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Proliferating unpaid foreign social grants in Nigeria

By Amusa Tajudeen Lasisi 
18 October 2021   |   3:21 am
Dear Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on behalf of the entire social grants subscribers (community) in Nigeria, I write you under these mortarboards: Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Holder of Honourary Professorial Chair in Law...

Dear Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on behalf of the entire social grants subscribers (community) in Nigeria, I write you under these mortarboards: Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Holder of Honourary Professorial Chair in Law, Grand Champion of Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Public Administrator and Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – the implication of simultaneously outlining and condensing these stunning feats into singleton is that you might require them in resolving the onerous challenge we present before you today.

About 2016, a legal practitioner in Nigeria appeared out of the blue and cheaply sold brand of vending and mobilizing social grants to Nigerians from anonymous foreign grant donors purportedly based in the USA and other European countries through an initiative in the ilk of an Abuja-based Social Exchange Market (SEM) wherein subscribers sub-grouped themselves in cluster of 1,000 persons comprising 993 Beneficiaries and 7 Directors under Co-operative Societies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with promise of sourcing and disbursing the grants in sums of between 1 to 5 million naira to each subscriber. To this day, nobody anywhere in Nigeria got any grant from the lawyer and his SEM. The entire initiative howsoever dubious gulped billions of naira in subscription and mobilization levies from Nigeria’s unsuspecting subscribers.

Afterwards, in early 2020 and wake of COVID-19 Pandemic considering the looming economic downturn at that time, the failure and Nigeria’s receding economy created huge loopholes that proliferated similar social grant vendors escalating grant vending in the country as this bubbled throughout 2020 to date with the facilitators being notable Nigerian Christian clergies and academicians; accordingly, with aim to source, administer and disburse social grants to Nigerians aimed at cushioning the heavy-blow of COVID-19 Pandemic for bullish stimulation of livelihoods and businesses (SMEs) in the country. To this day, none amongst these current social grant vendors in the country, like the lawyer, delivered or disbursed the much anticipated grant to her target Nigerian subscribers.

Sir, I seek your due consideration to the effect that I am neither desperate, ungrateful or unmindful of the tireless efforts of the aforementioned current Nigerian social grant vendors in making grant happen to Nigerians albeit exude a bad sense of entitlement over a kind philanthropic gesture of some independent foreign grant donors providing monetary support at their will or ignorant of the procedures of foreign grant vending, reason we have to reach you through this medium that you will be able to help us unravel the mystery why grants vending rakes billions of naira from Nigerians in subscription and mobilization fees but never in cash disbursement thereby turning the hapless subscribers to donors rather than the otherwise.

May I also expose that several current social grant vendors in the country in frequent futile defence of their disbursement lag to her subscribers adduce the undue delay to some obscure administrative interferences, latent bottlenecks and perplexing constrains by the Nigerian Government and her Agents which hitherto leaves us wondering how an administration known to work round-the-clock in lifting millions of Nigerians from poverty, unemployment and hunger stall a mass social financing (grant) scheme tallying her earlier campaign promises and developmental goals capable of scaling about 50 million Nigerians to economic prosperity; This insipid contradiction is what we need you direly to help us decipher, resolve and answer!

However, I also humbly ask that you employ your mortarboards in cross-checking why for a period of about five years and counting, Nigerians pay heavy mobilization and subscription fees through her local grants vendors to source and vend foreign grants but aren’t getting any of the grants disbursed in their favour and remedially recommend the following:

(i) Cogitate articulating machinery by means of (sub)committee(s)/action-plan(s) in government to consider the ‘supposed’ obscure administrative interferences, latent bottlenecks and perplexing constrains (if truly there’s any at all) currently retarding Nigeria’s local social grant vendors from sourcing and disbursing the much awaited grants to Nigerians with further goal of having them disburse soonest to their respective target subscribers in the country.

(ii) Consider facilitating a(ny) social grant legislation in the National Assembly/State Legislature(s) in Nigeria that so doing shall properly regulate the operations of Nigeria’s social grants vendors and vending in the future.

(iii) Any other action(s) deem fit by you that shall be in the overall best interest of the entire grant subscribers (community) of Nigeria, Africa and the World.
Thank you sir.

Lasisi is a public affairs analyst, social grant subscriber lives in Minna.