Rhoda Iliya,  Spokesperson for the humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development ministry disclosed in a statement that “the administration’s vision of lifting 100 million people out of poverty by creating opportunities to enhance the productivity of the Nigerian youth.”

Rhoda revealed that, “Both Batches will soon be lay off according to the statement released,” Salisu Na’inna Danbatta, the special adviser on media to the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development minister Sadiya Farouq told The Guardian on Monday.

The programme has enrolled 500,000 volunteers so far – 200,000 from Batch A which kicked off in September 2016 and 300,000 from Batch B which joined in August 2018.

The volunteers were assumed to be engaged for 24 months on the programme but Batch A volunteers have spent beyond scheduled.

Rhoda Iliya, revealed in the statements that the present volunteers have stayed beyond scheduled in the programme “thereby denying other Nigerians an opportunity to access the programme and gain skills for entrepreneurship and employment.”

When eventually disengaged, the number of people that will be rendered jobless will compound Nigeria’s already bad unemployment figures.

Many volunteers in Lagos told The Guardian that there were unconfirmed report that Batch A may be lay off any time after May and disengaged Batch shortly after.

However, Rhoda Illiya authenticate that the government is working on the exit for the volunteers, she did not give a definite date or month.

“The first and second batch, they are still working on their exit,” Illiya told our correspondent, “There is no specific date.”

N-Power beneficiaries have not been pleased with the administration of the programme since the management of the programme was transferred to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in 2019.

They said all was well with the programme initially and that the former managers of the programme have started putting in place an exit strategy for them.

However, about 24-months after N-power’s launch, the sweet stories soon became sour to tell for these beneficiaries after Buhari announced major shifts in the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) which N-Power is part of.

The beneficiaries through a group named the 36-states N-power Representative Forum in a letter to in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on May 22, said the minister has “inflicted enough pain” on them since the programme was transferred to her ministry.

They advised Buhari to remove Farouq as a minister and replace her with someone else that is “more competent, proactive and youth-friendly.”

President Buhari during his national broadcast to commemorate Nigeria’s 59th independence in May 2018 announced that all SIPs will be institutionalised to the newly created Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development ministry where Farouq heads as a minister.

Buhari assured Nigerians that his government’s N500 billion Special Intervention Programme continues to target these vulnerable groups, through the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment Programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme, loans for traders and artisans, Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest families and social housing scheme.

Prior to this, activities of SIPs were coordinated by a government Steering Committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo which comprises Finance, Education, Health, Agriculture, Trade and Investment, Youth and Sports, Women Affairs, Labour and Productivity, Information ministers to implement government’s agenda.

Nigeria’s budget and national planning ministry was NSIPs secretariat.

Buhari’s assurance was not enough to keep the running of these programmes as it was earlier as N-Power beneficiaries had to resort to writing open letters and holding protests before their stipends could be paid.

“The 500.000 beneficiaries nationwide will always have to protest before our 30,000 naira stipends is paid. Sometimes by the 3rd week of new/following month, since she (Farouq) took over power from the office of the vice-president,” Pelemi said.

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