From: Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As part of his Community Development Services (CDS) to the people of his host community, in Kaduna State, a member of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Rotarian Ujueze A Somtoo, has empowered 35 youths in skills acquisition training to make them self-reliant.
The beneficiaries comprised of 11 Almajiri and one adult as well as 16 youths trained in agricultural best practices and seven prisoners, all within Kaduna.
Somtoo, a Law graduate from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who hails from Azia in Anambra State, was deployed to Kaduna State and subsequently posted to a law firm known as Abdulahi Ibrahim & Co., Kaduna North Local Government Area of the state after his 21-day orientation course for his one year mandatory service to motherland.
Fielding questions from newsmen, in Kaduna, on Saturday, shortly after the final phase of the empowerment project, Somtoo said, his passion to help the needy pushed him to do what he could for the beneficiaries because he believed that little things count.
According to him, “As a corps member and in partial fulfilment of my NYSC programme, I engaged in three CDS including Almajiri empowerment project where I empowered 11 boys and 1 other adult in various skills acquisition and also responsible for their feeding within the training period.
“Secondly, I trained about 16 youths on agricultural best practices in such a way that they could see agriculture beyond subsistence level and explore several opportunities available to them to make them job creators in agric value chain.
“I also had the opportunity to empower seven prisoners in skill acquisition and secured the release of one of them who was convicted with an option of fine. In addition to that, I equally made an arrangement for these prisoners on how to apply the skills acquired to produce some things needed in the prison.
“This I believe will help them to become better citizens and prepare them for the outside world after serving their prison terms especially for those that were not convicted for capital offence”, he said.
On what motivated him to empower these people he said, “my objective in empowering all these people who are not related to me in any way is that, I have developed passion for Nigerian youths and children irrespective of religion, sex and ethnicity.
“Seeing a youth without any means of income is a concern to me. Also, seeing children begging in major and back streets touches me greatly when they can actually do something better to improve their standard of living and those around them.
“This is why with few sponsors I had, we were able to add value to some people’s life. So, that means when we come together to help these groups of people, crimes will reduce, economy will improve and Nigeria will be a better place for us all”, he commended.
With this encouragement from this youth corps, one can say that one of the objectives of the scheme which is national integration was well formulated and still much relevance today hence the need for host communities to learn to treat Corps members posted to them as one of their own and change ambassadors no matter their tribe, ethnicity or religion because that alone will spur them to do more for the overall development of the country.