The Presidency in Nigeria has asked citizens to turn-down any demand for money for forms of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programmes (SIP), saying none of the programmes attracts an application fee.
A spokesman for the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, warned against the ilelgal collection of fees on Sunday while giving a weekly media update on the SIP.
He said the government had received reports about instances where Nigerians were being asked to pay application fees for SIP forms.
“We want to make it clear that such action is illegal and could warrant criminal prosecution.
“Let us make this very clear: in order to benefit from N-Power, you don’t have to pay any application fees at all.
“The way to apply is to go online to the N-Power portal. But it is not open right now as we are still working on the 200,000 unemployed graduates already engaged,” Mr Akande explained.
Regarding the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), he also explained that there were no application forms or fees to be paid either.
He said: “We are using a Community-Based Targeting template of the World Bank and as we have explained this is the mode of identifying the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable”.
The Vice President’s spokesman observed that there were instances during the N-Power online application process when some leaders decided to gather information of their people and then upload them onto the N-Power Internet portal to meet the online application requirement.
“We don’t frown on such an effort as long as the information of the N-Power applicants are properly in-putted online. But we frown at anyone selling forms to Nigerians for this programmes,” he said.
On claims that some party agents have been involved in such illegal form sales, Mr Akande said “the rule affected everyone”.
“No one should sell forms for N-Power or any of the President’s Social Investment Programmes. That is exploitation and it is fraudulent.”
On the progress so far recorded on the CCT, Mr Akande said payment was now taking place in all the nine pilot states, adding that altogether FG has already made cash available to keep the payments going.
Akande said while the CCT payments have started in the pilot states, although not everyone in those states have been paid due to logistics and banking challenges. He disclosed that three banks Stanbic, Access and GTB have been very helpful in the process, including supporting the implementation of aspects of the CCT pro bono.
The Vice President’s spokesman also told reporters that the Homegrown School Feeding Programme would also proceed this week with the addition of five states who will now be getting FG funding to ensure that primary school pupils in those states start enjoying one hot meal a day.
Ogun, Oyo, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Osun states would be added added to Anambra where the school feeding programme kicked off last year, to increase the number of states where the programme is being implemented to six.
At least 5.5 million Nigerian primary school pupils would be fed for 200 school days under the free Homegrown School Feeding Programme, according to the 2016 Budget, which has an allocation of 93.1 billion Naira appropriated for the feeding scheme.