By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to increase the state allocation as it finally kicked off the 774,000 Extended Special Public Works, ESPW programme in Lagos, aimed at providing employment opportunities for the unemployed Nigerians.
Sanwo-Olu, who made the call through his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, yesterday, at the official flag-off of the programme, held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa-Ikeja, stated that the programme which is being implemented through the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, in collaboration with state governments and other relevant stakeholders, will create 774,000, jobs for Nigerians across all the local government areas out of which 20,000 will be in Lagos.
Making reference to increasing population and the consequent burden of caring for such growth, the governor cited attraction of Lagos to all Nigerians with every village or town having its representative living in the state.
According to Sanwo-Olu, “While we appreciate the efforts of the Federal Government through this initiative, we would like to appeal for an increase in the allocation for Lagos State in consideration of the increasing population that must be catered for.”
While noting that the initiative is taking off at the right time when governments at all level needed to do everything possible to stem the tide of rising unemployment and also cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people, the governor stated that it would also complement the state government’s efforts geared toward providing support and creating opportunities for young people to be productively engaged.
He said, “Our administration and indeed the Lagos State Government has always been a stakeholder and partner of the Federal Government in the quest to achieve the growth and development of our economy for the benefit of our people. The ESPW Jobs programme being flagged off today, (Tuesday) is the brainchild of the Federal Government and one of the strategies to address the issue of unemployment.”
He said the state government a couple of weeks ago, flagged off its Graduate Internship Placement Programme, an initiative it is implementing in collaboration with private sector organisations.
Sanwo-Olu commended President Buhari for providing the leadership that has enabled the successful take-off of the programme and appreciated the efforts and enterprise put in by the team that has worked so hard to make the event a reality in spite of the challenges posed by COVID-19 Pandemic.
While congratulating the 20,000 residents who have been selected to participate in the programme, the governor, urged the participants to be at their very best and be good ambassadors of the state, adding that their attitude and commitment to the assignment would flag more opportunities for the teeming unemployed in the state.
Earlier in his address, the Minister for Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola who was represented by the Federal Controller of Works, Lagos State, Engr. Kayode Popoola disclosed that the ESPW programme is an outcome of the pilot Special Public Works Programmes in the Rural Area approved by President Buhari and was implemented in eight states of the Federation in order to gauge its impact on addressing the increasing population of the unemployed and rising insecurity in some part of the country; the strategy was adopted to fast-track the achievement of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, 2017 – 2020.