As the registration for the new entrants of the program is still ongoing (batch C) batch A & B of the Npower beneficiaries/ volunteers did not receive their June and July stipends; batch A June, while batch B June and July, same batch B also did not collect their devices (Tablet).
Some of the beneficiaries last week took to the streets of Abuja,the Nation’s capital, demonstrating for the non payment of the stipend and also demanding for a permanent appointment or an exit package earlier promised by the government (exit package).
Same last week, some beneficiaries also matched to the presidential Villa for a thank you rally/visit to Mr President for considering youths in his policies and programs; something that other beneficiaries consider as a sabotage for their demand for a permanent jobs or a justifiable exit package.
The demand for a permanent job by the volunteers is not a bad idea though, but I’m afraid if the government can afford to,as the actual duration for the program is only two years which batch A have spent almost fourty Months as the program was “ENHANCED” by the ministry towards the 2019 general elections.
The Honourable Minister Sadiya Farouk was reported to have said and assured the beneficiaries that the government would not allow them to go back to the streets,but exiting them without any package is in contrast with the above statement.
It was poorly implemented / managed as there is no supervision mechanisms to track offenders through out the program, some volunteers do report to work as they wish,NSIP offices nationwide have no power to discipline the culprits. This is exactly the problem with the home grown school feeding, the proteins suppliers and the food vendors were on many occasions committed a number of atrocities with impunity.
If I may suggest, instead of exiting them just like that, the ministry should liaise with the CBN to consider #Npower volunteers for the non interest loan they are planning to give out and the beneficiaries to present a workable business plans for their intending businesses. To the beneficiaries, instead of wasting time asking for a permanent job,they should consider this and give it a trial.
State governments should also consider engaging the exiting volunteers, as they are very critical in their PPAs especially those posted to schools and health care facilities,this will help in no small way of keeping them off the streets.
While hoping to see the peaceful exit of the volunteers,I hope their outstanding stipends will be paid immediately.
The unceremonial ending the program is heading to should be avoided as it will sent a bad signals to the new entrants, it will also not augur well to the government, A stich in time saves nine.
Npower is one of the components of the social investment program introduced by the APC administration which include home grown school feeding, conditional cash transfer,GEEP, Trader Moni etc.
Isyaka Laminu Badamasi
An advocate for good governance and youths inclusion in governance writes from Bauchi.