Reps push for removal of age bias against job-seekers

Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara

WOSEP will close gender gap in employment, says ITF
Barring last minute changes, the House of Representatives will push for the stoppage of discrimination against job-seekers on the basis of age.

Yesterday, the legislation sponsored by Mr. Sergious Ogun (Ogun, PDP) at achieving the goal passed second reading during plenary presided by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

Garba Datti (Kaduna, APC), who spoke in support of the bill, however argued that there was nothing wrong pegging age limit for those willing to join military and paramilitary outfits that require able-bodied young men and women.

Abubakar Adamu (Niger, APC) stressed the need to lay emphasis on experience rather than placing age limit.

He argued that with the introduction of the contributory pension scheme, there was nothing wrong in handing out jobs to people of age 50 and above.

Babajimi Benson (Lagos, APC) questioned the rationale behind discriminating against job-seekers, even when the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) allows graduates up to 30 years of age to participate in the scheme.

However, the deputy speaker, Yusuf Lasun, insisted that the bill was inconsistent with the provision of the 1999 Constitution.

He argued that there was no need to dissipate energy on enacting the legislation when the constitution clearly outlawed any discriminatory practice against any Nigerian, including job-seekers.

Dogara referred the bill to relevant committees of the house after it was unanimously endorsed through voice votes by the lawmakers.

In a related development, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has said that it instituted Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP) to close the unemployment gap between the womenfolk and their male counterparts.

Director-general of the fund, Sir Joseph Ari, noted that women suffer more unemployment and underemployment.

In his address during the closing ceremony of WOSEP at the ITF premises in Lokoja, he reiterated: “If you educate a man, you educate an individual; but when you educate a woman, you educate a nation.”

According to the DG, who was represented by the deputy training manager, Centre for Excellence, John Ayoade, 30 women in Kogi would be presented with start-up kits, to ensure that the trainees start up on their own immediately.

He warned any beneficiary planning to sell the packs to perish the idea, as the materials cost the ITF millions of naira to procure.

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