By Special Correspondent
In June 2021, the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, announced that his administration would empower 15,000 youths with grants totaling N4 billion after training them in various skills. The scheme, which according to him is part of his regime’s agenda for economic stability, will serve as start-up ‘grants’.
Enticed by the program, many imolites jumped into it and received N250,000 from the State government. It would be recalled that upon the application, the State government requested their BVN, account number and name, among other personal details. The grateful recipients of the ‘grants’ jubilated and have since committed the sum to various ventures.
However, to their shock, the State government in the wee hours of Thursday, September 7, 2023, commenced massive debiting of various amounts from the accounts of the beneficiaries using their BVN.
While some had over N200,000 debited at once, others lost amounts in excess of N100,000, while others were below that threshold depending on how much they had in their accounts. One of the beneficiaries had a combined total of N158,000 simultaneously debited across three accounts linked to his BVN.
The development has sparked fury among the youths of the purported grant who now feel deceived by the Governor and his administration.
One of them took to his Facebook timeline to express his disgust. He said: “The Governor called it grants and we jumped in, now what we see is a high level of pain. We have been deceived. Sen. Hope, is that how you are? Imo State government even recorded this deceit as achievement”.
A political analyst, Mr. Frank Obodo wondered why the government could act in that manner. He argued that even if it was a loan [the government said it is a grant], it ought to have come with a friendly moratorium.
“Let us assume that it was a loan to start up small-scale businesses, if you come in 2023 and take away N150,000 or N200,000 at once from the businesses, how do you expect them to survive? The approach is callous and the said beneficiaries will feel deceived and betrayed by the State government” he said.