Bayelsa state Unemployed Youths angry As Gov. Dickson And Senator Ben Bruce Hijack NDE Skill Acquisition Program.

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Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson;  his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd.) and Ben Bruce-Murray, a senator, Mr Emmanuel Paulker, also a senator; and other political bigwigs have hijacked the skills acquisition scheme for 2,000 jobless youths in the state, shutting out the people for whom it was established.

According to SaharaReporters' investigation, hundreds of unemployed people have been trying to acquire skills through Bayelsa State office of the National Directorate of Employment(NDE), which runs the Federal Government-funded scheme, but have been unable to access training that could make them self-employed.

The skills acquisition scheme was conceived by the Federal Government and set up in the 36 states to train 2,000 people in each state. SaharaReporters' checks revealed that lists of candidates recommended by politicians for the scheme adorn the walls of the NDE office in Amarata, Yenagoa.

Mr. Dickson has the longest list of names. Next to him is his deputy. They are followed by senators and members of the House of Assembly.
An NDE staff admitted to SaharaReporters that the selection of the people for the scheme in the state was done based on the lists from the governor, deputy governor, and serving ministers.senators, House of Representative members and traditional rulers among others.

Ebi Emmanuel, one of the unemployed persons, said he is unhappy with the way ordinary people were denied participation in the programme in preference for those on politicians' lists.


“I learnt that this programme targets at least 2, 000 unemployed people in each state of the federation, but here we are, some politicians have hijacked everything. I believe this is an open programme, but the reverse in the case.
How will those who do not have people in the corridor of power benefit? I am not sure this is what the Federal Government planned," he said.

Ayibatonye Alagoa, another unemployed youth, expressed the same sentiment. He lamented that politics has replaced fairness.

 “Using politics to do everything is not helpful. This way, favouritism will continue to rule,” Alagoa said.

 Another NDE official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the hijack, saying they were only acting on’ orders from the above’.

 He explained that the programme was meant for 2, 000 participants, noting that the training was to equip the unemployed youths with relevant skills and make them self-reliant.

 “It is a nationwide programme. The training is in two categories. Some are being trained in cosmetology and hairdressing, while others are being trained in phone and computer repairs,” the officer said.

Bayelsa State NDE Coordinator, Mr Napoleon Amachree, declined to disclose the criteria used in the selection of beneficiaries. He maintained that he merely carried out directives issued to him from the NDE headquarters.

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