The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, on Thursday, asked Nigerian youths to embrace the various skill acquisition programmes of the government in order to reduce restiveness and unemployment among them.
The development, the ministry noted, remained the only way designed by the Federal Government to pull 100 million Nigerians, mostly youths, out of poverty in the country.
The Minister, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, spoke at the graduation of trainees drawn from the restive North-East zone of the country at the PAN Learning Centre, Kaduna on Thursday.
She also insisted that the government alone could not provide the teeming Nigerian youths with the needed white-collar jobs.
No fewer than 150 youths were drawn from the six states in the North-East – Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi – who had over the years been ravaged by the deadly activities of the Boko Haram insurgents, for the programme
However, out of the 150 youths signed for the programme, 76 graduated. The youths were trained in automobile repairs and were sponsored by the North-East Development Commission.
They had three months of rigorous training in various fields such as welding and fabrication, spraying and painting, vehicle maintenance, air conditioner maintenance as well tyre and wheel balance.
Represented by her Technical Adviser in North-East, Grp. Capt Sadeeq Shehu(retd.), the minister expressed delight over the graduation and commended the North-East Development Commission for the initiative to train the youths in the automobile sector.
She also urged the youths to make good use of the skills acquired during the training in order to impact positively on other unemployed youths in the zone.
Shehu said, “First, she extends her congratulations to the graduands who have successfully followed the course of training which intended to upscale them to a good start in life. On behalf of the Minister, I will enjoin you to please put this skill into use.
“There is no gainsaying that Nigeria is a country blessed with a large population, majority who are youths. The reality is that government cannot give every youth work. So, the best the government can do and an agency like North-East Development Commission is to make sure you are put in a position.
“While some will get government jobs, majority will have to go into private enterprise to ensure that they don’t only employ themselves but become generators of employment. That’s the reality of the situation.
“So, on that note, I must extend the appreciation of the honourable minister to NEDC for this laudable venture which thrives on the Federal Government plan to lift 100 million people out of poverty.”
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of the NEDC, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali had said the commission was considering building a mechanic village for the zone in order to take the restive youths in the area from the streets and make them invaluable to the society.
Giving the rationale behind the training, the NEDC boss said, the idea of the training was to reduce the large numbers of unemployed youths in the area following the 12 years destruction of the area by the Boko Haram insurgents
He said, “The North-East is ravaged by insurgency. The Commission as you know is established to assist people back to normal life.
“One of the things we normally do is to see how we can empower displaced persons. Youths as you know form a large proposition of our population, especially in the North-East.
“The zone for the past 12 years had gone through a lot of destructions, schools have been distracted, the whole place destroyed. The number of the unemployed, especially the youths are increasing and the formal jobs either from the public or private sector are becoming minimal.
“So, people should be made to be self-employed. This is why we have chosen advocation and other careers young men can do. And we thought partnering with the PAN Learning Centre in training people in various aspects of technical motor repairs can help them make a living.”