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A total of 154 youths from the Niger Delta completed a two-week training and empowerment in poultry and fishing at the First Technical University (Tech U), Ibadan at the weekend.
The intensive training which was aimed to make them self-reliant was organised and sponsored by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs with Tech U providing the training in partnership with Dosmark/CJ Oil Limited.
At the closing ceremony of the training at the weekend, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Usani Uguru Usani, emphasised the need for the beneficiaries to leverage on the knowledge and skills acquired to start their farms and create wealth for themselves.
Usani, who was represented by the Director, Economic Empowerment Unit of the ministry, Mr. Ibrahim Akanya, urged them to value the new knowledge and skills more than any other resources because they stay with them forever.
The minister pointed out that one of the best programmes ever introduced by the ministry was the empowerment of Niger Delta people, stressing that building of bridges, roads and other infrastructure would mean nothing if the people are unable to eke out decent living through utilisation of their skills and competencies.
He added that they were also given little capital to enable them to begin their businesses at a little level in order not to waste the knowledge acquired in the training. He also advised them to develop themselves further to the level that they can become consultants for the ministry like some of their predecessors.
“Money can finish but no one can take this knowledge away from you. With the stipend start-up capital, you can start something from your backyard,” he said.
The minister also stated that the training exposed them to the entire value chain business aspects of poultry and fisheries which opened a world of new opportunities for them to explore. He added that they could apply for support loan from the Bank of Agriculture to further expand their business operations.
Addressing the beneficiaries, the Vice-Chancellor of Tech University, Prof. Ayobami Salami, revealed that the training was facilitated by the Centre for Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TVET).
Salami further explained that the Youth Empowerment Programme was the institution’s flagship intervention aimed at tackling unemployment in the country. He said the programme helps in bridging skill gaps and also helps in generating self-employment among youths.
His words: “For us at Nigeria’s premier and only Technical University, First Technical University, the Youth Empowerment Programme is one of our flagship interventions aimed at fighting frontally the rising scourge of unemployment in our country. As implemented by the University’s Centre for Technical, Vocational Entrepreneurship Training (TVET), it is devoted to equipping individuals with skills and entrepreneurship training in carefully-selected areas of needs in the larger society. Aside commitment to bridging the yawning skills gap, the programme is focused on generating self-employment among the teeming youths of the country.
“Tech-U holds the conviction that a truly productive country must necessarily be pivoted on sustained and strategic investment in human capital development. Therefore, this programme, in addition to the other unique offerings anchored on the innovative model of education we are known for, as a socially responsive corporate entity, reflects our avowed commitment to making Nigeria work by getting her young people empowered for wealth creation.”
Salami revealed that about 350 youths have been trained through the programme in diverse skills out of the 1,000 target at the end of the year.
“We are on a mission to spearheading a silent revolution that would ultimately disrupt Nigeria’s economy for good. We, therefore, call on other well-meaning citizens and agencies to work with us as we seek to create a brighter future for our nation,” he said.
He conferred on the beneficiaries the status of TVET alumni of Tech U but noted that the status places a huge responsibility on them to live worthy of the reputation of the university.
Salami also urged them to work hard to create wealth and become employers of labour within the shortest possible time.
The Chief Executive Officer of Dosmark and CJ Oil, Mr. Segun Osobajo commended the beneficiaries for their exemplary performance in the course of the training. He noted that the idea was to raise movers and shakers of the Nigerian economy through the empowerment programme. He pledged his continuous supports to the participants as they build thriving business along the poultry and fisheries value chains.
Representatives of the participants, Amadi Adiele and Excel Evelyn, expressed gratitude to the government, the Tech U and other stakeholders for the opportunity to gain skills that will make them useful participants in the Nigerian economy.
Source; The Nation Newspaper