George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Beneficiaries have been lauding President Muhammadu Buhari over the Household Uplifting Programme (HUP), otherwise known as the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme. The programme aims at responding to deficiencies in capacity and lack of investment in human capital of poor and vulnerable households.
The programme focuses on the poor and vulnerable households in Nigeria as identified through a combination of geographic and community-based targeting mechanisms. The identified household’s socioeconomic data is subjected to Proxy Means Testing (PMT) for ranking the poor and vulnerable in the National Social Register (NSR).
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Mrs. Sadiat Umaru Farouq, who kicked off the payment at Ikeduru Local Government Area, Imo State, said President Buhari has directed that beneficiaries be paid arrears, which is four months, to enable them to feed themselves during the period.
“I am here to carry out the directives of the President to pay two months of arrears which is N20,000 to each of the 7,296 persons in the nine local governments earlier chosen as a pilot project in the state. This is a routine programme and all the wards in the nine local governments will be paid and that is why we have commenced this payment at Ikeduru LGA headquarters today. He said a total of N145,296,000 would be paid to 7,296 persons in the state.
She advised the beneficiaries to utilise the money to buy food and observe social distancing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid being infected.
The beneficiaries, who are mostly widows, are still full of praises for President Buhari who has remembered them by paying them N5,000 every month.
They noted that life in the rural communities was very difficult, especially for widows and the aged, adding that the payment was like manna from heaven.
Madam Cecila Eke, an aged widow, who is one of the beneficiaries from Iho community in Ikeduru Local Government, expressed gratitude to President Buhari for remembering people like her with no one to assist them.
“When this programme started in 2018, I have been receiving the sum of N5,000 every month, which has assisted me to buy food for myself because I have nobody to help me as a widow. But when I did not receive any money in January and February, I thought that the programme had stopped. But on April 7, we were told that the minister was going to pay us and that we should come to the local government secretariat and we were paid N20,000 each. I am happy for that and I thank President Buhari who made it possible and God will bless him “.
It was the same for Madam Mgbafor from Okohia in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area, who gleefully displayed her money for all to see.
According to her, life has been very difficult for some of them who are widows in the village and even N200 was hard to come by.
“At my age, it is difficult for me to engage in a strenuous activity like farming, which is the major occupation in this community, and I don’t have anybody who could help me. So, most times, the money I get is from some relatives who return during festive periods. I am happy for this money. Now, I can buy some drugs for myself. And I thank the President for paying us.
“When you don’t have a source of income, it is a difficult situation and so every month since 2018. I look forward for the payment of that N5,000, which is a big money for me, and I have continued to pray for the president for God to protect him and his family.”