Anxiety as pre-selected Npower applicants threaten nationwide protest

By Godshield Kanjal

There is anxiety and frustration among applicants of the N-power programme, a job creation initiative by the federal government over delay in their engagement.

Some 2017 Pre-selected applicants have however called on the government to fully engage them in the volunteer scheme else they will stage a nationwide protest against the Nigerian government.

The yet-to-be engaged graduates who spoke to our correspondent yesterday in Calabar lamented the delay in the release of list of selected applicants by the Npower team – after several months of futile waiting.

One of them who gave his name as Ms. Esther, noted that some pre-selected applicants have unanimously agreed to stage a massive nationwide protest if the government fails to engage them before the end of February .

According to her, since the scheme took off in 2016, there have been lapses that should have been forestalled overtime which had continued to linger.

“It is almost getting to one year since we applied for the Npower scheme and were pre-selected, but immediately we completed the pre-selection exercise, December last year, Npower turned deaf ears on us – even though they are aware of our present predicaments as unemployed graduates. We are tired of waiting and will not continue to keep quiet while some select few kill our future,” she said

Another applicant who gave his name as Mr.Timothy said: “Npower has raised our hopes after we were notified of our pre-selection last year. We applied for this scheme since July last year and had anticipated to volunteer to earn a paltry N30,000 monthly stipend – which sincerely is too meager for a graduate living in Nigeria – with this harsh economy,” he said

He added that with the slim employment opportunities in the country most graduates have resolved to take any job they come by to at least meet ends needs

“We have hid our degrees ego to take the volunteer job with the federal government , but the government seems to be playing with us – the youths,”  he lamented.

On his part, Mr Victor noted that their hopes seems to have dashed after alleged long silence by the Npower team.

According to him, most of the pre-selected applicants had cancelled their plans of searching for other job opportunities with the expectations that they will be engaged at the beginning of the year – adding that they have lost their patience and may protest to express their angst against the government.

Npower is a federal government initiative that aims to addresses the challenge of youth unemployment by providing a structure for large scale and relevant work skills acquisition and development while linking its core and outcomes to fixing inadequate public services and stimulating the larger economy.

The N-Power Volunteer Corp is also expected to deploy 500,000 trained graduates who will assist to improve the inadequacies in public services in education, health and civic education.

Volunteers are expected  be engaged for a period of two years.

The first set of the 200,000 volunteers took off in 2016 while the awaiting 300,000 pre-selected applicants are yet to be engaged.

At the time of filling in this report, this reporter’s efforts to speak with the Cross      River state Cordinator of Npower, Mrs Nkoyo Toyo proved abortive as several calls put to her phone line were unanswered.
President Muhammadu Buhari 4097272854802605916

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