Wednesday, March 1, 2017 2:01 am
No fewer than 500 successful applicants of the Federal Government’s N-POWER scheme in Lagos on Tuesday stormed the State House of Assembly, seeking intervention on their deployment and payment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that youths who applied to be captured in the scheme had earlier staged a protest at the Assembly premises in January.
They had complained that successful applicants in other states had started enjoying the scheme while they were still in the dark about when it would begin in Lagos.
The House had taken up the matter by inviting the State Coordinator of the scheme Mrs Shola Falana and the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Lola Akande for explanations.
Honouring the invitation, Falana had assured the House that applicants from the state would begin to benefit from the scheme by the end of January.
She attributed the delay in the take-off of the scheme in Lagos to the volume of applicants from the state, numbering about 11, 000.
However, protesters returned on Tuesday chanting songs and displaying placards with various inscriptions to drive home their grievances.
The placards had inscriptions such as: “Lagos State N-Power volunteers are tired of staying at home” and “Only Lagos State N-Power are excluded from the programme, attend to us”,
Others read “Release our stipends” and “Enough!!!, No information , No device, No deployment, No stipends,”
The leader of the protesters, Mr Felix Ayorinde said the applicants in Lagos were not being treated fairly.
“We do not know why the Federal Government has decided to exclude us in this state. Throughout December, we were not verified.
“We have done verification after our first protest to this House in January, but we have not been deployed, given our devices to work with, and have not received our stipends.
“We are in the dark; since verification, we have not received our payment. We want the House to intercede on our behalf so that we can be posted and paid.
“Other applicants in other states have been deployed and have been collecting their stipends since December. We are tired of staying at home, we are hungry,” he said.
Ayorinde blamed the coordinator in the state for not providing information to the aggrieved youths.
Addressing the protesters, the Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, said that the House would not allow anyone to cheat successful N-Power applicants in the state.
He said that the Assembly would further investigate causes of the delay.
Obasa, who was represented by Mr Bisi Yusuff, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (Local) said: “We will not allow anybody to play on your intelligence. Lagos House will not allow that.
“We know what you are going through. We are not happy; be assured we are with you. Lagos should be considered first because of the role the state plays.
“We are not happy; we want these unemployed youths paid promptly with all the arrears. We have heard you and we will act.”
NAN reports that N-Power is a Federal Government programme aimed at creating jobs for youth, especially graduates. Interested applicants are to apply through the website opened by the Federal Government.
Successful applicants are expected to be deployed to different primary places of assignments across local governments and are to be paid N30,000 monthly stipends.(NAN)