Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki, Raphael Ede, Enugu
No fewer than 10,000 youths and women in Ebonyi State would benefit from the various empowerment schemes put together by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in the state. Already, the implementation of the empowerment packages has commenced.
Similarly, 10,000 youths and women are also benefitting from the programme in the neighbouring Enugu state.
Recently, many of the beneficiaries converged on the Unity Square located off Amagu Street, Abakaliki, for the official flag-off of the three-pronged empowerment programme.
The three catchment areas flagged-off were vocational skills training, disbursement of micro loan facilities, and issuance of basic business training certificate to National Directorate of Employment/Central Bank of Nigeria (NDE/CBN) collaboration graduates.
The event also featured the distribution of various tools and equipment to youths and women who had been trained on different skills.
The packages included the resettlement of graduates of Basic National Open Application Scheme. For this group, four sets of catering equipment, four sets of computers, four sets of welding and fabrication equipment, two sets of GSM repair tools, two sets of vulcanizing equipment, two sets of hats making tools, and two sets of beads stringing tools were distributed.
It was followed by the resettlement of graduates of solar energy training scheme. Its graduates were given 11 sets of solar energy installation equipment.
The third was the resettlement of graduates of environment beautification training scheme. This set was given two sets of soft landscaping equipment and two POP production and installation equipment.
Coordinator of NDE in the state, Mr Marcel Igboanude, who addressed the beneficiaries, revealed that the directorate has, since inception in 1988, trained over 200,000 youths in the state.
He told the unemployed youths and women in the state to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by NDE to acquire skills and become self-reliant.
Director-General of the NDE, Dr Nasir Argungu identified employment as a key component of individual and national development.
Represented by the Director, Rural Empowerment Promotion Department in the directorate, Dr Michael Mbata, the DG regretted that the global unemployment challenge has emerged in the recent years with a more grievous consequence on the society.
“More worrisome and of dire consequence is the rising youth unemployment. Employment generation has therefore become a factor of paramount importance to every nation’s development agenda. This has been necessitated by the alarming growth rate of unemployment,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries, Odo Blessing Ogodo from Ohaukwu council area of the state, thanked the management of the NDE for shortlisting her for the loan out of thousands of other applicants. She said that she would be given a loan of N2 million to start rice cultivation as contained in her proposal.
Ogodo who finished the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 2008/9 having graduated from Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki in 2006 from the Department of Public Administration, said she was unable to find a job until this package came her way.
For her, it would not take long before she begins to employ others as she hopes to make appreciable progress in her new venture.
In Enugu, beneficiaries from the 17 Local Government Areas of the state were presented with starter packs at the Michael Okpara Square on February 13, 2019; some of them described the gesture as a dream come true, promising to make good use of the equipment for their overall good in particular and the country in general.
The state Coordinator, Mr Sylvester Okpe, who stood in for the DG reiterated the administration’s commitment in motivating unemployed Nigerian women and youths through various programmes that can add value to their lives and engender economic growth of the country.
In recent times, the president has empowered hundreds of thousands of youths and women through articulated policies, programmes and sustained support to Federal Government agencies that have constitutional responsibility of empowering youths and creating jobs opportunities, the DG had explained.
According to him, under the programme, the NDE has offered vocational training for 1,500 women and youths in Enugu State, disbursed starter packs and N5,000 to each of the beneficiaries trained in cosmetology.
He said about 3,000 youths have also benefited from the NDE micro-enterprise enhancement scheme (MEES) of the Federal Government while another 5,000 had been issued certificate for the CBN/NDE collaboration for assessing loans.
Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the occasion, described the MEES of the NDE, as an indication that the president was sincerely laying solid foundation for the nation’s prosperity.
A beneficiary, Azijary Nnaemeka, who benefited from GSM start-up pack, said his joy knows no bounds.
“I will solidly make good use of the equipment to make sure I don’t drag their name in the mud. One promise I will make is that even if they are checking on me every day, every month, they will feel happy seeing their beneficiary doing well,” he assured.