President Muhammadu Buhari is set to launch the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme, NJFP, a joint Federal Government-United Nations 12-month graduate job fellowship programme that will capture 20, 000 beneficiaries annually. This was announced by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN on Tuesday, June 2, at the State House, Abuja.
Laolu Akande, senior special assistant to the President on media and publicity, Office of the Vice President, reported Osinbajo as saying that the programme, which is in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, European Union, Dangote, Visa, BUA, Lafarge, Microsoft and others, would rebuild confidence in the youths and make a difference.
“We are looking forward to the President formally launching the programme very shortly,” said Osinbajo. “As we prepare for the formal launch of the programme by Mr. President, I urge private sector leaders and captains of industry, development partners, and the diplomatic community, to support this program aimed at equipping young Nigerians with skills and experience required for the work place,” he further stated.
Under the initiative, internship opportunities will be created for young Nigerians who have recently concluded the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC programme. The fully-paid internships will last for 12 months and will be in reputable private and public sector organizations across the country.
“The NJFP is in very good company, a new and bold addition to an existing suite of large-scale, big-impact programmes that will rewrite the narrative as it relates to jobs, skills and employment in Nigeria. We are resolute in our determination to make the needed difference, and rebuild the confidence of our young people in the ability of their government to rise to the occasion and guarantee a future that is better and more prosperous than the past.”
He noted, “Our ongoing efforts include the N-Power Scheme, which recruits young graduates and places them in agricultural, health and education intervention schemes in local communities around the country. N-Power also has a non-graduate scheme focused on technical skills and IT education. The President has approved the expansion of the N-Power programme from 500,000 beneficiaries to one million. We have also established a N75 billion Youth Fund in the Ministry of Youth and Sports to provide credit and support for young entrepreneurs and professionals.”
In addition, there is also the $500 million African Development Bank Technology and Innovation Fund, which the AFDB’s acting Senior Director, Lamin Barrow, also mentioned at the event.
“Also under our Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), designed to protect existing jobs, create new ones, and promote local production, our agricultural, housing and solar power programmes already employ, and will employ tens of thousands of people to ensure food security, and deliver affordable homes and new power connections.”
Edward Kallon, resident Coordinator of the United Nations Systems in Nigeria, pledging the support of the United Nations for the programme, said the launch and eventual implementation of the scheme would redefine the future of Nigeria.
“Having a population of 41 million young people constituting 30 percent of the youth population in Africa, empowering young Nigerians will be key in the actualization of a better future for Africa. The Jubilee Fellows Programme will champion homegrown Nigerian talent and opportunities. It will connect inspiring young Nigerians with local opportunities that will apply their expertise, while equipping them with world-class practical knowledge,” he said.
“The Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme will bridge the gap between graduates and industry. Through this programme, private sector entities, startups and key public sector institutions will be connected directly to graduates to find the best young talent that Nigeria has to offer. Graduates will be able to better understand the needs, challenges and realities that industries broadly face, and learn how best to contribute to address them,” he further explained.
He commended the leadership provided by Osinbajo: “What you are supporting today will lead to a bright future for Nigeria, and will outlive your administration. If there is a viable investment development partners will make in Nigeria, this is the one that is dearest to them and in which they will surely support.”
Ketil Karlsen, representative of the EU at the event, pledged the support of the organization for the programme, affirming the EU’s confidence in the Nigerian youth.
Private sector partners of the programme include: BUA, Dangote, VISA Nigeria, Outsource Global, GE Gas and Power, Lafarge Africa, SecureID, Microsoft, among others.