We specially welcome you all to this National Media Conference.
First and Foremost, we want to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration for creating National Social Investment Program (N-SIP), from which N-Power is a major component. This is the largest and the fairest recruitment in the history of any government in this country as it cut across 774 Local Government Areas. The recruitment process was the best as it devoid of fatalities and racketeering we used to witness in the past, kudos to the managers of the program.
The Federal Government of Nigeria designed the N-Power Program to help young Nigerians acquire and develop life-long skills to become solution providers in their communities and to reduce unemployment in the Country.
500,000 N-Power Beneficiaries ( both batch A and B ) were engaged as follow:
N-Teach: To work as teachers in public schools
N-Agro: To work as Agric Extension Agents
N-Health: To work as Health workers
N-Tax: To work as Tax Agents.
We have rendered patriotic services and made great impact in our various communities during our years of engagement, but now, the Federal Government has disengaged us without a meaningful exit plan or package in this pandemic period since the month of June and July, 2020 for batch A and B respectively. Sending us back to the street where we were picked from will defeat the very purpose of addressing the problem of unemployment in Nigeria.
Closing the door of employment opportunities against qualified graduates and able Youth is one sure way of luring them into social vices, criminality, idleness, low self esteem, cyber crime, kidnapping, e.t.c.
The disengagement of N-Power Beneficiaries without adequate transitioning has skyrocketed the unemployment rate within the most productive age bracket. This will definitely put the crime rate on the rise, thereby increasing the level of insecurity across the country. It will also continue to affect the economy as most of the disengaged volunteers are in their productive age. It will render the program useless as its original motive would have been defeated. It will also increase the level of distrust the youth already perceived of the government.
At a critical time of covid 19 pandemic, when countries of the world are to secure their citizens employment, this is when our government decided to send her youths to the streets with dangling hope. The volunteers matter became more complicated when the prices of food items keep rising on a daily basis with increase in fuel price and electricity bill. The beneficiaries are currently dejected and shattered as the timing of disengagement was a wrong one and anti-youth.
It is crystal clear that majority of government institutions are short staffed, most especially the schools and security agencies. With thousands of primary and secondary schools spread across the 774 Local Government, with numerous Federal and State Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education across the country, with countless Primary Health Centers across the nation, with government clamour for Agricultural revolution and food sufficiency, no volunteer is expected to be thrown to the street if our government truly loves our country and cares for her youths.
Over 14,000 N-Power Beneficiaries have not been paid their monthly stipend since the month of March to July, 2020 with the claim from Hon. Minister Hajia Sadia Umar Farouq that it was caused by GIFMIS new payment platform that flagged their account. Not resolving to pay them their stipends till date after her promise, which is totally inhuman because they have been suffering for the past 5 months without payment.
We implore the Federal Government to quickly implement the transition program for the exited N-Power Volunteers latest by 1st October, 2020 to reduce the suffering already meted on us. Therefore, we enjoin volunteers across the country to remain calm, focus and steadfast as we await the next line of action after October 1st speech of President Muhammadu Buhari. By then, we would have known the plan the government has for us.
The 5 months unpaid stipends to 14,000 Volunteers, outstanding backlogs, the July stipends for Batch B should be released to the beneficiaries without further delay.
An official statement on issue surrounding the devices for the entire batch B and some of the batch A should be made.
As graduates, matured and experienced citizens of Nigeria, the 36 States and FCT N-Power Representatives deserve to be part of the transitioning process if the government is truly sincere about it. We deserve to know our fate as we shall reject any other form of ad-hoc engagement without a clear-cut means of putting an end to our joblessness status.
In conclusion, National Assembly should enact a law making the N-Power platform the veritable source of recruiting into government public and civil service. The gap between the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the volunteers should be bridged through the state representatives to ensure adequate monitoring and proper feedback to achieve some levels of efficiency in the scheme.
God bless N-Power Volunteers
God Bless President Muhammadu Buhari
God Bless Federal Republic of Nigeria