Part of recovered looted funds of late Head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha, was expended on various empowerment initiatives of the government, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais, disclosed in on Thursday.
Of $322 million recovered, $22.216 million was spent on empowerment schemes designed to lift millions of Nigerians from poverty level.
Speaking in Abuja while giving a run down of National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) program under Buhari administration, Uwais said disbursement of Abacha loot began in 2018 as the National Social Investment Office (NSIO) had to sort out some hurdles.
She added that Social Investment Programmes are anchored on four broad pillars which are the N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT), National Home-Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programmes (GEEP).
Uwais added that each of the schemes uniquely targets different subgroups of Nigerians for empowerment; irrespective of religion, political affiliation and social class.
On N-Power, the adviser said 500,000 people spread across 774 Local Government Areas have been recruited to teach in public schools, act as health workers in primary health centres and as agriculture extension advisors to smallholder farmers in various communities.
“N-power is the employability and enhancement programme of the Federal Government aimed at imbibing the learn-work-entrepreneurship culture in youth between 18 and 35 for graduates and non-graduates.
“To provide a level-playing field for applicants, the application and selection process is structured to be technologically driven, with verification conducted first by NIBSS (through the BVN) and subsequently at the State level, by the State working with the National Orientation Agency and other partners.
“We are also about to commence the N-Power STEAM Junior programme which will engage pupils in 12 government primary and secondary schools (as a pilot) to learn, as part of their school curriculum, computer programming, graphics, animation, etc. This is in a bid to develop the knowledge economy, with an eye on the future”, she explained.
Uwais faulted recent report of the World Poverty Clock which identified Nigeria as the poverty capital of the world because half the population (91.6 million) are now extremely poor.
She queried the indices, data used by the body which she said was outdated, stressing that the data and parameters used were 2012 figures and occurrences, which were neither captured current realities nor consistent with information domiciled with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).