The Vice Chairman, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, Gideon ToChukwu, has been accused of hijacking 1,000 job slots of the Federal Government’s extended Special Public Works meant for the Igbo-Eze South Local Government in the state.

The slots are part of the 774,000 public works jobs initiated by the Federal Government and designed to mitigate lack of job opportunities in the rural areas through short-term engagement of 1000 persons per local government.

SaharaReporters learnt that shortly after the take-off of the pilot scheme of the programme in April 2020, over 200 candidates that enrolled for the exercise in the Igbo-Eze South LGA were not people or residents of the communities.

The programme was said to be fraught with fraud and irregularities with the names of shortlisted candidates who underwent biometric capturing infiltrated and manipulated with strange names from another local government.

Igbo-Eze South, who has 16 political wards, got the 1,000 job slots but Tochukwu, who is also cousin to Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was said to have compromised the process as he cornered about 500 slots to his family members, friends and political associates at the expense of people of Igbo-Eze South.

SaharaReporters gathered that ToChukwu was an emperor in the area who had been using his relationship with the governor to oppress and intimidate people in the two local government areas.

The Chairman of Igbo-Eze South, Peter Andy Omeje, was also said to have connived with ToChukwu to replace the names of bonafide candidates from the local government with their loyalists from another local government.

Some of the beneficiaries confirmed to SaharaReporters that they hailed from Udenu and they secured the forms through ToChukwu.

Some of the candidates who completed and submitted their forms were shocked to see their names replaced with strange names.

The Chairman of Igbo-Eze South Selection Committee, Ubah Onah, also confirmed the infiltration of strange names into the list stating that he was surprised to see beneficiaries who hailed from Imilike, Orhum, Orba, Obolllo-Afor all from Udenu LGA.

Some of the aggrieved candidates lamented the injustice and described it as daylight robbery and insult on their sensibility for the leadership of Udenu LGA to encroach into the Igbo-Eze South with impersonators.

A source, who spoke to SaharaReporters, hinted that they would do everything within their power to compel ToChukwu to refund money to the candidates who were shortchanged.

He said, “I had a meeting with ToChukwu and he reiterated that my local government chairman has no capacity to even obtain one slot from that 1000 slots allotted to our local government Igbo-Eze South. He stated that he collected some slots from Abuja and even from the Minister of Labour and Employment and that it was from there he gave to our chairman.

“So now that the Chairman of Igbo-Eze has traded the resources of the common man to another local government as they arranged with the Vice Chairman of Udenu LGA to steal our jobs, they have to refund us.

“If they can trade and infiltrate the list in such manner then what is going to be happening to the treasury of IGBO-EZE SOUTH LGA local government Area of Enugu State?”

Effort by SaharaReporters to reach ToChukwu for reaction was unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report as his mobile phone could not reached.

Recall that Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, had threatened to resign from office if the recruitment of 774,000 people was hijacked by politicians.

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