HURIWA faults N6.2b fee for retooling of Bauchi phone repairers
Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described as “unbelievable and largely doubtful claims” that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development spent over N6.2 billion to train and equip 16,820 Bauchi youths in the art of smartphone repairs to enable them become financially self-reliant.
Saying the cost “is generally perceived by most Nigerians as mindless corruption that should and must be investigated in a statement, issued yesterday, by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group maintained 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.”
HURIWA said it would dispatch a team to the North East state to ascertain the number of phone repairers available in the entire state, just as it states that from “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.”
Onwubiko flayed the ministry for allegedly deviating 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.”
According to the minister, Sadiya Farouq, who spoke at the flag-off of the N-Skills (Smart Phone Repairs) Programme in Bauchi on Wednesday, the project is used to pilot the scheme, which is part of the N-Power non-graduate programme.
She said the exercise is consistent with President Buhari’s aspiration of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.