Some beneficiaries of the N-Power social investment programme have called on the Federal Government to probe the collection of N200 fee from beneficiaries in the ongoing verification exercise in Ebonyi.
Scores of N-Power beneficiaries in Ebonyi on Wednesday thronged the Unity Square, Abakaliki, venue of the verification exercise to participate in the state government-organised verification.
The beneficiaries alleged that no receipt was given for the N200 they paid, and wondered which government purse the money would be paid into.
They also decried the stress in the exercise, noting that beneficiaries usually did monthly clearance at their places of primary assignments.
Mr Gideon Ndubuisi, a beneficiary of the N-Teach component of the scheme, who spoke to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) explained that the statewide verification exercise was the first of its kind in the state.
Ndubuisi said verification exercise was done monthly at the Local Government Area or at a place of primary assignment without any charge.
He decried the payment of N200 paid by beneficiary, describing it as illegal act of extortion by the N-Power state officials.
He called for the probe of the verification exercise and the entire N-Power scheme in the state.
“We were asked to come for the verification exercise and before now the verification is usually done at the local government areas or at the place of one’s primary assignment without any charge.
“We were not told the reason for the statewide verification, but on reaching here, I was issued with a form requesting personal information of beneficiaries.
“You are required to pay N200 before you are issued with a verification form, no receipt is given to authenticate payment and I wonder where the money will go to.
“If they want to know if actually we are carrying out our duties, they should meet us at the places of our primary assignments.
“There is no justification for the exercise and I call on the Federal Government to probe the verification and the N200 charged on beneficiaries,” Ndubuisi said.
Mr John Ofoke, also a beneficiary in the N-teach component, decried alleged extortion by the officials from the beneficiaries and called for immediate probe into the programme in the state.
Ofoke, who teaches at the Agbaja Central school, Nwofe in Izzi Local Government Area, said that monthly verification exercise was usually at the local government area or at the place of primary assignment.
“The exercise is strenuous, illegal and came at a very short notice.
“Again, the N200 we are asked to pay for form is not receipted as evidence of payment, hence I am appealing to the Federal Government to investigate the illegal collection,” Ofoke said.
Meanwhile, Mr Nnanna Okoroafor, former N-Power focal person in Ebonyi and South-East facilitator of the programmes said that it was fraudulent to collect money under any guise from N-Power beneficiaries for purposes of verification.
He said that the various component structures in the N-Power scheme were saddled with the responsibility of verification of beneficiaries.
Okoroafor explained that verification exercises were usually done free at the local government areas by the various implementation structures and not at the state level.
“The Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) is in charge of N-agro, while the Primary Health Care and Universal Basic education are in charge of N-Health and N-teach components.
“The Supervisory heads of the structures are responsible for verification of staff under them at their local government areas”, Okoroafor said.
When contacted, Mrs Ugo Nnachi, N-Power focal person for Ebonyi, said she was out of the country.