There is a likelihood that Friday’s inauguration ceremony of President-elect Muhammadu Buhari may be disrupted, as people owed by the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, have threatened to make sure the event does not go according to plans.
The beneficiaries of the programme under the auspices of Community Services for Women and Youths Empowerment Project, CSWYEP, and numbering about 119, 000 nationwide, claim they are yet to be paid their monthly stipends from February to May for several community-oriented services such as sweeping, cleaning of gutters, traffic control and maintenance of government properties.
Lucky Imasuen, Edo State chairman of CSWYEP who also doubles as the head of all state chairmen, said the planned action was necessary as members, 3,000 from each state of the federation, are concerned that the incoming government may not want to pay the debt
“We have always followed due process in the payment. The NDE handles the opening of the accounts for these beneficiaries and every month the money goes straight to their accounts. But in the past the beneficiaries have been owed three, four months and later they are paid in full,” Imasuen said.
“But as we speak the Federal Government owes February, March, April and May, they are owing state operators also. Even the N100, 000 monthly allowances of the state chairmen and other state operators have also not been paid. The Minister of Labour sent a memo, dated 18th May 2015 to all states of the Federation stating that the programme will come to an end May 29, 2015.”
Imasuen said all efforts to get the minister of Labour, Joel Ikenya, to solve the problems proved abortive, hence the resolve to a last resort.
“Now the beneficiaries are planning mass protest because of the fear that the incoming government may not honour the debt. We even told the Minister to address these issues but he did not, so we are all confused because even we state coordinators are being owed,” Imasuen explained.