Gov. David Umahi has reaffirmed the commitment of Ebonyi Government to partner the Federal Government to ensure successful implementation of its youth employment scheme.
Umahi gave the assurance in Abakaliki when the N-Power Monitoring and Evaluation team, led by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and Youth Employment, Mr Afolabi Imoukhuede, paid him a courtesy visit.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Kelechi Igwe, the governor also said that his administration would ensure effective monitoring of the N-Power volunteers in the state.
He described the job scheme as laudable, adding that it required to be nurtured for sustainability.
“We believe that the social investments programme of the Federal Government in the youth is a clear manifestation of the understanding that the youth of Nigeria have a lot to do to place the nation on the right course.
“We are very well challenged in the state, even before the creation of the N-Power programme, the government in its wisdom introduced its own N-Power in the state.
`This is where every woman and youth who applied and are successful are profiled to benefit from N250,000 that must be invested in any business that is profitable,’’ he said.
According to Umahi, the state has so far profiled no fewer than 3,000 potential beneficiaries out of which 662 have actually been credited with N250,000 while the rest will get theirs in a couple of weeks.
He said the essence of the credit was to take away that responsibility from the Federal Government and remove the youth and women from the streaks of poverty and squalor to contribute to adding value to nation-building.
He noted that idle youth had nothing to do except to criticize the government and foment trouble through endless agitations.
“We think that the reason there are pockets of agitation in the nation today is that there are still young men and women out there who have not been engaged.
“Once their minds are engaged and taken care of, agitations will cease in our land and negotiations and dialogue will take us where we need to be as a people,’’ he noted.
The governor said N-Power was well accepted in the state and the administration was glad to report that there had not been complaints from the volunteers about the scheme.
“The deployment of participants to the various places where they are adding value to the system has been properly done by the state.
“We are also assisting the Federal Government in monitoring their progress and performance to guarantee that `work-for-money’ is a reality.
“The programme itself is viewed by us as identifying the road map to success which if properly harnessed will give greater glory to Nigeria as a nation,’’ he added.
The governor commended the Federal Government’s job creation office for being vested with huge responsibility.
“If you successfully take off all the youth and women from the streets of Nigeria, all these agitations will fizzle out and Nigeria will praise you for doing that,’’ he said.
He said the scheme required the support of all who cared for the nation and gave the assurance that Ebonyi would do all that was necessary for the programme to succeed.
Umahi described the volunteers as ambassadors of the state and urged them to be exemplary in the discharge of their responsibilities.
He congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for the successful implementation of the job creation scheme and reducing poverty in the country.
Earlier, Imoukhuede had said that N-Power was one of the five components of the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) of the Federal Government to curb poverty and youth unemployment.
He remarked that N500 billion was provided for the SIPs in the 2016 budget, part of which was being used to pay stipends to the volunteers.
He said that more than a million applications were received from graduate and non-graduate applicants in 2016, from where about 751,000 finally emerged after screening out double applications.
He said that 350,000 were for the graduate recruitment from where 200,000 were engaged.
Imoukhuede said that Ebonyi had 3,643 volunteers pre-selected and deployed to the state and that after the physical verification, only one applicant was disqualified.
He said that after the revalidation of records of the volunteers 3,222 were cleared for payments, while about 320 had issues about their bank details.
He added that 306 volunteers in Ebonyi as at today had problems of validating their records, while 114 did not have bank account details.
The presidential aide noted that the visit was to have an interface with the volunteers as directed by Buhari, to determine if they had applied themselves well to the needs of the scheme.
He re-emphasised the mandate of the President that the scheme is “money for work done.’