Nigeria’s Presidency has denied stories that the Muhammadu Buhari administration may have stopped its promise to pay N5,000 stipend to some vulnerable Nigerians as promised by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, during its electioneering campaign.
But Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity who spoke to State House Correspondents on Monday was emphatic that the President never promised to pay N5000 to unemployed Nigerians.
President Buhari had during a meeting with members of Nigeria community in Saudi Arabia last week reportedly said his priority is not paying N5000 to unemployed Nigerians.
The President, according to reports, told his compatriots that he would rather spend such funds on development of infrastructure.
Akande told reporters that there is no way government can go back on the payment of the N5000 to vulnerable Nigerians as half a trillion was included for such purpose in the 2016 budget which is still being considered by the National Assembly.
According to him, the N5,000 monthly stipend which is already in the budget is for the vulnerable Nigerians and the extremely poor, and once the budget is passed, one million extremely poor Nigerians will begin to receive N5,000 monthly.
He said, “The budget for 2016 which has been submitted to the National Assembly has made an allocation of half a trillion naira, the first time in the history of this country’s budget where you have that huge chunk of money allocated for social investment.
“In that N500 billion which is half a trillion naira, close to about 20 per cent of the entire budget, there are six social safety net programmes. And one of them is the conditional cash transfer where government is going to pay N5,000 monthly to the vulnerable and extremely poor Nigerians. That promise stands.
“The President never promised to pay unemployed graduates N5,000; the President never made that promise and the government never made that claim that it will pay N5,000 to unemployed graduates.
“The programme for unemployed graduates is the direct creation of half a million teaching jobs so that they will be trained; 500,000 unemployed graduates will be trained to teach and they will be deployed to teach, while they are looking for their career paths or jobs. That still stands.
“In addition to that, there is also a scheme to train 370,000 non-graduate youth for skill acquisition and vocational training. During the time of that training, they will also be paid. So the President did not say that he would be giving unemployed graduates N5,000.”