The Federal Government has started the process of fulfilling its promise to pay N5,000 monthly allowance to 25 million unemployed youths in the country with 2016 as the take-off date, The PUNCH investigation has revealed.

The All Progressives Congress, which defeated the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the March 28 presidential election, had promised during its campaign that if elected to the central government, it would pay N5,000 monthly to 25 million jobless youths as well as introduce a free school feeding programme.

A motion to compel the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to fulfil the campaign promise of paying the unemployed youths was recently rejected in the Senate. PUNCH correspondents learnt on Monday that the Federal Government had, however, commenced plans to start the payment of the allowance while it had also taken steps to capture the free school feeding programme in the 2016 budget.

It was further learnt that the government had saddled some officials with the task of ascertaining the number of the unemployed youths, who would benefit from the scheme.

A top government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Monday, told one of the PUNCH correspondents that the compilation of data was necessary in order to ensure that the programme was not sabotaged.

The source said, “You know that if the scheme is left open-ended, even Nigerians, who are employed and are by no means vulnerable, will still struggle to benefit from it.

“You also know that if not properly handled, politicians will hijack the scheme and it will become a means of settling their constituents, whether they qualify to benefit from it or not. This is why the government will come up with data on the beneficiaries very soon.”

The source added that the fund meant for the scheme would be built into the 2016 budget.

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