The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has come under heavy criticism for distributing cutlasses, wheel-barrows as part of Special Public Works Programme which was designed to engage 774,000 unemployed Nigerians.
The minister had earlier celebrated the take-off of the program on Twitter, tweeting
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the take-off of the Special Public Works Programme (engaging 774,000 unemployed itinerant Nigerians) to begin nationwide on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021.”
“All NDE state structures are already in top gear for the take-off ceremonies.”
Yesterday, the minister took to the micro-blogging platform to share images from the launch of the program in Delta state. The images show the minister pushing a wheel-barrow in one and cutting grasses with a machete in another, suggesting those might be the empowerment tools.
As part of my activities last week, I travelled to Delta State to launch the Special Public Works Programme (774,000) jobs in my own Local Government Area (Uvwie LGA). pic.twitter.com/seUQgzZMGs
— Festus Keyamo, SAN (@fkeyamo) January 10, 2021
However, most Nigerians have been expressing their disappointment and anger. some are wondering how their government can be empowering young people with cutlasses and wheel-barrows in 2021.
“Festus Keyamo went to use cutlass and wheelbarrow as empowerment tools and a presidential aide tweeted “there is beauty in simplicity”. This Nigeria can’t be a real place,” one person tweeted.
Another person wrote “Warri no dey carry last” but Festus Keyamo went all the way to Abuja and returned to Delta with wheelbarrows and cutlasses as employment scheme? in 2021? Lmaoooo”
The Special Works Program is designed to employ 1,000 people from each of the 774 local government areas in the country and will be coordinated by constituted state committees.
The beneficiaries of the program will also earn N20,000 monthly.
A total of N52 billion was voted for the program in the revised 2021 budget.