The N5,000 stipend President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government promised to give poor Nigerians has reportedly kicked off via the Social Investment Programmes (SIP) in Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo States.
According to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, government has not been bias in the sharing formula of the cash as some people alleged.
“There is no way anyone can describe the selection of the beneficiaries of the CCT as partisan as the beneficiaries from eight of the nine pilot states were picked even before this administration came into office.
“First, the officials at the federal level, working with the state officials, identified the poorest local government areas, using an existing poverty map for the state, then the local government officials identified the poorest communities in the councils and we sent our teams there.
“The first thing our team did after selection in the council was to select members of the NOA, the local government areas and community officials to form the CBT team. Then we trained the selected officials on how to conduct focus group discussions at community level. These focus groups comprise women, men, youth, as the community determines.
“After training them, the CBT teams now go to each of their communities to sensitize the leaders, including traditional rulers, on the CBT process and the necessity for objectivity and openness in the process. At that meeting, they fixed up a date to convene a community meeting at a designated location within the community.
“On the set date, discussions are held in the local languages, using terminologies that resonate in that community. The CBT team will explain to the community the purpose of the gathering, i.e. to determine the parameters of poverty upon which persons can be described as poor and vulnerable within the context of that community.
“The CBT teams will then engage each group (men, women and youths) in the conversation around the criteria and parameters for determining the poorest people. The groups would then be encouraged to identify those households that fall within the criteria that the community itself determines and told that the information is required for government’s planning purposes.
“Various poverty criteria have been thrown up so far. In some cases, people have said it’s the number of times they eat, it’s the number of times the fumes of firewood go up from the house, the size of farmland or type of crops grown, etc.”
“Then the groups resume in plenary and report back the criteria and parameters discussed.
“The CBT team would then compile the criteria and parameters and ask each group to return to their break-out sessions and now begin to identify the households in the community that have been identified as fitting the criteria and parameters.
“Once that is done at the groups, everybody comes together again with names compiled by each group. Now, when the same name is featured in at least two of the three groups, it is deemed qualified to be listed on the Social Register.
“At this stage, we now enumerate the members of the household and open a bank account for each of the caregivers by capturing the biometric data of households identified as among the poorest and vulnerable.”