By Josephine Agbonkhese
LAGOS—THE Federal Government, said yesterday, that it will not impose the absorption of 136,000 youths currently employed as Teaching Assistants, under its N-power programme in various states across the country, once the first phase expires in December.
Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Hajiya Maryam Uwais, disclosed this in Lagos, at a colloquium organised by the Department of Public Law of the University of Lagos, UNILAG.
Uwais, who earlier reeled out efforts by the Buhari-led administration on social protection and poverty eradication, was reacting to speculations by some beneficiaries of the two-year project that they will be absorbed into the various state teaching services in which they currently work.
She said: “They have worked for two years and have been paid N30,000 monthly and have a device that gives them information on entrepreneurship.
“We cannot ask a state to employ anybody. We have given them N30,000 monthly, the know-how, and practical experience. For example, if you have been working in the farm, you know all there is to know about agriculture by now and should be able to start something. We have many of them who are now forming co-operatives, buying farmlands, growing foods and setting up small businesses.
“It is about taking ownership of their lives; the idea is for you to be able to do things for yourselves. I will like them to look inwards and see what they can do for themselves at the expiration of the programme.”
Earlier in his lecture titled ‘Have Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Truly Come of Age?’, the guest lecturer at the event, Mr. J. Oloka-Onyango, Professor of Law, Makerere University, Uganda, said: “Giving a person the right to vote without the attendant right eat, caters to only one half of the reality of what it means to be a human being.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, a discussant at the event, said the refusal of Nigerians to take matters of socio-economic and cultural rights seriously made possible menaces such as vote-buying which was publicly done during elections in the country.
Mumuni said: “You cannot see such in any advanced democracy and the reason is that matters of socio-economic importance are taken seriously in those climes. My advice to Nigerians is to continue to make demands ceaselessly until socio-economic rights are included in our constitutional Bill of Rights and made enforceable and justice-able just like civil and political rights. They should not be allowed to remain only in our national objectives.’
“Nigerians must understand that democracy is about healthy-living and life above any other thing.” I, therefore, call for an urgent amendment of our constitution in this regard if our democracy must be strengthened.”