The federal government has signed a ten-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of 40-hectare farmland with the University of Ilorin in Kwara State, for the Social Intervention Programmes (SIP) N-Power Agro beneficiaries.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the programme communications manager, Justice Bibiye, in Abuja.
The senior special assistant to the president on job creation, Afolabi Imoukhuede, said the 40-hectare N-Power agro farm is expected to grow and produce crops such as soybeans, maize, millet, melon and others.
“Today, I am happy to hear that N-Power Kwara and the University of Ilorin have signed an MOU for a ten-year lease on 40 hectares of land for large scale farming.
According to the statement, Mr Imoukhuede, who was represented at the event by the special assistant to the president on job creation, Mohammed Brimah, said the development would strengthen the programme’s goal in providing employment to small business owners, artisans and entrepreneurs, leveraging on the various N-SIP platforms to earn a decent living and build capacity for self-sufficiency.
“When the administration of President Muhammad Buhari came on board in 2015, unemployment was at an all-time high, a recession had hit our economy. Many graduates were roaming the streets with no job nor any means of survival.”
The N-Power scheme was introduced with the aim of reducing unemployment among Nigerian graduates and non-graduates between the ages of 18 and 35.
Volunteers are paid N30, 000 monthly as stipend and given tablet computers to aid further learning.
Under the N-Power, unemployed graduates are engaged in critical sectors like education, agriculture, and health while non-graduates are enrolled in the infrastructural sector.
The programme started in 2016 with over 200,000 thousand young Nigerians selected in the first phase.
Those selected have received the stipends for two years under the N-Teach, N-Agro or N-Health components. N-Build and N-Tax were later introduced in 2017.
The presidential aide on job creation, however, encouraged beneficiaries of the programme in other states to borrow a leaf from their Kwara counterparts, who have also acquired 7 hectares of land at Oke-Oyi, the Ilorin East Local Government, through the Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture.
The deputy governor of the state, Kayode Alabi, commended the N-Power Agro Volunteers for their resourcefulness which has in no small measure contributed to the development and the rerun economy of the state.
He urged the youth in Kwara State to go into agriculture which is not only lucrative but has the potential of generating employment opportunities.