The North-Central Advocacy Coalition (NCAC) has joined the growing calls for the federal government to reinstate the N-Power program which was abruptly halted, saying the suspension of the program comes with multiple negative implications to the country and to the North in particular.
This decision, the Group said, will have a detrimental effect on the beneficiaries, who will now face increased competition in an already overcrowded job market.
“The northern region, in particular, will be severely affected as the program has played a significant role in reducing unemployment and poverty levels in this area,” Ndagi Baba Toro, President General of the association said at a press conference in Minna, Niger State.
According to the NCAC, the decision to suspend the N-Power program was hasty and unpopular.
“Alternative solutions should have been considered, such as phasing out the program gradually, rather than abruptly impacting the beneficiaries without any clear transition plan.
“This lack of foresight and consideration for the welfare of the affected beneficiaries has resulted in widespread criticism from both public officials and citizens,” they said.
They observed that the N-Power program has been instrumental in providing job opportunities and skills training to millions of young people, empowering them to become self-reliant and contribute to economic growth. Suspending this program will reverse the progress made so far, leading to higher unemployment rates and increased poverty levels. This not only affects individuals but also their families, posing a risk to overall socio-economic stability in the region.
Furthermore, they added that, the suspension of the N-Power program will worsen the security challenges already prevalent in Northern Nigeria.
They insisted that the program not only provided employment opportunities but also served as a social inclusion and empowerment mechanism for young people.
“By abruptly ending this beneficial scheme, there is a risk of creating a pool of unemployed and frustrated youth who may become susceptible to extremist groups or engage in criminal activities. This could further destabilize troubled areas in the north and compromise national security.
“The suspension of the N-Power program will exacerbate security challenges in Northern Nigeria by creating a pool of unemployed and frustrated youth who may be susceptible to recruitment by extremist groups or engage in criminal activities.
“The program has not only provided employment opportunities but has also served as a means of social inclusion and empowerment for the youth. By abruptly ending the program, the government risks further destabilizing the troubled northern region and compromising national security.
“The decision to scrap the N-Power program appears to be hasty, ill-advised, and ill-timed. The government should have considered alternative solutions phasing to minimize the negative impact on beneficiaries. The sudden suspension without any clear alternative or transition plan demonstrates a lack of foresight and consideration for the welfare of the affected individuals,” the Group said.
The NCAC said it strongly condemned the decision to suspend the N-Power program and demanded its immediate reinstatement saying, the government must recognize the importance of this program in addressing unemployment and poverty, particularly in the northern region.
“Additionally, the NCAC calls for the removal of Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, from her position for being responsible for this unpopular decision. Accountability is crucial to ensure that such ill-informed decisions are not repeated in the future.
“The suspension of the N-Power program is a cause for great concern, particularly for the northern region of Nigeria. The negative implications on unemployment, poverty, and security cannot be ignored. The NCAC strongly condemns the decision and urges the government to reconsider its action and reinstate the program immediately”, the group said.