There is uncertainty and apprehension among several over-stayed beneficiaries of N-Power programme as the Federal Government begins to send them packing without ‘soft-landing’ as they were initially promised. Mostly affected are the 2016-2017 beneficiaries believed to have stayed beyond the duration of their contract.
PUNCH reports that the Federal Government has commenced the removal of N-Power beneficiaries who are believed to have stayed beyond the stipulated two-year duration of their contracts.
It was gathered on Thursday that thousands of N-Power beneficiaries should have exited the scheme and replaced with new entrants as of August 2018.
But more than 16 months after the contract of some of the affected beneficiaries had elapsed, they had yet to exit the scheme.
The N-Power initiative is one of the four clusters of National Social Investment Programmes of the Federal Government designed to stem the tide of poverty, unemployment and social insecurity in Nigeria. It is a job creation and economic empowerment component of the NSIP for young unemployed Nigerians.
A senior official at the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development told PUNCH correspondent that the removal was long over due.
“The process has started and it is being done because many of the beneficiaries have naturally stayed beyond their contract terms,” the Special Assistant, Media, to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Halima Oyelade, said.
Although Oyelade could not confirm the number of those to be affected, she stated that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, had earlier hinted that the government would begin the exit scheme soon.
Farouq had revealed in December that the Federal Government was considering a complete restructuring of the N-Power programme.
She told journalists in Abuja that officials of the NSIP were of the view that the N-Power initiative be restructured.
She had also said that no N-Power beneficiary will go back to the street looking for job but this sudden removal of overstayed beneficiaries without any exit package announced is worrisome.
Although the 2016 beneficiaries were due to be released in 2018, the Nigerian government had since said it had a ‘big plan’ for the beneficiaries.
“The 2016 beneficiaries will proceed into an enhancement programme as you continue to give your service and earn your monthly stipend,” the government said in a statement in October 2018.
This arrangement has not been concluded but the federal government decided it is time up for 2016 beneficiaries and others who have overstayed.