A key programme in the manifesto of President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC is a special welfare package for the unemployed and less privileged. Indeed, many people saw this aspect of the APC manifesto as a novel idea which introduction was long overdue. The Federal Government initiated the N-Power programme under its Social Investment Programme (SIP) in 2015 to engage the teeming youths in productive ventures like teaching and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) programmes to reduce unemployment. Reports from mediangr.com reveal the monthly stipends of each beneficiary as follows:
N-Power Teaching, N-Power Agro and N-Power Health: N28,000 to N30,000 monthly. N-Power Community Education, N-Power Creative: N10,000 to N30,000 monthly. N-Power Tech (Software), N-Power Tech (Hardware): N20,000 to N40,000 monthly, and N-Power Build: N27,000 to N30,000 Monthly. The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, said no fewer than 473,137 Nigerian youths had been enrolled into the SIP. She added that, “As at February 25, 2020, there were 473,137 Nigerians enrolled into the programme.”
The mandate of the programme is to provide beneficiaries with requisite skills within the designated period of either one or two years, depending on the category, to provide work experience opportunities towards job employment for unemployed youths and to link policies towards enhancing public service. The N-Power is for young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35. Similarly, the Federal Government said over 300,000 persons benefited from the Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme (CCTS); another welfare programme. The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Social Welfare Programme, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, said: “So far we have over 11.5 million direct beneficiaries on all our programmes. We also have about nine million indirect beneficiaries. “Right now, we have over 700,000 people on the National Social Register, but the people we are paying under the CCTS are about 300,000. This is because we select only the poorest of the poor in every community and every payment is done through their bank accounts, so we are able to track every kobo spent.” On the welfare of people with disability, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs said a National Commission of People with Disability (NCPD) would soon be set up. She said the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act which the president had given assent to provide for the full integration of persons with disabilities into the society and aimed at establishing NCPD.
The Programme Officer of the Disability Rights Fund (DRF), Mr. Theophilus Odaudu, said the law would be useless without the establishment of the commission. Mr. Odaudu said, “There is a law, but the commission is the one that has the responsibility to enforce the law. So, without the commission being established, what we have is a law that cannot be fully enforced.” He further said their expectation as persons with disabilities was that government would take steps to provide the physical environment and make services needed accessible to them. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), there are over 84 million poor Nigerians and that many of them have not benefitted from the SIP. Analysts said the Federal Government would need to do more in terms of impact and outreach, particularly to the very poor, women and youths. According to them, unemployment figures may reach 40 per cent by Q4 2020.