Prospective enrollees into the N-Power agriculture programme in Anambra State have complained of rejection by some local government authorities, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The enrollees, who spoke in separate interviews with NAN correspondent on Monday in Awka, said some heads of departments of agriculture had refused to issue acceptance letters to them.
They named Awka South, Awka North and Anaocha Local Government Areas of Anambra among the council areas that had refused to issue the acceptance letters to several prospective enrollees.
NAN gathered that the acceptance letter is a pre-condition which an enrollee must attach before he or she is finally enrolled into the Federal Government agricultural scheme, which is aimed at reducing poverty and unemployment.
A prospective enrollee told NAN, on condition of anonymity, that she selected Awka South Local Government Area for the N-Power agriculture programme, but had yet to obtain an acceptance letter from the council.
‘‘I went to Amawbia, the headquarters of Awka South Local Government, for my acceptance letter. The head of department of agriculture said that the council was not issuing such letters.
‘‘I tried to explain to the official that we must get the letter in order to be enrolled into the scheme and that the deadline for us to submit the acceptance letter is August 8, 2018,’’ she said.
Another prospective enrollee, who simply gave his name as Ugochukwu, said he had gone for his acceptance letter at Anaocha Local Government Area more than three times without getting the letter.
Ugochukwu claimed that the head, department of agriculture in Anaocha, told him that there was no logistics for the council to print such number of letters to persons seeking to enroll into the N-Power Agricultural Scheme.
Reacting, Mr. Chukwudi Orjiako, a Coordinator, Youths for Agriculture, Anambra, said it was an anathema for some council authorities to frustrate the efforts of youths in the state to enroll into the N-Power scheme.
‘‘Apart from the monthly stipend of N30,000 that the enrollees would be getting, the N-Power Agriculture programme will scale up food production in the state,’’ he said.
Orjiako appealed to Governor Willie Obiano to intervene in the matter, with a view to ensuring that every interested youth in the area successfully enrol into the programme.
The Transition Committee Chairman, Anaocha Local Government Area, Mr. Ikeobi Ejiofor, debunked the claim that the council was turning prospective N-Power enrollees away.
‘‘We issued about 40 acceptance letters to them on Wednesday last week and have issued up to another 30 letters this morning to make sure that they meet the August 8 deadline,’’ he said.
On his part, the Transition Committee Chairman of Awka South Local Government Area, Mr. Leo Nwuba, told NAN that his council initially issued acceptance letters to about 30 persons for the N-Power Agriculture Programme.
‘‘After issuing the acceptance letters to about 30 persons on Tuesday, July 31, another 100 other persons came demanding the same letters. I told them to wait for my office to properly clear with the N-Power Focal Person in the state.
‘‘When my HOD on agriculture contacted the N-Power focal person, I now directed that letters be issued to only genuine applicants and as well get their data for follow-up action.
‘‘We have to do that because we will make sure that all those who choose Awka South for the programme must work, because we have vast land for agriculture and we must monitor whatever they are doing,’’ he said.
Nwuba said that information available to his office showed that more than 400 persons selected his council for the N-Power agriculture programme.
Also commenting, the Focal Person of N-Power Agriculture Programme, Mrs. C. Uzoka, said she was not aware that prospective applicants were having challenges in getting their acceptance letters in the state.