Lagos Npower Volunteers protest over 2 months of unpaid salaries
Scores of beneficiaries of the Npower Volunteers, Lagos State, are not happy over the unpaid salaries for two months (running to three is February), while more than 30 other states have been paid.
Federal Government last year started the recruitment of 600, 000 unemployed Nigerian youths.
While 500, 000 slots were reserved for graduates, 100,000 were allocated for artisans.
FG released first batch of successful candidates last year throughout the federation, and promised that all volunteers would begin to be paid beginning from December.
By December 30, 2016, volunteers from some states had started receiving the N30, 000 monthly stipends.
Before then, states were mandated to embark on Npower physical verification on the successful candidates, who are resident in various states across the federation.
But trouble started when Lagos State was the last state to start and finish the verification exercise, which is one of the one the factors that could cause delay in payment.
While some states had got December and January stipends and waiting for February, Lagos State was left out. No reason was given for what could have caused the delay, which prompted volunteers to embark on peaceful protest to the Lagos State legislative house.
It would be recalled that they had in January protested to the Assembly demanding for the payment of their stipend, which made the House to summon the Lagos State Npower Focal Officer, Mrs. Shola Falana, and the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Lola Akande, for explanation.
The protesters, chanting different solidarity songs, carried placards with various inscriptions, which include: Lagos State N-Power volunteers are tired of staying at home’; ‘Only Lagos State N-Power are excluded from the programme, attend to us’; ‘Release our stipends’; and ‘Enough of no information, no device, no deployment, no stipends.’
“We are being cheated in Lagos. We do not know why the Federal Government has decided to exclude us in this state. Throughout December we were not verified. We have done verification after our first protest to this House in January but we have not been deployed and neither were we paid our stipends.
“We want the House to intercede on our behalf so that we can be posted and paid. Other applicants in other states have been deployed and are collecting their stipends since December. We are tired of staying at home, we are hungry,” leader of the demonstration Mr. Felix Ayorinde said.
The Speaker of the House, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa, assured the aggrieved Npower volunteers that the legislative house would allow anyone to cheat successful N-Power applicants in the state, adding that the Assembly would further investigate causes of delay.
Obasa was represented by Mr. Bisi Yusuf, Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (Local).