The Federal Ministry of Youth Development clearly needs to answer a few questions that are being raised by a youth-focused non-profit, YouthhubAfrica.
Almost three years ago, the federal government signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for the UN Junior professional Officers Program (UN JPO).
The initial agreement was to deploy 37 young Nigerian professionals (one from each state and the FCT) to work with the UN in several locations around the world and gain invaluable professional experiences.
In a statement signed by Rotimi Olawale, the executive director of YouthhubAfrica, the group wondered why despite the fact that N2.1bn was allocated for the project in 2013 and 2014,it is yet to take off.
The group released a policy brief on Monday June 22, calling for an investigation of the affair.
“Despite the 2.1 billion Naira set aside for the project in the 2013 and 2014 budget of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, no young Nigerian has benefitted from the project till date.
“More worrisome is the claim of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development in a response to a Freedom of Information request sent by YouthhubAfrica that it is still in the process of actualising the program, despite the fact that there are no budgetary provisions for it in the 2015 budget,” the group said.
According to them, the JPO holds a huge potential to create a corps of young professionals and “we therefore recommend that budget for it be inserted into the 2015 supplementary budget and the FMoYD re-initiate conversation with the UNDP to bring the program to light.”
“It is commendable that Nigeria is the only African country out of over 20 countries that have signed on to the UN JPO program; it is however not befitting that the plan sits on paper.
“We will continue to engage with the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, the National Assembly, the UN System in Nigeria and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that the project is completed while continuing to monitor the programs and policies of Government targeted at young people,” the group said.