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5,000 youth, women kick off public works programme in Borno


About 5,000 unemployed youth and women from five local government areas (LGA) in Borno State have kicked off the extended special public works programme (ESPWs) of the federal government in the state.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, disclosed this on Thursday at the official flag off of the programme in Maiduguri.

One thousand people will ultimately be picked from each of the 27 LGAs of the state when the programme fully comes on stream.

“The federal government implemented the pilot Special Public Programme in the rural areas of eight selected states which included Borno State, the pilot programme engaged 5,000 unemployed persons; 1,000 per LGA in five LGAs of the state as pilot scheme,” Mr Shehuri said.

According to the minister, the programme will create 774,000 jobs for unemployed Nigerian youth and women with the recruitment of 1,000 per every LGA in the country.

The beneficiaries will be engaged in various works in their respective communities.

“The initiative is aimed at cushioning the economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, create jobs and promote the maintenance of critical infrastructure at the community levels in all the 774 LGAs across the country,” Mr Shehuri said.

“The initiative was formally flagged off at the national level on January 5, 2021, on behalf of the federal government by the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, who is the Board Chairman and supervising minister of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

“The project will cost the federal government the sum of N1.62 billion as direct allowance to be paid to the participants across the nation.”

He said the NDE had created many jobs via its four core programmes for indigenes of Borno State.

“The socio-economic effects of this quantum of money going directly into the local economy of the communities cannot be overemphasised.

“The success recorded from the implementation of the pilot programme in eight states convinced Mr President to expand the initiative to cover all states of the federation,” he added.

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The minister urged the people of Borno to complement the federal government’s effort by promoting peace and security in a sustainable manner in the state.

In his address, the Acting Director-General of the NDE, Abubakar Nuhu, represented by the senior assistant, technical, Samaila Gunda, said “Extended Special Public Works (SPW) programme has been designed as a veritable tool through which the lives of 774,000 unemployed Nigerians will be positively touched in the next three months.

“To ensure effective monitoring of the programme, supervisors have been appointed in all the electoral wards of the country to conduct supervisory roles.

“Our communities will receive a facelift through the activities of the participants as they will engage in various community and environment-specific public works activities ranging from, drainage clearing and maintenance, vegetation control, feeder roads maintenance, irrigation among many others.

“Appropriate working tools, as well as protective wears, have been provided for all the participants in their daily work schedule.

“Equally, all participants have been duly documented and their details captured by designated banks to guarantee a fraud-free, transparent and fair service delivery,” he said.

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