The announcement was made by Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, during a TVC news program on Saturday.
The Npower program, which was initiated by the previous administration under President Muhammadu Buhari, was designed to tackle youth unemployment and promote social development. However, recent revelations have raised questions about the program’s effectiveness and transparency.
Minister Edu highlighted several issues that led to the suspension. One major concern is the presence of beneficiaries who should have exited the program in 2022 but are still receiving monthly stipends. This discrepancy has raised doubts about the accuracy of the program’s payroll and the legitimacy of some beneficiaries.
We must go back to look into Npower and understand what the problems are, so we will basically suspend the program for now until we are done with a proper investigation into the utilization of funds,” Minister Edu explained. The government aims to determine the exact number of beneficiaries, the outstanding amounts owed to them, and whether they are actively contributing to the program’s objectives.
The Minister emphasized the need for a comprehensive restructuring of the Npower program and its expansion. She stated, “There are lots going on. We met people who are supposed to have exited the program since last year, and they are still claiming that they are still teaching.” It was discovered that some beneficiaries are listed as teachers even though they are not actively working at their assigned locations.
According to Minister Edu, approximately 80 percent of these beneficiaries are not engaged in their designated roles, yet they continue to receive salaries, causing a significant drain on the program’s resources.
The suspension of the Npower program is a significant development that underscores the government’s commitment to addressing the issues that have plagued the initiative. The investigation into fund utilization and beneficiary legitimacy is expected to shed light on the program’s challenges and pave the way for meaningful reforms.
As Nigeria grapples with youth unemployment and social development concerns, the government’s decision to suspend and reevaluate the Npower program reflects its determination to ensure that public funds are effectively utilized for the benefit of the nation’s youth.