One million poor and vulnerable Nigerians have started receiving a monthly stipend of $16.4 expected to cushion them economically.
The social security program dubbed Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) is part of the governing party’s election campaign pledge to create a safety net for the poorest section of society.
The government says payments started last week in nine out of 36 of the country’s states.
The initiative also includes payment of $98.4 stipend to graduates employed under the N-Power program and disbursement of $3,400 as soft loan on the platform of micro credit scheme.
Beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer would be picked from the Social Register, initially developed by eight states with assistance from the World Bank.
Earlier, concerns were raised over the criteria to choose the beneficiaries.
Nigeria is struggling with an economic recession, making it hard for several families to cope financially.
Nigeria: N5,000 Stipend Not ‘Propaganda’ – Presidency
The Presidency on Wednesday dismissed insinuations that reports of the commencement of payment of N5,000 stipend to the less-privileged Nigerians were “mere propaganda”.
Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, stated this while fielding questions from State House correspondents in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr. Adesina’s remarks followed criticism by Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State that the Federal Government was using the scheme as a propaganda machine to score cheap political goals.
Mr. Adesina urged Nigerians to be wary of “detractors” as the government continues to “implement policies tailored towards uplifting their quality of life”.
“On the N5, 000 stipend for the poorest of the poor. It was announced specifically from the office of the Vice-President that the scheme has started in nine states and then someone came and said ‘it’s not true’.
“Is just a matter of who do you believe. This is a government that is built on integrity and accountability.
“This government will not lie to Nigerians, does not lie to Nigerians, in fact anything you hear from this government you can take it to the bank, believe it.
“So, if anybody says ‘it is politics’, is not true. Choose who to believe; I can tell you that you should believe this government because this government will not lie to you,” he said.
Mr. Adesina said the federal government had already commenced payment of N5, 000 stipends to poor Nigerians as against insinuations that the program had not commenced.
Mr. Fayose in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, described as propaganda the federal government N5, 000 monthly stipends to one million poor Nigerians.
The governor said most of the states listed were APC states and would not publicly refute the claim.
He challenged the federal government to publish the names of people collecting the stipends and their accounts.