The Federal Government says it has deployed anti-fraud technology in the selection and payment processes of its N-Power scheme.
Mr Afolabi Imoukhuede, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation (N-Power scheme), said this in Abuja on the News Agency of NigeriaForum.
Imoukhuede said that with the deployment of technology, applicants’ Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) were included in the scheme’s portal to ensure that stipends meant for beneficiaries did not go into the wrong accounts.
“Thanks to technology, when they applied we asked of the BVN and when they were selected we then asked them to go and upload their bank account number.
But then, part of our anti-fraud mechanisms and control was the fact that we didn’t allow them at the time when they were now selected and updating their bank account to change the BVN they uploaded before.
So when we then collected all of that we partnered the Nigerian Inter-Bank settlement System (NIBS) who is the custodian of all BVN in Nigeria at the moment and they run the NIBS validation.
Once all those records match, they check you and run you against the portal.Once you match, those are the ones we call NIBS verified and only those ones are paid.’’
The N-Power scheme is one of the six components of the government’s Social Intervention Programme (SIP), which seeks to recruit 500,000 volunteers as teachers, agricultural extension and health support workers.
Non payment claims
On the allegation of non-payment by some beneficiaries, he said many of the N-Power volunteers gave contradictory information about themselves, most of which could not pass the verification process.
According to Imoukhuede, in the first month of implementation the scheme captured 82,100 out of 200,000 beneficiaries in the first payment.
He said the scheme could only pay 65,000 beneficiaries then while others came back as invalid records.
“The reason, we can boldly say we have not paid a ghost worker or paid a wrong person is because it went through a transparent process.The only thing you will hear is non-payment and it is because measures have been put in place to address all these issues.’’
The presidential aide said that from a figure of 65,000 verified as at December 2016, the figure increased to 149,183 in April 2017.
Imoukhuede said in the N-Power Scheme, no fewer than 200,000 out of 500,000 youths targeted were recruited in the first batch of the exercise.
He said all beneficiaries from 36 states and the FCT had since been deployed while many had started receiving their N30,000 monthly stipends.
The aide said the N-power was implemented under the SIP as promised by President Buhari during his campaigns to help the poor and vulnerable people.
“We deployed 200, 000 of that 500,000 in the first batch and we also know that the process was such that we had a portal which was created for centralised application and recruitment and we went through.
“It opened June 2016 and closed August 31, 2016 after cleaning up of duplicate application, incomplete application, it rounded off with 751,000.’’
According to him, N-Power has two broad components of graduate and non-graduate schemes.
The aide said that the government had been focusing on graduates applicants.
“Those we focus on is the graduate applicants out of the 750,000 I mentioned, 350,000 were on the graduates applicant round, which took 200,000 of them,’’ he said.
Imoukhuede noted that volunteers in education were deployed as teaching assistants in public schools while healthcare volunteers were deployed to work in partnership with States’ Primary Health Care programmes.
According to him the agriculture extension volunteers are working with Agricultural Development Programmes in the various states and FCT.