According to Newsfocusng, many of the employees recruited from throughout the country for the federal government’s 774,000 three-month employment that concluded in April were not paid.
According to our sources, the Extended Special Public Works (ESPW) program selected 1,000 persons from each of the 774 local government areas (LGAs) in 36 states.
Thousands of the chosen participants are yet to receive the monthly N20,000 promised to them, and some have only been paid for one month.
While some of those who applied for the job said they were never assigned to a job, others claimed they were short-changed throughout the one-month payment period and demanded that the federal government look into the matter.
President Muhammadu Buhari approved the three-month program last year to address challenges linked with a shortage of jobs in rural areas through a short-term engagement.
The participants were mostly drawn from a pool of untrained people in each of the 774 local government districts.
After the initiative was introduced amid pomp and grandeur and extensively publicized by the media, the beneficiaries were said to have performed civic duties such as street cleaning in exchange.
Participants were intended to save the N60,000 provided to them within three months, according to the public work’s planners, so that they might utilize it as seed money for other endeavors.
An investigation revealed that many of the selected beneficiaries in the states who have completed the public works within the three months provided (February to April) are yet to be paid the N20,000 promised them.
In Borno State, some participants said they were paid for only one month.
Hajja Fanna from Gamboru in Ngala Local Government Area who was among the 27,000 unemployed youths said she was still waiting to collect her remaining N40,000.
Another beneficiary from Jere LGA, who would not want to be named, said he participated in the programme but still awaits his payments.
Mrs Mairo Aliyu, the Coordinator of the National Directorate of Employment in Borno, who is also the Secretary of the Borno State Selection Committee of the Extended Special Public Works Programme, said 1,000 unemployed youngsters were recruited from each of the state’s 27 local government areas.
She acknowledged that each participant was expected to receive a monthly payment of N20,000 from a chosen group of banks, and that despite the fact that the three-month program had ended, certain institutions were still processing payments owing to unforeseen circumstances.
An inquiry in Kaduna State revealed that many members had not received their payments months after the scheme was launched.
One of the beneficiaries from Kaduna North who simply identified himself as Jibril said he had not received any allowance since the programme started.
“Most of us from Kaduna North Local Government have not been paid and we don’t know why because the programme had ended in April,” he said.
State Coordinator of NDE, Sani Maiwada, said some of the banks had already paid the beneficiaries one month salary while some were yet to pay the money.
In Oyo State, only about 30 per cent of the applicants who were using one of the stipulated banks got N20,000 stipends, We gathered. Some of the applicants said they didn’t get any information from the NDE in Oyo State on the mode of operation for the job.
A housewife, who refused to be named, said: “I have not been paid. Even my friend had done her own documentation but she had not received anything from the bank. I am not convinced that they will pay because we are currently not doing any job.
“I think the scheme is a scam; it is possible some people have collected our money because nothing is impossible in Nigeria.”
The chairman and coordinator of the programme in Oyo State, Ope Salami, said that about 30 per cent of applicants had been paid for one or two months.
In Rivers State, it was gathered that 23,000 persons from the 23 LGAs of the state were selected for the special public works projects.
A source from the management committee of the project told our reporter that about N1.38bn was released but could not confirm if it was accessed by the participants.
However, the source who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter said equipment for the applicants had been distributed to local government councils through the NDE.
Findings showed that most of the participants in Cross River State have not received the monthly stipends of N20,0000. Some of them who spoke with us said they were to be paid through one of the second generation banks but they were yet to be paid even though they had completed their documentations.
Miss Regina Akpabio who resides in Calabar South said she had visited the bank a number of times and filled the required forms but no luck.
Another participant, Dopse Edet, expressed dismay that months after the payment was supposed to have started, they were yet to receive even one month pay.
Chairman of the project in Cross River State, Barrister Maria Ukpayang, said it was difficult to immediately ascertain the number of those registered in the state and those currently receiving the monthly stipend.
Some beneficiaries of the NDE public works programme in Ondo State alleged that they were paid N16,000 instead of N20,000.
“The money was given to us by hand instead of being paid into our bank accounts,” noted one of the benefactors from Owo Local Government Area.
Another participant from Akoko South -West said that they were yet to be paid