N-Power: How Nigerian govt will monitor beneficiaries

Nigeria Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo
Nigeria Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment and Protection Plan, Mariam Uwais, has revealed that the the federal government will use the Global Positioning System, GPS, to track beneficiaries of the N-Power program, a project aimed at empowering graduates.

She said this while speaking at a one-day public hearing on youth development and empowerment at the National Assembly where she explained various measures put in place by the Federal Government to create jobs.

Mrs. Uwais stressed that the federal government is focused on empowering the unemployed youth as well as training residents in rural areas on special skill acquisitions.

“It is essentially a program for youth between the ages of 18 and 35 and applicants are meant to indicate interests, be it health, education, agriculture and so on.

“A device that has modules developed by the ministry of agriculture and health is given to each of them. That device also has GPS which monitors where they are meant to be going to, be it a school, an agricultural development unit, a primary health care centre, it monitors every movement,” she said.

She explained further on the modalities of the project.

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“We go in and meet with the families themselves and take down their biometrics, the demographics of each family. We put it on a device which automatically ranks them into or out of the poorest in the community. We have done so in 21 states already.

“We train residents of the surburbs on live skills and pay them N5, 000 per month.

She explained that the school feeding program which is aimed at encouraging menial workers at primary schools already operates in19 states.

“We target primary school children, organise the ministries of agriculture, and education as well as SUBEB and get the names of the cooks in those communities and pay them directly. We train them on hygiene and sanitation.”

Mrs. Uwais added that the idea is not “to give the youth the impression that the government will absorb them but to make them get their hands dirty.”

Speaking on the selection process, she said, “they are selected for a period of two years and within that period, they should be able to ascertain which area they can build themselves. So, they can build their own businesses. So far, applicants who are not between the ages of 18 and 35 have been dropped out and those already employed have been rejected.”

An N-Power beneficiary, Segun Abioye, while reacting to claims that N-Power trianees do not go to work everyday, said it was false.

Presenting the tablet that was given to him upon acceptance, he said, “I use it to mark my attendance everyday I go to work. I go to work from Monday to Friday and close by 2 p.m. each day. And attendance is checked by the Head of Department everyday.”

The N-Power Volunteer Corps is part of the federal government’s Social Investment Programmes, SIP under which it plans to hire 350,000 unemployed graduates.

The portal, which first went live on June 11, 2016 recorded over 400,000 successful registrations with over 35 million hits in just 36 hours.

The N-Power Teach category seeks to ensure the adequate capacity of teachers in schools all over the country while N-Power Knowledge focuses on technology.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in February requested appropriation of N157.75 billion in the 2017 budget for the scheme.

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