The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed doubts over the N6.2 billion spent by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to train and equip 16,820 youths in Bauchi State.
The Ministry claimed to have trained youths on smartphone repairs to encourage financial self-reliance. Speaking at the flag-off of the N-Skills (Smartphone Repairs) Programme in Bauchi on Wednesday, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, said the initiative is part of the N-Power non-graduate programme.
She added that the empowerment is in congruence with President Buhari’s aspiration of eradicating poverty in the country.
However, a statement signed yesterday by the HURIWA National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko argued that the gesture “is generally perceived by most Nigerians as mindless corruption that should and must be investigated.”
HURIWA noted that the “totality of phones in use in Bauchi State is not likely worth a quarter of that massive scale of public funds made from the export of crude oil produced in the neglected Niger Delta region now being claimed to have been blown away in a non-productive and non-commercial venture as phone repairs.”
The group further declared that it would launch an investigation to verify the number of phone repairers available in Bauchi state, saying: “preliminary investigation from our registered members resident in Bauchi, phone repairs as a job is not commercially viable as most people, who use handsets owned China-made torchlight phones that do not require regular repairs since they are so cheap that it is a waste of resources to attempt to fix them when damaged.”
The coordinator also denounced the ministry for allegedly moving away from its core mandate to undertake “institutional interventions that local or state governments ought to do with financial assistance from the office of the President or, at the most, some of those disbursements ought to be handled by Ministries of Youths, Social Development and Women Affairs.”