Some Bauchi State elders under the aegis of Bauchi Elders for Sustainable Development, have accused the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk of trying to buy the people of the state over to the All Progressives Congress in the coming general elections.

The elders said Farouk and her ministry were collecting the data of people with a promise to make funds transfers to their accounts in preparation to the forthcoming general elections in the country.

Chairman of the elders group, Yahaya Idris Suleiman, told journalists in Bauchi on Tuesday that the ministry of humanitarian affairs was sharing palliatives to the electorate with the intention of swaying votes in favour of the APC gubernatorial candidate in the state.

The elders’ chairman, Yahaya Idris Suleiman called on President Muhammadu Buhari to halt the activities of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, which if left unchecked might cause disaffection and a of breach of the peace among the people of the state.

Suleiman observed that unless urgent action was taken by President Muhammadu Buhari on this issue, the conduct of the 2023 polls in Bauchi would likely come under threat by the action of the ministry’s officials.

The elders argued, “Part of the resolutions we arrived at is to remind Mr. President of the role we played in his elections for two consecutive terms as President. We feel that he should not pay us back by trying to impose someone upon the people of the state as their governor”.

The minister has denied the allegation, describing it as false and a misrepresentation, saying “We have these programmes in all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, it’s not just Bauchi.

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“We have the N-Power, we have the Homegrown School Feeding, we have Cash Grants for rural women, that is now Cash Grants for Vulnerable Groups. We also have a household uplifting programme – Conditional Cash Transfer (HUP-CCT) where every household is receiving N20,000, N10,000 monthly.”

She also said they have categorised programs under the NSIP, which comprise of N Power, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP) National Home Grown School Feeding Program and the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, Independent Monitors, among others in which millions of youths and women from the six geo-political zones benefitted. She added that they enjoyed the N30, 000 monthly allowances.

The minister who responded through her Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, queried “because it’s Bauchi and her husband is contesting, that makes it vote-buying?”

Nneka Ikem explained that the activities of the ministry were not new, “But something that she inherited when she came into office”, stressing that the Conditional Cash Transfers were being done in all states of the federation, “so, what is this vote-buying? Is it because elections are fast approaching?”

Ikem added: “So, is it because now they’re putting it in their accounts? Before, these people were complaining that we were carrying cash up and down; now all these beneficiaries have been digitised, they’ve opened accounts for them, which will be easier for them to receive money.”

When asked if the Ministry ought not to have suspended the disbursement of the money till after the election to avoid suspicion, she said: “it’s a continuous thing. Whether we are there or not, this thing will continue.”