By Lucky Isibor
The New Apostolic Church Centre for Development (NCD) has appealed to the federal and governments in the 36 states of the country to come to the aid of the poorest of the poor in Nigeria as the Covid-19 pandemic has stripped them of their meagre sources of livelihood.
The Advisor, New Apostolic Centre for Development, Victor Oriakhi who made the call on Wednesday, September 16, in Benin City, on the occasion of the review of the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the federal government ‘Conditional Cash Transfer’ (CCT) beneficiaries by the NCD in collaboration with the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ and funded by the Department of International Development, DFID noted that the stoppage of the payment of CCT in some states in the country left the beneficiaries at crossroads since the out break of the pandemic.
“Unlike some other countries, Nigeria could not come up with a national palliative scheme to reduce the pains of the masses. Rather, the common claim and cover up was the misconception of using the stipend paid to the poorest of the poor as a cover up.
“Painful is the fact that some states as we speak have not received the N10,000 bi- monthly cash payment to the beneficiaries of the CCT since January 2020.”
Stressing that the “Assurance and fact finding visit of the NCD” Revealed that the bi – monthly payment to the beneficiaries was of tremendous assistance to them, disclosing that “most of the beneficiaries have their children in government schools. They could not meet up with the online teaching of their wards because they could neither afford phones nor buy data.”
“Many people have died of hunger than Covid-19 as they cannot meet up with the skyrocketing prices of food items on daily basis. In the same vain, cannot afford medical bills.
“Some that embarked on collective savings cannot continue. It has caused disaffection amongst the beneficiaries.
“Those that are farmers cannot buy farm implements and pesticides as such are out of business. Some cannot pay house rents and they are threatened by their landlords”, he said.
In his remarks, the programme officer of NCD, Felix Ekhator said the purpose of the focus discussion on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on CCT beneficiaries was to bridge the communication gap between the CCT beneficiaries and the CCT officials and even the public.
“The main essence is to make sure that there’s nexus between the beneficiaries, the government and the masses. We as an organization, we bridge the gap between the government and the beneficiaries and the masses to make sure information is well communicated to the beneficiaries.”
Ekhator assured the beneficiaries that NCD will continue to champion their cause to the CCT to ensure that their monthly stipends are paid.
Speaking on behalf of the CCT beneficiaries, Mrs. Faith Osayande and Mrs. Agbondimwin Ehizogie, thanked NCD and ANEEJ for championing their cause pledging to diligently utilize the money when it’s paid. They also thanked the two organizations for paying their transport fares to and from the venue of the focus discussion.