By Isaac Olamikan, Senior Correspondent, Benin
In furtherance of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration’s job creation and empowerment drive, over 5,000 Edo residents, including youths and women, have benefited from the Federal Government’s rural area engagement programme, tagged Special Public Works (SPW).
The pilot phase of the programme was flagged off in Benin City, the Edo State capital, by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo and the Director General, National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Dr Nasir Argungu.
The pilot phase includes the flag-off of the 5,000 transient jobs for women and youths under the Presidency’s pilot SPW programme, disbursement of Micro Enterprise Enhancement Scheme (MEES) loan to 1,069 beneficiaries and resettlement items to 41 persons in the state.
Commending the governor’s developmental achievements in the state, Keyamo described Governor Obaseki as a man that God has destined to win, adding that Edo State was chosen among the eight states to benefit from the Federal Government Special Public Work programme, because of the special interest of President Muhammadu Buhari in the governor.
Also, Director General of NDE, Argungu, described Obaseki as a performing governor who has the love of his people at heart, noting “We are dealing with a serious governor and somebody who has the love of his people at heart; and that is the reason they call him ‘Wake and See’.
“Whenever we are in Edo State, issues of religion, tribe and age do not come in and because of the performance of the governor, we like to dance whenever we are in the state.”
The Special Public Works in Rural Areas Programme is a Federal Government Strategy designed to mitigate lack of job opportunities in the rural areas through short-term engagement of unemployed persons in various Local Government Areas for a period of three months.
It is a dry season/off season-based initiative and participants are unskilled persons of 18 to 30 years old. No formal education is required for participation. Beneficiaries are expected to engage in drainage digging and clearance, irrigation canals clearance, rural feeder roads maintenance, traffic and street cleaning, and cleaning of public infrastructure like health centres and schools, among others.