By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has condemned the sale of forms for interest- free loans for women being obtained from the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aisha Jummai Alhassan, also advised women across the country to report any person who attempts to sell the forms to them.
In a statement signed by her Special Assistant on Media, Adebisi Olumide Ajayi, Mrs Buhari said those perpetuating the act were using her name to deceive rural women to purchase the forms which are supposed to be free.
According to her, the forms are being sold for between N1,500 and N5,000, an act she said defeated the purpose of the programme which is mainly to assist women, especially those at the grassroots.
She appealed to those involved in the act to desist from sabotaging the programme.
On her part, the minister, who spoke to Daily Trust, said some persons had already been apprehended by the police for trying to defraud unsuspecting women and depriving them of the opportunity.
She added that all those eligible for the funds should go themselves or use their cooperative societies or groups and boycott middle men.
The federal government recently revealed plans to begin the disbursement of over N3.9 billion as empowerment funds for the poor in Nigeria. Hajiya Aisha Jummai Alhassan said at a press briefing that the fund had already been deposited in the Bank of Industry for distribution to eight pilot states.
She said for the month of October, N1.6 billion would be removed to fund the National Women Empowerment Fund programme while the remaining amount would be used for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).