By Ndu Samuel, Asaba
Hours after Npower volunteers took to the streets of Abuja in protest to press down sundry demands, the federal government of Nigeria have reacted to the protest.
In a statement on Friday by Rhoda Iliya, Deputy Director Press, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the ministry said the volunteers were demanding a cumulative N300bn during a rally at the National Assembly on Thursday.
Iliya stated that government cannot afford to make such amount available as grant to beneficiaries.
It said the rally later proceeded to the Federal Secretariat Complex in Abuja as the protesters claimed to be representatives of the Federal Government’s N-Power beneficiaries who were about to be exited.
The Director said the ministry observed from the protest that they were requesting the Federal Government to employ all the 500,000 N-Power beneficiaries as well as pay them a grant of N600,000 each.
“The ministry wishes to state that this demand was not part of the agreement of engagement they signed with the Federal Government, which clearly stipulated that they will be exited after two years.” She stated
“Furthermore, the government cannot afford the N300bn they were asking for as grant.”
She disclosed that money running into hundreds of billions were spent in the last four years by the Federal government to service the Npower scheme.
She however explained that the ministry was currently in talks with the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, the agency responsible for the payment of N-Power beneficiaries’ stipends, to ensure that every grey areas are iron out and stipends paid.
She said the ministry is also reaching out to some departments and agencies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria to see if they can be of help to beneficiaries by assisting them with loans.