Reporter: CHINAZO ILECHUKWU
Twenty seven thousand beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s Extended Special Works Programme in Imo State have been challenged to reciprocate the gesture by demonstrating commitment to the job.
The Minister of State for Education, Dr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, gave the charge during the inauguration of the programme in Owerri, Imo State.
The beneficiaries were mostly unemployed youths and vulnerable women from the twenty seven local government areas of Imo State.
Dr. Nwajiuba, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event, said the programme was designed to engage the youths positively in the critical aspects of the nation’s economy and shielding the vulnerable from the rampaging effects of COVID-19.
He said the seven hundred and seventy four thousand jobs would cushion the effects of poverty, hunger, unemployment and environmental degradation.
He noted that government would ensure strict implementation of the programme in all the states.
The Imo State Governor, Chief Hope Uzodimma, represented by Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmos Iwu, commended President Buhari for the initiative.
He announced that the state government had set aside six billion naira to pursue youth empowerment in the area.
The Acting Director National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mallam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, represented by a Director in the Directorate, Dr. Ifeoma Achigbu, said necessary tools had been provided to facilitate the job.
According to the NDE boss, supervisors have been appointed in all the electoral wards in the country to realize the objective of the programme.
The Chairman State Selection Committee, Okenze Sylvester Obinna, in a goodwill message said painstaking effort was taken to ensure that only those targeted benefitted from the programme.
Some of the beneficiaries, while demonstrating their readiness to perform the task, expressed gratitude to the government for the initiative.
Highlight of the event was the display of working tools, which included grass cutting machines, wheel barrows, machetes, shovel, digger, buckets rakes, head pans, safety boots and helmets by the Imo State Coordinator of the National Directorate of Employment, Mrs. Ngozi Iheanacho.