By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
More than 23, 000 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) of the Federal Government in Bauchi are now running into four months without the bi-monthly stipends payment, the Programme State Focal Person, Hajiya Amina Katagum has revealed.
The State focal person of the program at a town hall meeting on Social Investment Programmes (SIP) Tuesday in Bauchi, explained that last payment to the beneficiary was last July, hence with this November, they are now owing four months’ payment.
Hajiya Amina Katagum also expressed dismay that the CCT program in Bauchi had for sometimes been stagnated until the coming of the present administration when Governor Bala Mohammed directed for increment in the number of beneficiaries in the state.
She recalled that until the coming of the present administration the state has since the inception of the program in 2016 had only 23, 272 beneficiaries when other states in the federation have up 50, 000 and even 100, 000 beneficiaries.
Katagum also disclosed that following the directive of Governor Bala Mohammed for increase in the number of beneficiaries, the state has seven months witnessed an addition of 32, 450 beneficiaries thereby raising the number to 54, 974.
“Still we have a slot of about 41, 000 beneficiaries which identification is in progress and by December the state will have additional 41, 000 under the CCT, thus raising the number to about 96, 000”, she said.
Governor Bala Mohammed had while declaring the town hall meeting open, noted that Bauchi is ranked the poorest state in Nigeria, saying the rate of poverty and social inadequacies as sustained by Boko Haram conflict and effects of migration in North East have overstretched its limited resources.
Bala, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Baba Salihu Tela, said that 2019 data released by NBS showed that 83 million Nigerians are living below poverty line, which means citizens are considered poor even by our own standard.
He however said that components of SIP have tremendously impacted into the socio-economic life of the people, and therefore called on leadership at various levels to raise to the program challenges by taking decisive measures to reverse the alarming trends.
The governor commended the federal government for the introduction of the Social Investment Programme as a social safety net which has come to stay supporting the people and improving their economic wellbeing.
According to him, the Bauchi state government is making a deliberate and conscious efforts to carry along youths and women as priorities in the execution of its laudable policies and programmes.
He urged beneficiaries of the interventions to take them seriously by ensuring that they do not abuse the privileges derivable from the programme, while supervisors to ensure transparency in their conduct.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Programmes (SIP), co-organizers of the meeting, Senator Lawal Yahaya Gumau assured that the committee will do its best to ensure that the programme is sustained.
“We are going to establish a law in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that will safeguard this program so that no administration will come and say this programme is useless, just as we have a law in NEMA, National Refuges Commission, North East Development Commission, among others”, Gumau said.
Gumau also convened the message of President Muhammadu Buhari commending the Bauchi youths for not participating in the recent EndSARS protests, and not destroying anything be it for the government or private individuals in the state.