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Nigerian govt begins disbursement of N1.8bn to vulnerable households in Benue

Felix Oloyede

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Nigerian govt begins disbursement of N1.8bn to vulnerable households in Benue

The federal government has on Thursday began paying N1.8 billion to 58,963 households in Benue, under its conditional cash transfer programme, CCT.

The program started in Daudu, in the Guma local government area, in the state.

The programme, one of the federal government’s national social investment programs, aims to lift vulnerable citizens out of poverty.

Speaking to NAN at the kickoff, Dekaa Tarzaan, head of payments, said the exercise will cover nine local government areas in Benue.

Mr Tarzaan said three local government areas have been selected in each of the state’s three senatorial districts to benefit from the program.

He listed local governments like Vandeikya, Ushongo and Konshisha in Zone A, Gwer West, Guma and Buruku in Zone B, and Ogbadibo, Ado and Oju in Zone C.

He said 4,686 households in the Guma local government area would receive N140.6 million, while the consultants making the payment would travel to other senatorial areas for the payment to last 10 days.

He said the total amount of disbursements for the state was over $1.8 billion due to arrears.

“For each cycle, we have six payments covering one year, but there were arrears that are included in that cycle.

“Usually we pay six times every two months to cover a year, but because that payment included unpaid allowances, the figure has increased,” he explained.

Also speaking to NAN, the CCT office manager for the Guma local government area, Emmanuel Ikpe, said third-party facilitators were there to monitor the payment to make sure it went without a hitch.

For his part, Samuel Vaatsav, the CCT facilitator for the local government area, regretted the long distances walked by the beneficiaries to access the money.

He called on the government to improve the security situation in the areas to facilitate the decentralization of payments.

Some of the recipients praised the federal government for the program and described it as “people-centred”.

Mnguhenen Ali, a resident of Guma, said the money had helped her develop her yam and rice farms and urged the government to keep it.

She congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for this initiative and said people were proud of him.

Another beneficiary, Terdue Vaatsaa, also congratulated Buhari and the program coordinator for including the less privileged in the program.

He said what he received from the program had been of tremendous benefit to him and his family.

“I used it to develop my small retail business; pay the children’s school fees and increase the size of my farm, ” he said.

He called for an upward revision of the monthly allowance to allow beneficiaries to use it optimally.

Aper Iorungwa from Hiryam village said the money helped train his children in school and buy household items. (NAN)

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