Damilola was delighted when he was selected as one of 135 unemployed youths to be trained under the National Social Investment Program (NSIP) on smartphone repair by the Nigerian government in Kwara State.
He dreamed of having a more meaningful life after completing the 9-month vocational training.
But his joy was short-lived.
On April 25, when he completed the 3-month center training, he could not move on to the second segment of the program – a 9-month apprenticeship, because like all the other beneficiaries, he had not yet received the necessary tools which would earn him a place in apprenticeship.
“If we don’t go for this learning, the whole program is useless. It’s at this point that we can use what we learned during the three months of the first segment.
“The government gave the tools to the beneficiaries in Lagos, Adamawa and some other states on the same day they completed the training and registered them for the apprenticeship. But here in Kwara, after a month and several efforts, we do not know our fate Speakers are constantly postponing the day when they will be given.
“Aren’t we in the same country, why would Lagos and Anambra beneficiaries receive these tools and neglect us in Kwara?” It’s not fair on the part of the government,” Damilola lamented.
In January, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the restructuring of NSIP to give it more impact on the economy and reach out to citizens.
This led to the introduction of the N-Skills program which is based on a system of certification and accreditation of practical training delivered through an informal apprenticeship system anchored by master craftspersons (MCPs) and the formal training system including the use of Community Skills Development Centers (COSDECs) in many states.
The program aims to improve the quality and relevance of the skills delivered through certification systems to facilitate the transition of target beneficiaries to full-time skilled employment, self-employment and/or further education. It targets marginalized and disadvantaged populations, including those who have received no formal education or have received no formal education.
“N-Skills hosts many skill-based businesses and Smart Phone Repairs is being used to pilot the program under the N-Power non-graduate component. The ministry has worked with technical service providers to deliver the training services N-Skills to 6,475 unemployed youth across the Federation,” Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq revealed during his address at the closing ceremony of the training. N-Skills Smart Phone Repairs in Yaba, Lagos.
SaharaReporters understood that the Nigerian government had divided the states into different groups and claimed to have invested 4 billion naira in each group for this program.
Kwara, Oyo, Benue, Kogi, Rivers, Lagos, Sokoto and Kebbi belong to the same group.
In response to SaharaReporters’ discovery, Kwara’s project manager for training, Amb. Nkemakolam Okereke, admitted that none of the 135 beneficiaries received the starter kit.
“The kit contains all the tools they will use for learning but we haven’t given it to them as they are not in store. They are not made in Nigeria.”
But when asked why beneficiaries in some states like Lagos and Adamawa were given while those in Kwara were neglected, he replied, “I am not in the best position to know.”
He confirmed that any beneficiary of the program without a kit would not be registered to continue their training in the apprenticeship program.
He, however, promised to resolve the Kwara issue before the end of June 2022.