By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Federal Government (FG) flagged off one of its job creation projects for the employment of 774,000 Nigerians in all the 774 local governments in the country on Wednesday, 6th January, 2021. Already, Delta State has received the sum of N1.59 billion for beneficiaries in the state.
Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has demanded transparency in the implementation of the project. The human rights group spoke through its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Saturday, 9th January, 2021 via a statement circulated to pressmen.
“We warmly welcome the flagging off of the pilot Special Public Works Programme which is domiciled in the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) for implementation. We have no doubt that the project will pull out thousands of Nigerian youths from the streets and reduce crime.
“MURIC commends the Federal Government (FG) for resuscitating this age-long initiative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). We see the project as one of the effective means of redistributing wealth and eliminating poverty in the country. The gigantic pilot project is expected to cost N46.44 billion or N52 billion when the costs of administration and logistics are added. Already, Delta State has reportedly received the sum of N1.59 billion for the scheme.
“However, we wish to warn against the hijack of the project by greedy officials, political shenanigans and religious demagogues who may be tempted to arrogate large percentage of the job slots to their cronies, court-jesters and boot-lickers. We demand absolute transparency, fairness and balanced representation.
“NDE must exhibit zero tolerance for the ghost worker phenomenon. The agency in charge must therefore ensure that accuracy in quoted figures and physical presence of those recruited for the job. Names of those employed and paid must be displayed in local government headquarters on a monthly basis.
In view of the fact that transparency necessitates accountability, we call on the anti-corruption agencies in the country to set up adequate machinery for the purpose of monitoring the exercise. Those found wanting must be held accountable.
“In particular, no religious group should be allowed to dominate the operation at the expense of another. In this regard, we warn those who are usually inclined to shortchange others in the sharing of our common patrimony to keep off as we will not hesitate to expose any attempt to play hanky panky in any local government.”