Some volunteers of N-Power in Osun state on Thursday staged a peaceful protest for what they allege is “unfair disengagement” from the scheme by the agents of the Federal Government.
Concise News reports that some of the affected volunteers said they were disengaged despite being punctual and regular at their various Places of Primary Assignment (PPA).
A N-Teach beneficiary of the programme at Ayedaade high school in Irewole local government area of the state, who was simply identified as Babatunde, described his disengagement as worrisome, mischievous and saddening.
“This is very ridiculous, indeed mischievous, worrisome and saddening.
“I don’t have problem with this disengagement but why the lies?
“Why lying against me for God’s sake?
“I have never absented myself from duties for once.
“I take my classes with passion and I don’t have any problem with my principal.”
“I was surprised and disappointed that I am among those that were disengaged.
“This is seriously disheartening. They just picked people at random for disengagement without any reason whatsoever.
“All of us here standing have never run away or absconded from our PPA.
“We have never missed any monthly clearance.
“In fact, my principal told me that no N-Power official, either from the federal or the state has ever come to his school for any verification or confirmation.
“So, how did they guess that people have absconded or run away?” Legit quotes Babatunde as saying.
A beneficiary of the scheme under N-Agro, who spoke on condition of anonymity, opined that the random disengagement could not traced to the fact that the Federal Government is “tired” of paying the monthly stipend to the volunteers.
According to him: “The truth of the matter is that the government is tired of paying the monthly stipend and nothing more.
“There is no sincerity in this government whatsoever. All is just for elections. If not, why didn’t they do this before the general elections?
“I worked with Osun State Agricultural Development Programme (OSADEP) and I have never run away or absconded.
“By my own calculations, the government pays us N15 billion monthly (N30,000×500,000). This equals N180 billion per annum (N15bx12). That’s a lot of money. I understand very well, they are just looking for any way of disengaging us.”
Another volunteer who doesn’t want to be named, alleged that the N-Power Osun State Focal Person (Idiat Babalola) was the real reason behind their disengagement, adding that Babalola’s negligence led to the disengagement of committed and hardworking volunteers.
She said: “The woman has to be relieved of her duty. She is too negligent to hold any public office.
“When the whole issue started around May this year, we knew they just put people on hold randomly from Abuja.
“It was not at all based on the said fallacious reason that we absconded from their duties.
“The truth is that they knew that some people might have died, got a better job, travelled out of the country but still collecting the stipend.
“Since there is no mechanism to know this, they decided to put people on hold randomly.
“They later created a window of 45-day ultimatum for the affected volunteers to prove their innocence.
“The window was for them to get a clearance and attestation letter duly stamped from their PPA.
“This, according to them, would prove that we have not absconded.
“The letters were to be collated and forwarded to Abuja by the state focal person for exoneration and rectification.
“We did the necessary things as directed but surprisingly, the woman refused to act on it until the 45-day ultimatum lapsed.
“She didn’t forward anything to Abuja and it is about three months now, then they claimed that we have finally exited from the scheme,” she added.
Furthermore, a graduate of Linguistics from University of Ibadan (UI), who is a volunteer of N-Teach, said he was very sad about the whole incident, stressing that some people in charge of the programme were either not qualified or too negligent to oversee the programme.
Another volunteer with N-Health called on Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to quickly address the alleged unjust disengagement and make the necessary correction to prevent mass protest across the country.
Recall this online news medium reported exclusively in June how the Federal Government’s scheme is disengaging beneficiaries in some parts of the country.
The N-Power programme is one of the Social Investment Programmes of the Nigerian Government.
The scheme currently engages no fewer than 500,000 youth graduates deployed to provide public health services in teaching, health, agriculture and tax and monitoring.
N-Power also engages another 200,000 non-graduates in training or on attachment to organisations as interns.