Participants in the August-October Work Experience Programme (WEP) organised by the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development have debunked the claim that the ministry paid them the sum of N80 million in August and September as stated on the ministry’s website .
Many of them posted on social media platforms that the government refused to pay them after the completion of their internship.
Speaking to FIJ, Chibuike Ogadinma, a beneficiary of the WEP programme, said the ministry paid him only for the first month while they were yet to pay him for the remaining two months.
“They did not pay more than the first month,” he told FIJ. “They said the programme would be for three months and I participated wholeheartedly, but since it ended in October, there has been no word from the ministry,” Ogadinma told FIJ.
Chukwubuikem Ignatius, another participant in the WEP programme in Enugu State, told FIJ that although the ministry claimed to have paid them, there were indicators that they paid less than 30 percent of what they were meant to pay.
“They did not pay most people. They selected a few and paid them only their first salary. They did not pay me. The worst thing is our PPAs letters indicated that they were not to pay us, so we did free work,” Ignatius said.
“It was more of an industrial training program. The company ought not to pay us as the federal government was to pay us, yet they did not pay most of us.”
Ignatius stated that he felt he squandered his meagre resources by spending a lot of money on transportation to get to his PPA, despite the fact that he received no pay to cover his expenses.
Chidubem Emmanuel, another participant in the programme in Enugu State, said he was hurt by the federal government’s gimmicks.
He said after some participants took some steps to get their money from the government, the project management officer in charge of the interns gave them the numbers of the people the ministry contracted the project to.
“The agreement was that the ministry would pay us at the end of every month after our monthly clearance, but they did not pay. They only rushed the clearance process by forcing us to do it,” he told FIJ.
“They promised to help a lady in the company I worked with, but till now, they have not helped the woman. If they have paid, let them provide a shred of evidence.”
On December 20, some WEP participants heard they would be paid before the festive period. However, like previous promises, no money has been paid.
When FIJ contacted Raman Balogun, a staff member at the ministry, he did not answer his calls. At press time, he had not responded to a text sent to him.
Between August and October, some 3,000 youths interned at various companies across Nigeria as instructed by the ministry of youths and development. In April, many of them applied for the WEP initiative after seeing advertisements on social media platforms.
The WEP is one of the series of economic sustainability projects being implemented as an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development in Nigeria. It was established to boost employment potentials through practical workplace skills and experience.
Just like the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), people whose applications are successful are posted to primary places of assignment and are expected to work for free at their PPAs while the government pays them a stipend of N30,000 at the end of the month.
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.