NPOWER: NSIP officials accuse of collecting bribes.
Some officials of the National Social investment programme (NSIP) in Adogo headquarter of Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State have been allegedly fingered for extorting NPower applicants in the name of physical verification.
According to an investigative report by Wadata Media in collaboration with Mac Arthur foundation, which was aired on a private radio station in Kogi state and monitored by our correspondent on Thursday revealed that some NSIP officials have been collecting N1000 each from over 500 applicants saying” it was money for attestation which will determine the compulsory physical verification exercise for all the NPOWER applicant.
It was gathered that the purported attestation letter is allegedly signed and stamped by the Desk officer of NSIP in Ajaokuta Local Government Shaibu Ovosi Yakubu.
The under cover journalist in the report also pose as an NPower applicant, in which the officials at Adogo secretariat was heard in an audio clip negotiating N1000, for attestation letter.
It was further learnt that this is not the first time this alleged corrupt practice is carried out in this office.
According to the investigative report, similar alleged corrupt act was carried out at the same secretariat during the Npower batch A and B exercise.
Some applicants in the report said” they collected N1000 from us all in the name of attestation for our NPOWER physical verification. We called some of our people in other Local Government and state, they told us that is free. Why is this place different? We are very sure that is money is going to their private pocket and not the government because we were told is free. We have no choice but to pay it, because without crossing this bridge, we can’t participate in this NPOWER exercise”.
Speaking with the Kogi State Focal Person, Social investment Program, Mr Abdulkareem Onyekehi, said only six local government area out of the 21 local government areas in Kogi State have commenced the physical verification for Batch C Npower.
According to him, Ajaokuta Local Government is not part of the local government that has commenced physical verification.
Onyekehi explained that the purported physical verification exercise carried out in Adogo under Ajaokuta local government is fraudulent and should be disregarded by the general public.
He said no applicant is expected to pay money to any individual all in the name of physical verification for Npower.
His words “It is totally wrong. It is a clear violation to what the NPOWER stand for. Whoever that collect money from Npower is not under the guideline of NPOWER program. The Abuja Office didn’t instruct anybody to collect money from applicants. It is free of charge. I repeat again, physical verification is free.
” No levy is attached. As a matter of fact, Ajaokuta Local Government Area is not ready to commence physical verification for now. Only six LGA’s after my communication with the Kogi State NYSC director is ready for NPOWER physical verification. They are Lokoja LGA, Ibaji, Igalamela, Kogi LGA, and one other Local Government Area.
” This are the few LGA’S that are ready for physical verification. The reason why other LGA’S has not commenced is because the Batch 2 corp members are still in camp with their officials. When they leave the camp by 21st September 2021, according to my discussion with their state director, they will commence physical verification. For now, that is where we are. There is no physical verification in Adogo, under Ajaokuta Local Government, talk more of collecting charges. It is free”
The State Focal person however vowed to carry out an investigation into the allegation assuring that whoever that is found wanting will face the full wrath of the law.
Meanwhile, a former Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, (NBA) Barrister William Aliwo while speaking on the alleged corrupt act called on the appropriate authority to ensure that those behind this shameful act is brought to book.
In a chat with the Kogi State Commissioner, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences, (ICPC) Mr Okoro Ulu explained that they are yet to receive any petition on the matter.