The All Progressives Congress, APC, has criticised the plan by the Wike administration to limit available employment opportunities  in Government establishments to persons within the age bracket of 25 to 35 years, saying such a step is intended to promote discrimination.

Spokesman for the APC,  Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke said in reaction to a government plan to recruit 5000 workers that the template contemplated by the State Government is unfair and unjust.

“We have taken time to analyze the pronouncement of the Rivers State Government pertaining to the employment of 5000 Rivers youths.
“It is now clear from the position of  the Government that persons who are likely to fill those job vacancies are those within the age bracket of 25 and 35 years”, the APC statement noted.

“The APC has been agitating for job creation opportunities especially for able bodied youths for a long time. While the APC welcomes the eventual decision by Governor Nyesom Wike to respect its persistent demands for the evolution of a system that has a human face, we completely  condemn the  template that is about to be used in employing Rivers people by the State Government.

“This is because the Government’s  plan will openly promote discrimination against certain segments of the youth population.

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“Youths are youths and they must be treated equally. The bench mark officially recognized by the Nigerian  Constitution in terms of adulthood is 18 years. The implication is that as an 18-year old, a Nigerian is entitled to all rights, including the right to work.

“The Wike plan obviously excludes young graduates who fall within the age bracket of 18 to 24 years as well as those who fall within the age range of 36 and 40 years.

“We believe that the decision to exclude other youthful persons who fall outside the age brackets that Government has chosen is totally unacceptable and should be condemned by the Rivers people.

“It smacks of Government’s lack of understanding of the anxiety that  parents are facing, following  the continued stay of their children and wards at home.

“What should matter is their qualification and competence to deliver on the job. Is it the fault of those who are above 35 years that they have found no work to do long after graduation? Why should they become victims of a forced-stay-at-home order inspired by a Government ban on employment?

“It is our view that Government should have taken cognisance of the aspiration of all graduates, who for no fault of their own,  have remained at home after going through secondary and tertiary education.”

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The APC noted that the decision of the government was hasty, faulty and discriminatory.

“For years, many parents have prayed for an opportunity like this. Now, youths who have earned first degrees and other qualifications, and who are not within the age range prescribed by Government are to be wilfully excluded from aspiring to work in Government establishments.

“We urge parents to rise up against this attempt by Government to encourage segregation, particularly among youthful elements who are entitled to every opportunity  that their State can offer.

“Government should not act as if it is doing Rivers people  a favour. It is a duty that it is bound by law to fulfill. In doing so, it has no right to discriminate.”