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The Federal Government has commenced the payment of N5,000 monthly scheme to one million Nigerians.

A scheme to cushion the effects of excruciating poverty on the poorest members of the society has begun with the Federal Government’s monthly payment of N5,000 stipend to each of those categorised as such in Borno, Bauchi and Kwara states.

Nigerians from these states are the first set of beneficiaries in a pilot project that spans nine states in the first instance. It will eventually cover all the 36 states, targeting a total of one million people.

This is a welcome development. But it should be well structured and transparent to ensure that it is not hijacked or marred by corruption, which is endemic in our system. Other states where payments will follow soon are Cross River, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti.

In a statement released, by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Vice president Yemi Osinbajo, the government stated that the payment was effected through the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, of the government’s Social Investment Programmes, SIP.

According to the statement, one million Nigerians would receive N5,000 monthly payments under the CCT as a form of social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable as budgeted for in the 2016 Budget.

Mr. Akande added that many of the beneficiaries have already reported receiving their first payments in the first batch that commenced last week.

“In the first batch that commenced last week, nine states would be covered, and many of the beneficiaries have already reported receiving their first payments by Friday last week, December 30, 2016.

“Funds for the commencement of the payments in four states were released last week to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) – the platform that hosts and validates payments for all government’s social intervention programmes. Funds for another set of five states to complete the first batch of nine states would follow soon.”

The statement listed Borno, Kwara, Bauchi, Cross Rivers, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti states as states in the first batch to commence the CCT statement. It however said that the states were selected because they had a social register that identified the vulnerable and poorest Nigerians.

“Though the sequence for the payment of the money would be operationally managed by NIBSS, beneficiaries in Borno, Kwara and Bauchi States have started receiving the money. The other states in the first batch to commence the CCT payments are Cross Rivers, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ogun & Ekiti States,” Mr. Akande said.

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