By Uzair Adam Imam
The beneficiaries of the Household Upliftment Programme in Nassarawa Local Government of Kano State are stranded as officials abandon posts without explanations.
The Federal Government had in May 2022 commenced the distribution of debit cards to the beneficiaries of the scheme.
Household Upliftment Programme aims to provide access to targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households as captured from the National Social Register (NSR) based on standard eligibility criteria.
However, some of the beneficiaries expressed worries over how they spent three days going to the distribution centre located at Jigirya in the local government without being attended to.
Our reporter, who visited the Kano State Hisbah Office, Gigirya, where the beneficiaries trooped in hundreds to collect their automated debit cards to withdraw their cash, observed how disappointed they looked.
However, despite arriving at the place early in the morning, the beneficiaries bitterly complained that the officials did not come until around 1 pm.
The Daily Realityreporter gathered that the slowdown in attending to the beneficiaries was due to the failure of the officials to deploy enough staff to handle the issue smoothly.
Zenith Bank, which was in charge of distributing the debit cards to the verified beneficiaries, deployed only six of its staff to handle the people of the local government.
Tension as infant suffocates, paints
An elderly woman at the venue narrated to The Daily Reality how a newly born baby almost died because of the heat and congestion.
She said, “yesterday, we witnessed how a newly born baby of one of us that has been coming here for three days suffocated because of heat and painted.
“We all gathered to see for our eyes the fate of that baby. But at long last, God saved,” she said.
‘Our agent abandons us’
A household, Malam Ibrahim (not real name), who said he was from Tudun Murtala, said today (Friday) was his fourth time at the place, saying he was not attended to.
He said, “It is almost one o’clock, but the agent assigned to our ward has not arrived. Therefore, I think none of us will complete their verification and collect their ATM.”
The Daily Reality learned that a man, identified as Malam Aminu, was said to have caused the delay in attending to the people of Tudun Murtala as he was their agent.
Another household said, “We would have collected our ATM if our agent was around, but he has not arrived yet.”
However, when contacted, Malam Aminu said he was not authorized to speak to journalists.
Discrepancies in benefits noticeable
Efforts by The Daily Reality to know the exact amount of money from one household to another were unsuccessful as the officials refused to speak on the matter.
The officials have kept it a secret to themselves that even the beneficiaries are confused, as they don’t know how much they will get until they pay them.
Some of the beneficiaries have received N70,000, N57,000 and some others N40,000.
One of the households told our reporter, “My sister received N70,000 naira yesterday. What you get depends on the information you give them during registration.”
Another woman said her friend received a sum of N57,000 Friday.
However, when our reporter contacted the woman in charge of the program to comment on the matter, she said she was not allowed to speak on it as they were busy making arrangements to fast-track the distribution.
An official, who does not want his name in print, said the discrepancies were a result of what he called “old and new systems.”
He said those on the old system were paid a sum in the past. Therefore they will not receive the same amount as those on the new system.