The N-Power is a scheme set up by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari since 8 June 2016, to address the issues of youth unemployment and help increase social development. The scheme was created as a component of National Social Investment Program, to provide a structure for large scale and relevant work skills acquisition and development and to ensure that each participant will learn and practice most of what is necessary to find or create work.
The current beneficiaries were absorbed into the programme in 2016 and 2018 respectfully and are set to exit the programme this year. Even though the development has generated mixed reactions, the minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq insisted that they must go in order to pave way for the Batch C beneficiaries. Ideally, now that their exit becomes sacrosanct, the ministry should ensure that all their pending entitlements are paid and they are given opportunities and packages for their safe landing.
On the other hand, as the Federal Government is set to absorb 400,000 new beneficiaries out of the over five million youths who have applied, I suggest that the minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq should live above board and make some changes with regards to how she runs the ministry. This is pertinent because there have been complaints about the delay in payments and some irregularities.
Looking at the fact that the programme, under Sadiya Umar Farouq, is at the verge of losing its reputation, there is a need for free and fair screening of the applicants. Let there be just and equity to all the 774 local governments in the country. The ministry must also develop a new strategy for ensuring that the mistake of enrolling the employed ones is not repeated in the Batch C category.
In consideration of the foregoing, I am urging the Federal Government to see the application of the over five million youths as a challenge to venture more in job creation and poverty eradication. The unexpected number of Batch C applicants indicates that the unemployment rate is on the increase in Nigeria, and if it is not tackled, insecurity would continue being the order of the day.
Howard Zinn, an American historian, playwright, and socialist thinker once said “I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions–poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed–which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished.
It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.”
God bless Nigeria!
Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol,
Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano