The Federal Government has empowered about 200,000 youths across the country out of 500,000 targeted under its N-Power Programme.
Afolabi Imoukhuede, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation, N-Power Scheme, who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the programme recruits and trains young unemployed graduates as teachers, agricultural extension workers and health support workers, etc.
He explained that N-Power is one of the components of the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP), aimed at empowering Nigerians both graduates and non-graduates between the ages of 18 and 35 by paying them N30,000 monthly over a period of two years.
The othercomponents are National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP). The N-Power programme is designed to drastically reduce youth unemployment in the country, by providing young graduates and non-graduates with the skills, tools and livelihood to enable them advance from unemployment to employment, entrepreneurship and innovation.
NAN reports that some of the beneficiaries said that the programme had established them and taken them out of poverty.
Nwanjel Alfred, a beneficiary of N-Power graduate scheme in Plateau said he was employed under the scheme and posted to a Nomadic primary school in the state as a teacher.
I graduated in 2011, did NYSC in 2012 and I was not employed for five years; I studied Biology Education but have passion for agriculture. There is no capital to start agric project but as soon as I started receiving my stipend in December 2016, I went into farming. I have been able to plant and harvest 15 bags of Irish Potatoes seedlings and I thank God the potatoes are doing well. Hopefully in July, I should be able to harvest 50 bags from the farm, he said.
He, however, appealed to the government to ensure the sustainability of the programme by giving them full employment after the two years duration of the programme.
Similarly, a beneficiary from Taraba, Jeremiah Daniel, who graduated in 2008, said he became a photographer as there was no job. A photographer turned a teacher, courtesy of N-power and I have been able to embark on contributory scheme from my stipend. We were six posted to a secondary school in the state, we contribute N30,000 (all the stipend) and I have received N180,000 from the first round of contribution and I want to open a cyber cafe. I have been able to render such service in a rural community in addition to the photography, he said.
Daniel said that the government had promised to also give them digital device as part of the programme to empower them technologically. He said that the government had been paying N4,500 monthly to a company that would supply the electronic gadgets, which they promised would be ready for disbursement in June.
Also narrating his experience, Okoka Owa, a beneficiary of N-power in Cross River, commended the Federal Government for coming up with such a programme.
“I have been able to save N10,000 monthly from the N30,000. I want to open a food stuff shop from the money I will get from the contribution”, she said.