Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State said his administration, in the last three years, spent N1.2 billion on payment of stipends to 1,500 group of youth, known as the Youth Vanguard, in the state.
Mr Bello disclosed this at a solidarity rally organised by the youth to endorse the governor’s re-election bid on Thursday in Minna.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the vanguard is a collection of young men and women who volunteer to handle sanitation issues and controls traffic, among other duties in the state.
The governor described the vanguard as critical stakeholders in the development of the state, hence the payment of the monthly stipends from government’s coffers.
“It’s because of the importance of this group to the growth and development of this state that we decided to place about 1,500 of you on monthly stipends, which in the last three years have cost the government over N1.2 billion.
“Let me advice that you take all you are doing very seriously; you must ensure our hospitals, clinics and restaurants are kept clean and report cases that are beyond you to the appropriate ministries for sanction.
” You should be tough and strict because you are seen as an authority by virtue of your job; make use of your positions to keep our environment clean,” he urged them.
The governor urged the traffic arm of the group to ensure motorists and other road users obeyed traffic regulations, particularly within Minna metropolis to avoid loss of lives.
He also advised them to arrest motorcyclists with unregistered motorcycles operating in the town and hand them over to the appropriate authority.
He further assured the youth that government would soon enroll the volunteers into the state’s civil service to enable them to become permanent workers in the state.
Earlier, Abdul Musa, Leader of the Vanguard, said that the solidarity rally was to appreciate the governor for the continuous support to the members.
He added that the members would support the re-election of the governor in 2019, adding that over 24,000 members would cast their votes for the governor during the general elections.