Niger state recorded 4,136 candidates as having passed the physical verification process for the N-Power scheme. 612 of the participants were, however, disqualified.
The scheme, backed by the presidency, is an initiative created to stem the tide of unemployment in the country.
The State Coordinator, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Alhaji Muhammed Ali, made this known to newsmen in Minna yesterday. In his address, he is reported to have said that a total of 5017 candidates applied in the first phase but only 4,251 candidates were screened. Of this, 258 were disqualified, 744 were absent while 3,995 were successful.
Candidates were disqualified for myriads of reasons such as being over-age, false declaration, mutilated certificates, and unavailability of germane documents.
He said that the request for applicants’ Bank Verification Number (BVN) also scared away for fear of being found out to be gainfully employed. Due to the disqualification of the 612 applicants, vacancies are currently open to fill their positions. However, this is only based on a directive from the presidency.
The programme had a hard time getting people to sign up. This was pointed out by Mrs Afiniki Dauda, the Special Adviser to Gov. Abubakar Sanni Bello of Niger on Empowerment and Social Protection.
The apathy shown was attributed to a lack of trust in the programme. Residents felt it was to be another time-wasting programme created by the government.
To fight this, Dauda is reported to have said:
“My team and I had to go round the 25 council areas in the state and we got only 1,000 people registered.
“I had to visit the councils twice, I also involved the local government chairmen to help disseminate the information but some still did not come out.
“I did all I could possibly do to see to the success of the exercise by distributing flyers and radio announcements.
She said that the N- Power team in Niger tried to reach out to candidates that were absent but some couldn’t be reached while some said they were not interested in the scheme any longer.