Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, has kicked off the Extended Special Public Works Programme of the Federal Government.
Kicking off the Programme on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, the State Governor said it is a step in the right direction to address the unemployment challenge and to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The Governor maintained that the programme, which is targeted at empowering 1,000 beneficiaries in each of the 774 Local Governments of the country, for about three months, will complement the efforts of the Oyo State Government to tackle unemployment in the State.
According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Taiwo Adisa, the Governor, represented by his deputy, Engr Rauf Olaniyan, lauded the initiative and admonished its beneficiaries to demonstrate good conduct, stating that it is a great opportunity for them and the conduct of the pioneer beneficiaries will determine whether or not it would last or be short-lived.
He equally charged members of the Committee of the programme to always carry the State Government along in the selection process so as to make it more transparent and generally acceptable to all and sundry in the State.
Earlier, the Acting Director-General, National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mallam Abubakar Nuhu, who was represented by the State Coordinator, Mrs. Olayemi Olayinka, said the programme is a significant step in Nigeria’s quest to win the war against mass unemployment and to ameliorate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic; describing the programme as “the single most far-reaching grassroots-based employment creation initiative in the history of our great nation.”
In his remark, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, who was represented by Captain Ajao Olufemi, said the programme was organised to address the ballooning population of the unemployed and rising insecurity in some parts of the country and to cushion the adverse socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that the Federal Government will closely monitor the implementation of the programme to ascertain the efficient utilisation of the resources, human/material committed to the programme.
Similarly, the Chairman, Oyo State Selection Committee, Mr Ope Salami, advised the beneficiaries to see the programme as a golden opportunity that can be used to take them out of poverty in the nearest future.
Mr Salami equally commended Engr Makinde-led Government for demonstrating a non-partisan disposition during the processes leading to the kick-off, as well as commending the Akinyele Local Government Chairman, Mr Taoreed Adedigba, for his cooperation with the Committee.
The event, held at the premises of Akinyele Local Government Secretariat, Moniya, had in attendance representatives of the Alaafin of Oyo, Olubadan of Ibadan, Soun of Ogbomoso, the Senator representing Oyo Central, Teslim Folarin and a host of others.