The beneficiaries of federal government Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme on Thursday raised alarm over what they described as extortion by community leaders.
The victims spoke at a meeting organized by The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, CHRICED titled Conditional Cash Transfer Redress Mechanism held at Chilla Luxury suites in Kano.
They alleged that they were compelled to pay between N500 and N1000 each from their monthly CCT allowance of N5000 to some corrupt ward and village heads in some parts of the state.
A woman leader who spoke under the condition of anonymity said “to be honest, initially I was afraid to speak out at this meeting, but with what is happening here today, I feel I should speak out.
“As a woman leader, I normally collect monies from the beneficiaries and proceed to hand over the monies to traditional heads in my area in Gwarzo local government.”
Also a CCT payment monitoring exercise conducted by CHRICED led by Huraira Isiyaku revealed that most of the beneficiaries alleged that they were intimidated to remit parts of their monies for onward transfer to community leaders in their domain.
Huraira stated that investigations conducted by her in Mallamawa community in Gwarzo local government area revealed how community leaders were illicitly benefiting from the federal government initiative at the expense of the targeted benefactors.
Kano state CCT Grievance Redress Officer, (SGRO) Halima Mohammed confirmed that several complaints bordering on extortion of CCT beneficiaries have been severally lodged against community leaders in the state.
She stated that those leaders, when queried over the allegation, have continued to explain that “the proceeds been remitted to them by CCT beneficiaries was in respect the agreement they had reached with the beneficiaries before they were enlisted into the programme.”
The head, Kano State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU), Aisha Sani Gezawa cautioned that the era of extorting the beneficiaries of the CCT project were numbered.
According to her, beneficiaries of the federal government initiative have continually complained of been victimized by their community leaders.
She warned that mechanism have been erected to address the ongoing abnormally surrounding the project, stressing that any staff caught in the act of extortion would be severely penalized.
She decried that a vast number of the beneficiaries were extorted by their community leaders, while others were extorted by their husbands, explaining that some husbands deny their wives the right to properly utilize the monies transfer to them to improve their household economy and hygiene.