The Nigerian government has extended the age limit for N-Power enrollment from 18-35 to 18-40 years under a new restructured program aimed at capturing five million youths in five years.
Allaying public fear over the temporary suspension of the program as earlier announced, N-Power National Programme Manager, Dr. Akindele Egbuwalo, said the program is being restructured and expanded to cover one million beneficiaries each year for five years and allow more people to participate across the age brackets.
He said the ongoing restructuring of the N-Power programme will bring about the employment of five million young Nigerians in five years and include more programs previously not in the scheme.
In a statement from the Special Adviser to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, Rasheed Zubair, Egbuwalo appealed to Nigerians to understand the rationale behind the temporal suspension of the N-Power programme and the subsequent restructuring it is undergoing, saying the federal government was working to restore confidence in the programme.
“This restructuring and transformation will also birth an expanded programme to reach beneficiaries aged 18–40; the previous age limit was 35.
‘We are targeting 5 million beneficiaries in 5 years at a pace of 1 million per year under the graduate and non-graduate streams”, he points out.
Giving further glimpse into what a restructured N-Power would look like, the National Programme Manager disclosed that it will accommodate some new programmes, in education, health, works, agriculture, technology, fashion, entertainment and other relevant areas of skill acquisition and employability.
“To earn the confidence of Nigerians in the expanded programme, transparency and accountability will be the benchmark. It shall no longer be business as usual as we make concerted efforts to put the nation on the right footing, ensuring that no one directly or indirectly unleashes suffering on Nigerians”, he said.
Dr Egbuwalo explained that suspension of the Programme became imperative following the discovery of sharp practices and to also give room for a detailed investigation into its operations in the last twelve months.
His words: “There is a need to audit the number of people in the programme, those who have exited the programme, those who are being owed, whether they reported to work or not and how funds have been utilised over this period.
“Recently, we discovered instances of programme beneficiaries whose participation has lapsed since 2022 but have remained on and continue to expect payments from the government. In addition, some beneficiaries must honour their obligation to the programme. They do not report to their places of primary assignments as required but still receive monthly payments.
“These instances have made the need for a thorough audit imperative, as we also look into claims of those being owed for up to eight to nine months stipends to ascertain the veracity of their claims”
He assured all beneficiaries with genuine claims that the federal government will not owe anybody as it will resolve all cases and honour all valid outstanding obligations once the verification exercise is completed.