On the alleged payment of N5, 000
Sir: There is dire need for checks to be undertaken by all of us on the alleged payment of N5, 000 monthly to the poor! Owing to the poor value of naira and daily increase in inflation rate, with outrageously high costs of living, the N5, 000 pittance cannot even feed a healthy 12-year-old boy beyond 10 days, let alone an adult.
Even at that, I seriously doubt the reported N5, 000 monthly stipend, which Federal Government claims it has started paying to millions of the poor in Nigeria! How and where have “the poor” been honestly identified? Do “the poor” have poverty tag, which Federal Government officials alone can see or imagine? Did “the poor and vulnerable” apply for the stipend through phone, online or physically to the presidency?
What are the criteria used by Federal Government for determining the poverty status of the imaginary beneficiaries? How has Federal Government easily found the “banks’ account numbers” of the beneficiaries of the N5, 000? Does it mean “the poor” had operated bank accounts before the alleged stipend payment or they hurriedly opened the accounts to receive the N5, 000 each? How easy is it for the illiterate poor to open bank accounts?
Can Federal Government publish the names of all the “poor” beneficiaries on its list, their bank accounts’ and phone numbers and contact addresses! These are questions that government must answer. If government asserts that over a million “poor people” get N5, 000 monthly as stipend, let the public see concrete proofs.
If funds meant for internally displaced people are allegedly stolen and misappropriated by some government officials, how will the public believe that “the stipend-receiving poor” are not just ghost beneficiaries?
No poor person or discerning Nigerian has publicly confirmed that he or she got the N5, 000! It is either a fluke, propaganda or a conduit for defrauding the nation, except the contrary is proven by government! Let Transparency International, the press and local anti-corruption societies verify the N5, 000 payments in public interest. Fighting corruption is a collective effort that requires truth, integrity, accountability and transparency.
Kunle Rotimi, Lagos.