gap in primary and secondary education in the country. The N-Power Teach achieves this goal with even lesser resources; teachers have been paid nothing more than ₦30,000 since the scheme’s inception in 2016.

The office of the Vice President as the SIP’s supervisor definitely has a great role to play in averting the wind of corruption that is threatening the initiative. Irrespective of these shortcomings, the positive records of the SIP will stand as a noble achievement of the Buhari administration if it is shielded from corruption.

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This article was first published on 27th August 2019


Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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