Officials engaged by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to implement its Cash Transfer Programme (CTP) have painted horrible experience of how the bank in charge of the initiative is frustrating its ongoing cash transfer programme in Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto states.
UNICEF is currently implementing CTP as an intervention programme in some northern states as a means of encouraging parents to get their children particularly females enrolled and remain in school.
Through the programme, UNICEF and its partners disburse N8, 000 to the children every term to encourage them to remain in school and get formal education. Evidences have confirmed that the CTP project had succeeded in mobilising more children back to school.
Both Zamfara and Kebbi states coordinator of the project, Maryam Shantali and Isah Usman, registered their frustrations at a UNICEF media dialogue held in Birnin Kebbi, on Monday, to assess the success and challenges of the CTP project in Kebbi, Zamfara and other states.
Zamfara State coordinator said the bank (named withheld) “has deliberately or otherwise frustrated our effort at having a seamless project implementation by repeatedly denying us funds for disbursement to beneficiaries.
“Everyone involved in the project agreed on a schedule of work. But the bank, for unknown reasons, chose to operate otherwise. We wrote to them on several occasions especially during payment, to know if they are ready. But most times, they don’t reply our mails neither do they honour their commitments. That had greatly frustrated our efforts.
“In their usual ways, they would allow us to assemble parents and beneficiaries at different payment points amidst security threats, and they won’t show up with the funds for disbursement, neither would they explain to us the reason for their actions. In most times, it will take strong intervention of UNICEF leadership for the bank to react.
“It has affected our credibility and reputations before the beneficiaries. Most worrisome is that it exposes the women, children and officials to danger because of the activities of bandits that are freely operating in Zamfara and other neighbouring states.”
UNICEF officials at the event said their office in Abuja was aware of the frustrations and were working assiduously to ensure that the challenges were corrected as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who declared the workshop open, appreciated UNICEF for the intervention, describing it as one critical means to pull millions of children out of the street back to schools.
The minister, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Child Right Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information, Uche Chuta, said the government will continue to support local and international interventions that would improve children education in Nigeria.