The Lagos camp of the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P) has been deserted, with thousands of job seekers in the SURE-P/FERMA employment scheme calling on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to investigate the over N463 million job scam perpetrated by SURE-P officials and the training personnel who paraded themselves with the name, “SURE-P/FERMA Federal Task Force,” while working on behalf of the federal government.
A visit to the camp which is located at the former toll gate, Magodo, Lagos, revealed that the place has been deserted, with even members of the SURE-P/FERMA Federal Task Force who were anchoring the training programme no where to be found.
With the 10,000 job seekers registered with SURE-P, about N463 million may have been collected from these cadets who have been undergoing training in the last few years.
However, SURE-P’s spokesman, Mr Suleiman Haruna said the agency paid all interns registered under the programme.
He explained that where there were complaints of non-payment, employers of the interns wrote to SURE-P and such complaints were always resolved.
He, however, noted that the SURE-P employment programme was anchored by FERMA (Federal Roads Maintenance Agency), which was supposed to pay them the training allowance.
“We don’t owe anyone in SURE-P. The SURE-P/FERMA programme in Lagos belongs to FERMA. How we operate is that we have employers who engage the interns, but we pay the interns through the employers,” he said.
When contacted, the FERMA’s spokesperson, Hajia Maryam Sanusi said she would get back to our correspondent, but did not do so till the time of filing in this report.
Most of the victims urged EFCC and the ICPC to investigate the allegations of extortion and swindling perpetrated at the SURE-P employment camp.
“We want the EFCC and the ICPC to investigate the activities of the SURE-P/FERMA federal task force and bring culpable officers of SURE-P to book. We lost so much to the programme: we lost our precious time; we lost so much money, even as job seekers. These dubious elements were busy taking advantage of our joblessness to swindle us,” said a trainee who pleaded anonymity.
It was gathered that many of the job seekers stopped coming for training before the 2015 general elections.
“I have not been there since February. I had to abandon the programme because nothing was coming out of it,” said Miss John Eneh, a graduate of Business Administration from the Benue State Polytechnic, who joined the programme in July 2014 after paying N10,000 for registration.
“I got tired of that job stuff. I think the government was just using it to deceive Nigerians that it was doing something about employment creation. “It was a big scam that the EFCC must investigate. The matter must not be swept under the carpet,” said John Baki, a Kogi State native residing in Lagos.