Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Sixty-two persons recently completed the skill acquisition and information/communication technology (ICT) training organised by Onitsha North Local Government Area of Anambra State. The team was the fifth batch of the programme. The event held at the palace of the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe.
The new graduates were equipped with skills in tailoring, bead making and crafting of necklaces, bracelets, ringlets and traditional caps (Okpu Ozo) as well as computer programs, among others.
Chairman of the local government area, Mr. Patrick Agha Mba, pledged that the council would make available N3.2 million to graduates of the scheme.
Agha Mba thanked the Obi of Onitsha for accommodating the centre in his palace since 2017, noting that many hitherto idle youths had acquired skills for self-employment and creation of jobs through the programme. He thanked the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, for his support for the programme.
“The idea is to curb the unemployment being faced by youths. The youth are 65 per cent of the population. The essence of this is to bring to an end poverty and reduce youth restiveness and make youths self-reliant. To end the spate of unemployment, you have to bring up entrepreneurship programmes.
“I wish to appeal to government, corporate bodies and individuals to support this scheme and partner with us in ensuring that the youths become self-reliant on graduation. We are continuing with this scheme for every graduating batch and hope to sustain it. We have attracted the smart jobs programme of the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy to the council,” Agha Mba said.
He commended Igwe Achebe for providing building blocks for the skill training, computer programmes and library. He said the Igwe is youth friendly and has empowered many youths of Onitsha through such programmes.
Igwe Achebe lauded the efforts of the council chairman to combat crime, unemployment and poverty through his programmes. He called on youths to utilise the opportunity to be self-employed and computer literate, which he said was inevitable in the present age.
Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Greg Obi, was represented by the Special Adviser to Governor Obiano on Project Mobilisation, Mr. Jeffery Uchenna Ubah. He commended the council chairman and the Obi of Onitsha for the skill programmes. He urged other councils to emulate the laudable programmes of Onitsha North and promised that his ministry would continue to partner with the council in attracting more programmes for the youths.
Commissioner for Youths Empowerment and Creative Economy, Mr. Afam Mbanefo, was also represented by Senior Special Adviser to Governor Obiano on Youth Mobilisation, Mr. Jonas Iwuchukwu. He appreciated the efforts of the chairman on youth empowerment, saying that most youth today have degree certificates but lacked the skills to be self-reliant.
He stated that the ministry would soon be organising a programme called Youth Entrepreneurship Skills, where over 300 youths would be given N3 million and above.
He urged the youth to key into the programme so as to be employers of labour. He also tasked the graduating students to be focused and put more efforts to practise what they were taught so as to train others.
Commissioner for Women Affairs, Adaora Okoye, who was also represented, commended the initiative of Agha Mba. She said the adage that “it is better to teach a child to fish than to give him fish,” has manifested in Onitsha through the skill accusation programmes.
She urged the graduands to put their experience and talents to use in order to create more jobs and to be good ambassadors of the council, Anambra State and Nigeria.
Some of the graduands, Onochie Ozoma, Sunday Ogoazi, Ogogua Osameka, Precious Okafor and Thelma Abua thanked the council boss for the training aimed at making them self employed and self-reliant.
They said the programmes had made the youths of Onitsha to remain focused and shun crime and other social vices. They urged other council chairmen and corporate bodies, wealthy and good spirited individuals to emulate the gesture in order to move the youths out of the streets. They pledged to impart the knowledge to other people in order to reduce the spate of unemployment in the city.