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    Confusion Over N-Power As Scheme Takes Off Today


    There is confusion among many of the 200,000 candidates selected for the Federal Government's N-Power programme concerning their place of assignment as the scheme officially takes off today, Daily Trust's findings show.

    The Presidency had about two weeks ago said that 200,000 graduates employed under the N-Power would resume work on December 1.

    "Between now and the end of the month, the states and the FCT would be engaged in deploying the graduates who would formally start working and earning their stipends on December 1, 2016," the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, had said in a statement.

    On the complaints by many of the selected applicants that they were yet to receive letters of deployment, Akande told Daily Trust yesterday that states were responsible for the placement of participants.

    The vice president's spokesman said that those selected would get their first salary in December. "Everything is set. The money is already available," he said.

    "The states will deploy them to their places of primary assignments. It is not a permanent job. Rather, it is a two-year intervention programme for unemployed graduates.

    "All the states have keyed into the programme. The states are responsible for the deployment of the selected applicants. The states are already contacting them. The deployment started about a week ago. Some states are already doing this and others will follow suit. After the states have deployed them to their places of primary assignments, they (the selected applicants) will get letters on information about where they will work."

    We don't know our fate

    However, checks by Daily Trust last night revealed that many of the shortlisted participants were in the dark as to where and when they will be working.

    As at last night, checks by Daily Trust also showed that there are no liaison offices for the programme in most states.

    One of the successful applicants, who only gave his second name as Suleiman, said he and many of his colleagues were confused.

    "I was successful but nobody told me anything yet, either through letter confirming the placement or even a text message or phone call," he said.

    Suleiman, who had been unemployed since graduating from the university 12 years ago, said his initial joy of making the shortlist of successful candidates was gradually fading because of the seeming uncertainty.

    Another successful candidate called Kyari said he was also confused.

    "They said our work starts tomorrow but I don't know where to go and report. I was selected for the teaching component, but which school would I go?

    "I'm really getting agitated about the whole thing. I wish the federal government will get this thing right so that we would not get frustrated at the end of the day.

    "I don't want free money, I want to be posted somewhere to work and earn the N30, 000 stipend, not to just sleep at home and go to the bank at the end of the month," he said.

    "There is no communication about our deployment as at today (last night). We haven't received a text message as promised," one of the beneficiaries, Mohammed Lawal of Jos-North, Plateau State, said.

    In Kaduna State also, beneficiaries are yet to be posted to their various stations, our investigations have revealed.

    Some of the beneficiaries who spoke with our correspondents, said though their names appeared on the list of successful candidates from the state, there were no details about the posting.

    A top government official in Kaduna State, when contacted, said the state government had plans to engage the beneficiaries in future but that the details had to be worked out first by relevant ministries in the state

    Samuel Aruwan, media aide to Governor Nasir El-Rufai could not be reached for comments as his line was not available at the time of filing this report.

    States differ in arrangements

    In Gombe State, the beneficiaries were still undergoing verification and screening yesterday ahead of their posting to their various places of work. Hajiya Maryam Isa Mele, the Special Adviser on Social Investment to Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, said the participants would be posted to teach in Primary and Junior Secondary Schools, Agricultural Extension Services and Primary Healthcare Centres.

    She said the beneficiaries would be posted to place of work close to their residence.

    However, Jigawa State N-Power Coordinator, Bala Chamo, said placement of beneficiaries had begun and the exercise was expected to be completed by Friday.

    In Kebbi State, a meeting is expected to hold for the state government to decide when and where the participants would be posted.

    The State Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Comrade Aliyu Bunza told our correspondent on phone that "The State Government is liaising with the Federal Government on the modality of the programme and we would be having a meeting with government today (Thursday) to know when those who benefitted will be posted to their place of work."

    In Kogi State, the government, through the Special Adviser to the Governor on Multilateral, Donor Agencies and Special Projects/Focal Person on Social Investment Program, Mr Adoga Ibrahim, said Governor Yahaya Bello would officially flag off the Programme today (Thursday) in Lokoja.

    He said the government was working in partnership with the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Kogi State Agricultural Development Project (ADP) and Primary Health Care Development Agency to ensure smooth deployment of the beneficiaries to their various place of assignment.

    In Kano, most of the applicants interviewed told Daily Trust that although they were aware of today's arrangement but were unsure of where and when they would be posted.

    When contacted, Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Dr Austin Tam George, said he had no information about the project.

    Lagos State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, told the Daily Trust, he had not been briefed and wouldn't want to speculate on the programme.

    In Imo State, the Commissioner for Information, Youths and Public Utilities Engr. Obinna Nshirim, said that he was not sure if the state would start today as expected.

    He however said he would like to make inquiries on the issue.

    How N-Power will work

    The N-Power Programme, according to the Federal Government, is to reduce youth unemployment by providing "young graduates and non-graduates with the skills, tools and livelihood to enable them advance from unemployment to employment, entrepreneurship and innovation."

    In this first batch, 150,000 of the graduates will teach, 30,000 will work in the agricultural sector and 20,000 in healthcare delivery.

    Beneficiaries of the scheme are to be paid N30, 000 monthly stipend.


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