* NUT, Organised Labour hail Buhari’s govt efforts, canvass support for govt
*As APC fulfills 2015 campaigns promises, to do more
As part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 500,000 job intervention programme for unemployed graduates, 200,000 umemployed graduates have been given employment sensing that the job intervention scheme has finally kicked off, with successful applicants commencing work on December 1, 2016.
The programme is in line with the 2015 election campaign promises of ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to provide jobs for teeming unemployed youths in the country.
The campaign promises fulfilment is, however, coming one year and seven months after the administration came on board. The project has had several hiccups, which elicited doubts in many Nigerians about the ability of the government actualise it but there was relief when the Office of the Vice President which is in charge of the programme announced that it was captioned by the 2016 budget signed into law by President Buhari on May 6, 2016.
To this end, a statement from the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s office early in the week stated that “all is now set for the deployment of 200,000 unemployed graduates selected in the first batch of the Buhari administration’s plan to hire half a million Nigerians.”
Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, reacted swiftly, commending the government for matching its words with action but warned that those engaged to teach in schools should be right professionals.
In its own reaction, the Organised Labour hailed the Federal Government’s efforts, saying any programme that could take such huge number of youths off the streets should be supported.
Meanwhile, unveiling details of the programme in the statement from the Vice President’s office, government stated that the names of the selected 200,000 had been sent to state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), who would deploy them to assignments in various communities.
According to the statement, the names will also be published this week on the N-Power internet portal, while participants will start receiving SMS messages informing them of their selection from Monday, even as the Federal Government congratulated the successful candidates.
The statement read in part: “State governments and the FCT are also encouraged to post the names of the successful first batch applicants in their local government areas, while there would be further public announcements.
“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.
“Of the 200,000 first batch, 150,000 of them would teach, 30,000 would work in the agric sector and 20,000 in healthcare delivery, covering the three specific programme assignments.
“The N-Power Volunteer Corps is an expression of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to invest in the human capital development of Nigerian citizens, particularly our young people.
“The N-Power programmme is also an innovative means to enhance ailing public services in the area of basic education and primary healthcare.
“Also in the agric sector, it is aimed at achieving self-sufficiency by giving our farmers relevant advisory services.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria, hereby, congratulates all 200,000 successful applicants in the first batch, and they are encouraged to take this opportunity seriously by learning the skills that will brighten their future. They are also implored to serve their communities with commitment and dedication.
“For those who have not been selected, there is a waiting list based on the total number of applicants, and subsequent batches will absorb more of the qualified applicants.
“All together, the N-Power will engage and train 500,000 young unemployed graduates. It is a paid volunteering programme of a 2-year duration that engages graduates in their immediate communities, where they will assist in improving the inadequacies in the education, health, and agriculture sectors.
“The 500,000 graduates under the N-Power Corps programme will be trained in skills that will enable them exit after two years to economically viable job and business opportunities.
“As part of the programme, the participants would own tablets that will contain information necessary for their specific engagements, as well as information for their continuous training and developments.
“Participants will be provided teaching, instructional, and advisory solutions in four main focus areas, and will be paid a monthly stipend of N30,000 during the programme.
“The four main focus areas are in basic education, agriculture extension services, public health and community education (civic and adult education).
“Besides the N-Power programme for undergraduates, there are other schemes for non-graduates. These are: N-Power Knowledge, which would select 25,000 young Nigerians and N-Power Build 75,000, all of whom shall be trained and paid during the duration of the scheme.”
How selection was done
Explaining the criteria used in selecting the applicants, spokesman to the Vice President, Dr. Laolu Akande, said the states with least number of application were also given a mark up, while there was a 40 per cent promotional consideration.
These were the yardsticks used in allocating the number of jobs to states.
The DEFENDER gathered that the Vice President’s spokesman, Akande, later said the details of the allocation to states would be made public in due course.
NUT says this by Buhari is mission coming to reality
In his reaction to the development, President, Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, Mr. Michael Alogba-Olukoya, commended the move, saying it was a right step in the right direction.
His words: “The news to employ 200,000 unemployed graduates as teachers is a right step in the right direction. It is a mission coming to reality. We want to appreciate the government.’’ He, however warned the Federal Government to ensure that the right people were employed into the teaching profession. “They should try to make sure that it is only open for those that are professionals, so that they can add value to the system. That is my comment for now.”
Asked what remuneration was expected from the government, Olukoya allayed fears of the package, adding that the government had told the unemployed graduates their salaries.
“Let us start from somewhere because the government had announced what they will pay before,’’ he said.
For the Organised Labour, the progress made by the Federal Government is laudable for it to have taken as many as 200,000 unemployed youth off the streets. It stressed that the effort should be supported by all and sundry.
General Secretary of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, who spoke for the Organised Labour, however, said it was not jobs for the boys, contending that Nigerians would like to know the process and criteria used for the recruitment, which has been explained by the Osinbajo’s spokesman. According to him, there have been concerns over transparency of the process since the government announced its plans to recruit.
“If they are ready to deploy, it means they have recruited. We hope the selection process was transparent and not just jobs for the boys. Nevertheless, any programme that can take 200,000 youths off the streets is commendable, welcome, and supported.”