The Federal Government says it will not hesitate to suspend N-Power volunteers who abscond from their Primary Place of Assignment (PPA).
The Communications Manager of the National Social Investment Office, Justice Bibiye, in a statement on Wednesday, said this is a reaction to “a recent report that highlighted the recurrent problem of beneficiaries of not going to their duty posts in the states where they were posted.”
Mr Bibiye also said the reports indicated how some beneficiaries stayed away for long periods of time from their primary places of assignment.
PREMIUM TIMES in July published a special report on how some N-Power beneficiaries absconded from duty and abuse their opportunities in three selected states: Kano, Katsina, and Adamawa.
The agency then sacked 2,525 beneficiaries for absconding from their PPAs.
The agency also announced that about 18,674 other beneficiaries of the initiative “have voluntarily resigned, having secured permanent employment.”
More sanctions, checks
The official also said the agency “had taken concrete steps to address the problems, which border mainly on absenteeism and truancy on the part of some N-teach beneficiaries who have consistently abused the privilege of being engaged to serve their land.”
Mr Bibiye noted that volunteers assigned to schools by the various state governments in collaboration with the federal government are now being monitored by the school heads.
He added that monthly reports are expected to be made to the state government-appointed focal persons “who then forward the report directly to the central N-Power office.”
“While several complaints and observations have been made which has resulted in the expulsion of affected erring beneficiaries from the programme as stated earlier, we, however, note attempts of some to conspire with school principals who directly interact with these beneficiaries, thus providing unreliable data, further reiterating the deep-rooted corruption in the system.
“This anomaly is being checked as we have since partnered with several security agencies including EFCC, the DSS and ICPC to investigate, apprehend and prosecute those seen to be undermining the Social Investment Programmes of the Federal Government.
“We assure Nigerians that all erring N-Power volunteers would be immediately suspended and placed on payment hold whilst we conduct investigations. This would serve as a deterrent for the future as we have always done with any reports of truancy and indiscipline as was also mentioned in the Businessday investigative report,” the official added.
The N-Power was introduced in 2016 with the aim of reducing unemployment among Nigerian graduates and non-graduates between the ages of 18 and 35.
The volunteers are paid N30,000 monthly as stipends and given tablet computers to aid further learning.
One of the many hurdles characterising the N-Power programme has remained the issue of beneficiaries absconding from duty at their various PPAs.