BY BLAISE UDUNZE
The Federal Government’s Sure-P Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) has announced the termination of its partnership with Forcecom Network Limited (FNL).
Head of Operation, Sure-P GIS, Mr. Akubo Adegbe, who made the announcement on Thursday at a press conference held in Lagos, noted that the partnership was terminated due to failure of the Managing Director of FNL, Mr. Paul Okafor, to honor the laid down guidelines between both parties.
He noted that during the PIU/intern confidence building session, some salient issues were discovered, stressing that some interns were deployed to man the office of FNL in Lagos, which was not in line with the guideline for the scheme that demands that interns must be mentored by experienced staff of the partnering companies.
Adegbe also noted that no deployed intern has received training on mobile money business as agreed with FNL months after deployment, adding that some interns expressed surprise that they were paid allowances for some months even though they had not worked.
Meanwhile, it could be recalled that Okafor had been making statement in some media houses to the effect that the GIS had not paid graduates for up to eight months and had diverted about N3 billion meant for the payment of their monthly stipend. Adegbe noted that GIS has about 22,000 interns currently attached to various organisations, stressing that the payment to interns is based on submission of monthly time sheets by partner firms and interns are being regularly motivated.
He noted that Okafor does not work for GIS, SURE-P or the Federal Ministry of Finance and therefore was not competent to speak on the workings of the scheme.
He, however, noted that as a result of this, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has hitherto directed the immediate termination of the partnership with FNL and had further directed that the firm be investigated by security agency.
He said that investigations revealed that there was non-deployment of interns to work on mobile money business months after they were deployed to the company.
Meanwhile, he (Paul Okafor) was sending time sheets showing that interns had worked and requesting for payment of their monthly stipends while it was clear that the interns have not worked at all. Adegbe added that the guidelines guiding the GIS only allowed payment for the number of days worked every month, while interns were paid for some months as a result of the deliberate falsehood of the company and its managing director.
The Federal Government agency also highlighted that he coerced the interns to pay out N7,500 of their monthly stipend for training with Lagos Business School.
Speaking with one of the interns, Forecom removed graduates that would not sign up to the payments and verbally threatened some for not signing up and standing up to the managing director.
Source : SunOnline