Internship Exchange Programe: How Gambian Contractor Allegedly Short-changed Nigeria Participants
A mail sent to Abusidiqu as reproduced below has requested the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DCTA), to investigate a Gambian contractor allegedly short-changed Nigerian participants at the Internship Exchange Programme among three West African countries of Nigeria, Ghana and The Gambia.
Although, the sender of the mail, Umar Bakari, did not disclose if he is one of the participants at the programmes, he alleged that the contractor failed to provide monthly stipend allowance, accommodation and toolkit to the participants as contained in the terms of the programme.
The mail is reproduced below:
Directorate for Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) contracted ACE Communications Executive a Gambian company to conduct an internship exchange program among three West Africa countries, Nigeria, Ghana and The Gambia. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were budgeted and paid to the contractor for the project, with aim that the project will reduce illegal migration of young Africans to Europe and other parts of the world.
Some Nigerian youths were recruited and travelled to Ghana and Gambia to learn carpentry and tailoring respectively. The contractor ACE Communications Executive stated in the offer letter given to them that it will provide accommodation, monthly stipend allowance for six months and toolkit set at the end of the program for each participant to start his own business.
The project was excellently conceptualized to create job and encourage integration among participating countries. Had it been the contractor executed it the way it was conceived on paper and paid the participants what they were supposed to get as monthly stipend allowance and provided them with required toolkits at the end of the program it would have been a groundbreaking initiative to address illegal migration of African youths to Europe, address unemployment and encourage Entrepreneurship.
But regrettably, the youth were robbed by the contractor just one month in the program, their monthly stipend allowance was cut by almost fifty percent, they were inhumanly treated in Gambia and Ghana were at some point of time six people were to share a room like prisoners but with all that most of them managed to stay put to the end of the program hoping that at the end they will get something reasonable to start their own business.
With all sorts of maltreatment they were subjected to like victims of human trafficking some of them were given N25,000 while others were given $100 after six months labor in foreign countries upon their arrival to Nigeria.
Please we would like Abusidiqu to help us get DTCA to investigate the matter and make sure the contractor pay the participants what is due for them, in terms of monthly stipend allowance, accommodation and toolkit. These youths are mostly semi-illiterate and vulnerable, the contractor take advantage of that to give them offer with unspecified remuneration. Your timely intervention will help to avoid re-occurrence of this fraud, robbing government in the form of creating job and integration in Africa coupled with human right abuses and trafficking in persons.
Besides, we would also like you to get ‘National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)’ to also investigate the matter because what the contractor did is similar to what human traffickers do, to promise vulnerable people good life but subject them to hardship and make money out of it.