109,823 N-Power beneficiaries now business owners – Minister

By Chimezie Godfrey

Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development has stated that at least 109,823 beneficiaries of Batch A and B of N- Power have established businesses in their communities.

She disclosed this on Friday during a virtual  meeting held with some of the beneficiaries.

“Statistics like this give me joy and once again, I want to say congratulations and like I said in my good will message I look forward to hearing amazing testimonials and meeting beneficiaries of this programme who will be doing great things in the future,” she stated.

The Minister further reiterated President Buhari’s vision of lifting 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years by creating opportunities to enhance the productivity of the Nigerian Youth for  employment or entrepreneurship.

“This vision is imperative because youths  represent 70 million of the Nigerian Population while youth unemployment stands at over 20% with 4.5 million entering the job market annually. 

“The need to find ways to engage them is of utmost importance,” she stressed.

According to the Minister, the commencement of the enrolment of Batch C was predicated on the need to give more Nigerian youth the opportunity to benefit as keeping only 500,000 beneficiaries for 4 years defeats the purpose of Mr. President’s vision, hence the need to scale and was in no way meant to be punitive.

Some of the beneficiaries of the programme gave glowing testimonials, and thanked the federal government for the opportunity.

According to Angela Mojisola Nabu, ‘’I am a graduate of Ladoke Akintola University where I studied Agriculture. I wanted to go into fish farming but was not sure how to go about it. When I learnt of the N-Power I decided to apply and was enrolled into the programme without knowing anyone or being connected to anyone. The election was clear and free. 

“I gained practical experience working with the Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme Ilaro Zone (OGADEP). 

“I was able to save some money from the stipends to start my own Fish farm. Today I have 12 ponds, I have people working for me and I have trained one IT student and I am willing to train more.’’

Saddiq Mustapha, a beneficiary from Katsina  State and graduate of Ahmadu Bello University said he was idle after his National Youth Service Corp. 

According to him, he registered and was also admitted into the programme on merit. 

By virtue of the experience gained and training in video production and editing, he has set up a multimedia company and runs the largest online media business in Katsina State with thousands of followers.

Similarly, Ali Dapil from Plateau State who is physically challenged said he had gone through a lot of discrimination. However, he applied for N- Teach and was sent to Gindiri DEM as his Primary place of Assignment. 

He was also provided a device to aid him. They all expressed their gratitude to the Federal  Government and Ministry for the opportunity.

The Minister thanked the beneficiaries of the programme while acknowledging the contributions and efforts of those who commenced the programme before it was transferred to the Ministry noting that it is a collective team effort and will continue to be so.

‘’You are our model N-Power beneficiaries. Please avail yourselves of all opportunities provided by Government like interest free loans and leverage on those opportunities while using N- Power as a stepping stone,’’ said the Minister.

The challenges facing the programme ranging from delays in the payment of stipends, ensuring beneficiaries show up at their places of primary assignment, people accessing the programme while gainfully employed elsewhere, were also highlighted by the Minister, who stated that she is working to resolve them. 

The Minister assured beneficiaries that outstanding payments will be made and transition plans are ongoing and will be duly communicated to them on their platform.