The House of Representatives Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) says 400,000 youths have benefited from the N-Power Scheme.
Rep. Balarabe Salame, Chairman of the committee, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, said that the success was recorded during his tenure as the committee’s chairman.
NAN reports that the N-Power is a scheme set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 to address the issues of youth unemployment as well as help increase social development.
The lawmaker, representing Illela/Gwadabawa Constituency of Sokoto State, said the N-Power and SMEDAN had effectively alleviated poverty in the country.
”There are so many committees, one can make millions from, but I asked for a committee that will touch the lives of the masses and I was given the Poverty Alleviation Committee.
“Prior to now, no accountability was made for funds the government allocates for poverty alleviation, but since I assumed as chairman of the committee, 400,000 youths were given N-Power.
“And in my state, in each constituency, the women benefit from women’s grant.
“No fewer than 1,000 women have been given N20,000 each to start up a small business, while SMEDAN has also empowered youths and small scale businesses,” he said.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Stakeholders Forum, also paid the chairman a courtesy visit and presented him with an award of ‘Legislature of the Year’.
Salame, a three-time member of the house, said he believed he had served his constituency favourably during his tenure in the House of Representatives and as such, would not be seeking a re-election.
He appealed to other lawmakers to empower members of their constituency adequately and impact positively on their lives to reduce crime and insecurity.
“I thank Almighty Allah for giving me the help and people like you that always advice, support me and appreciate what I have been doing.
“I believe I have achieved what I intended to achieve and will not contest in the next elections for a seat in the House of Representatives,” he said.
On his part, Rep. Abdullahi Sa’ad, Deputy Chairman, Public Accounts Committee, commended Salame’s commitment to human capacity building.
He pointed out that there had been an improvement in the collating of inputs of lawmakers and conveying same to the Executive for integration in the programmes of the government.
Sa’ad also praised the synergy between the Executive and the 9th Assembly, noting that the absence of friction between both arms of government enhanced their operations.
“I thank God we have this opportunity to appreciate Salame and say thank you and may God continue to give you the wisdom to forge better partnerships with the Executive and the Legislature.
“This administration is arguably the best in terms of social intervention in the history of this country; the amount of social intervention we have seen.
“Both money spent and the people who have benefited, are unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.
“There are several bills to create a permanent body responsible for social intervention programmes in Nigeria and I believe the committee under him, will be the ones to scrutinise the bill and make recommendations for further legislative actions.
“I congratulate you on the award and believe that as it is not the first, it will also not be the last.
“We continue to pray for God’s guidance, as you continue to touch positively on the lives of your constituents and other Nigerians,” he said.
A member of the APC Stakeholders Forum, Mr Abdullahi Hassan, said that the solutions to the issue of insecurity in the country were good leadership, job creation and adequate engagement of the youths.
“We found out that unemployment is one of the major factors that has contributed to the insecurity we are facing today.
“Be it IPOB, Boko Haram or Banditry, any kind of crime and criminality going on today in Nigeria, the genesis is unemployment.
“Fortunately, Rep. Salame has within the last four years carried out programmes that have changed the living standard of people in his constituency economically.
“Because of that, the leaders of the APC Stakeholders Forum at the national headquarters of the party decided to pay you a visit and appreciate your initiative for positively impacting on the lives of your people,” Hassan said.
Highlight of the visit was the presentation of the award by the Chairman of the APC Stakeholders Forum, Faruq Hassan, to Salame.