According to reports, the Minister for State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Daramola, has restated the ministry’s commitment to empower youths in the Niger Delta region by training them on various vocational skills.
Daramola told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday that the training was a continuous exercise designed to create employment for non-militant youths.
According to him, the ministry is currently undertaking an agreement with a team of interventionists that will train the youths of the region on various vacations.
The minister stated that this would be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Youths and Sports.
Daramola said: “The package has a consortium of four to six countries.
“The opportunities to work will be provided in Nigeria and outside Nigeria.”
According to Daramola, a communication company is requesting for the right of way for the laying of Broad Brand optic fibre cable in the region.
He said: “We are discussing with the state governments in the nine oil producing states.
“Different parcels of land have been acquired in the various states, ranging from 250 hectares in each state for the establishment of industrial cum investment hubs as integrated new towns.
“We are also discussing with state governments on the setting up of all purpose vehicles.”
Daramola also said that the ministry was currently discussing with the government of Imo State on how to use its Skills Acquisition Centre, which was still under construction for a technical vocational institution.
He said the state government had promised that the centre would be completed after the terms of collaboration had been defined.
On the number of youths trained, the Minister noted that about 64 youths had been trained on agriculture, with the second batch still on course in the in collaboration with Scotchville Industrial Consultium, Poly Consult in the Polytechnic of Ibadan, Oyo State.
He stated that youth empowerment was a cardinal objective of the post-amnesty programme of the Federal Government.
According to him, the skills acquired by the youths will be utilised for the benefit of the region and the country at large.
He said: “It is our intention that we continue to midwife this skills acquisition programme to a logical conclusion.
“However, we shall ensure that youths in the region are provided with the opportunity to harness their skills for the benefit of the region and the nation’s empowerment.”
Daramola said training would be conducted for the beneficiaries at credible agricultural and research institutions in Nigeria like Afe Babalola University in Ekiti State.
He, however, frowned at the trend of training youths outside Nigeria as a waste of time and resources, adding: “Money used to train 200 youths in Nigeria will be spent for just 50 youths if they are to be trained outside.”
NAN recalls that since the inception of the ministry, it has trained more than 5,000 non-militant youths of the region in various skills.
The youths were trained in oil and gas, agriculture, seafaring, maritime engineering and Information and Communications Technology, including iPad and telephone assemblage.
Daramola said: “The centre in Akwa Ibom and Delta States will concentrate on oil and gas, ICT and maritime studies.
“The centres in Abia and Imo will train youths in commerce; the one in Cross River is on entertainment and tourism, while the Ondo skills acquisition centre will focus on agriculture.”
The minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, stated that the ministry was working towards bringing all the centres on stream.