Sunday Ndenta, an apprentice, has made known his dissatisfaction with the manner his master settled him after having served for over 14 years.
In a report by Vanguard on Wednesday, the apprentice spoke on the sideline of a youth forum, tagged, ‘Igba Boi Apprenticeship Scheme,’ in Awka, Anambra State.
The scheme has it as its agenda to push for the revitalisation of the apprenticeship system in the South-East.
The 35-year-old apprentice and indigene of Igbo-Ukwu in the Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State said his master who operated pharmaceutical stores at the Onitsha Head Bridge Market had given him a tricycle after his apprenticeship.
Describing the arrangement as “strange and awkward”, he noted that his master gave him the tricycle under a lease agreement.
Ndenta said, “My master took me from my parents for an apprenticeship at the age of 18 after I couldn’t continue my education. I first stayed with his mother in his home town at Umunze, looking after the sick woman until she passed on after four years of my stay there.
“My master then brought me to his shop at Onitsha where he sells pharmaceutical drugs, to continue my apprenticeship training and I served him for another 11 years without any blemish.
“But to my greatest surprise, the period I was to be settled, he called some of my family members and presented a tricycle to me as my settlement package.
“The real issue is that he went on to say that the keke would be operated under a hire purchase agreement; that I would be giving him daily returns and the keke would become my own after I completed the money he used in buying it.
“This will be the third phase of my apprenticeship with him after I had put in over 15 years, first serving his mother, then at the shop and now this one.
“I have been riding keke for over three months now and remitting returns to my boss. This kind of treatment is the reason today’s youths have stopped going into apprenticeship under anyone. Rather, they prefer to be riding keke or motorcycle.”
Speaking amid tears, Ndenta did not disclose the exact returns he makes to his boss daily and how much he had remitted so far and when he would balance the payment.
The spokesperson for the Market, who was simply identified as Tochukwu, told journalists that the market leadership was “investigating and treating” many complaints relating to such ill-treatment.
“Some months ago, youths protested at the Electrical Market in Oba over a similar issue. This is becoming too rampant; something has to be done. Apprentices and masters will have to be signing documented agreements to avoid this kind of situation,” he added.
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