By: Oye Agunbiade
One of the problems confronting Nigeria no doubt about it is unemployment.
In solving this problem, the federal government as part of its social interventions programmes initiated N-Power to address challenges of youth unemployment through large scale skill acquisition and fixing of inadequate public services.
It’s however four years down the line when the Buhari Administration kicked started N-POWER with 500, 000 volunteers to address this menace.
Now that the first and second batches of the volunteers are exiting the scheme while registration is ongoing for the next batch many questions are begging for answers with respect to the role the scheme had played over unemployment in Nigeria as well as the prospects for the New applicants.
For emphasis, the Big Question is “Has Npower fulfilled its mandate of addressing unemployment in Nigeria?”
Some of the outgoing volunteers who spoke with Radio Nigeria in Akure, the Ondo state capital in response to this, described N-Power as a worthy initiative which however needed a review.
One of them, Mrs Tolulope Adeoti expressed delight at the intervention saying she joined the scheme after being disappointed as a graduate teacher in a private secondary school for years.
She thanked the government for the opportunity wishing it continues as it had engaged many jobless Nigerians
She however enumerated some of the challenges she encountered in the N-Teach program which included poor definition of roles as volunteers do the bulk of teaching as well as hiccups associated with BVN which resulted in late payments of their stipends.
Another volunteer, Mrs Bunmi Adeola who was of the N-Agro also wanted a review of the N-Agro noting that virtually all the promises made to the farmers were not fulfilled. She explained that the programmes manifesto was amazing but needed to be carried out to the letter to recoup confidence of the farmers in government as well as motivating the volunteers.
Mrs Adeola also expressed displeasure at the mode of disengagement of the first and second batches saying it was impromptu adding that they expected they would be offered a permanent job.
The volunteers unanimously wanted the federal government to stick to the mandate of Npower and ensure volunteers were not disengaged to add up to existing pool of unemployeds.
N-POWER 2020: FEARS, SITE ACCESS, AGE LIMIT?
With the news of opening of the site for new intakes, unemployed Nigerians thronged the N-Power website while business centers’ owners now smile to the banks.
These army of unemployed Nigerians have however expressed their displeasure over the site alleging taking over of the site by online fraudsters.
One of the Applicants, Mr Solomon Akindutire who said he was scared when told fraudsters had clone the site while applicants are not sure of the real site said for safety he had transfered his money to his mothers account number.
Mr Solomon who explained that the target was the Bank Verification Number, BVN submitted while applying on the site asked the Federal government to urgently address the issue by announcing the real site address in popular print and broadcast media
On her part, Mrs Wumi Adewoye who expressed hope of being shortlisted called on government to review the age limit as a pool of Nigerians over 35 years of age abound which were jobless.
She also called attention to poor navigation experienced on the site which had led many applicants to make mistakes.
Attempt to reach the Akure South Council Area N-Power coordinator and have his remarks on the hiccups was however unsuccessful.
The federal government had however debunked the allegation that the site was cloned saying it would continue to protect Nigerians from being swindled via any of its online platforms
It is the hope of both the outgoing volunteers and the incoming ones that the Federal government would through the N-Power scheme provide permanent jobs for unemployed graduates while also upgrading the site for optimum performance.