By Hudu Yakubu, Abuja
The Minister of State in the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, has commended President Muhammadu BuharI’s thoughtfulness in initiating the Extended Special Public Works Programme aimed at addressing mass unemployment among the unskilled youths.
The Minister gave the commendation at the state flag-off of the Nigerian government extended special public works programme held in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
She stressed that the intervention programme, approved in October 2019 was specifically for 1,000 persons each from all the 774 Local Government Areas, LGAs of the country for temporary employment.
Aliyu, who acknowledged that though the programme was not entirely new in Nigeria, however observed that this was the first time the government was focusing on unskilled workers, saying that before now, the emphasis has been on unemployed graduates and skilled workers.
Respond to Grinding Poverty
She also noted that these types of programmes were used during the Great Depression by industrialised nations to immediately respond to grinding poverty at the lowest level of the society that normally bear the brunt of such economic upheavals.
The Minister affirmed that the programme was also effectively used during colonial Africa to quickly respond to situations such as drought and famine by mobilising the unskilled persons to engage in other labour intensive infrastructural projects as means of immediately alleviating their situation.
Aliyu, therefore, called on all the participants especially from Kogi State to reciprocate the gesture of Mr. President by diligently executing their assigned roles throughout the duration of the short-term but fruitful engagement of the programme.
Earlier, the Acting Director General of National Directorate of Employment, Mallam Abubakar Fikpo, revealed that the initiative would have commenced some three months ago, but was regrettably delayed due to unnecessary and unavoidable circumstances.
Witnessing a Facelift
He noted that with the flag off of the programme the communities would witness a facelift through the activities of specific works to be carried out by participants ranging from drainage clearing and maintenance, vegetation control, feeder roads amongst others.
He assured that participants have been duly documented and their details captured by designated banks to guarantee a fraud free, transparent and fair service delivery.
Fikpo further stressed that to ensure effective monitoring of the scheme, supervisors have been appointed in all the electoral wards of the country to conduct supervisory roles.