It was gathered that the Bayelsa State government has confirmed that a total number of 4,100 youths in the state have benefited from the State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) Project skills training programme between 2015 and 2016.
The State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah, who disclosed this while speaking at the opening ceremony of SEEFOR youth training programme on money management and entrepreneurship skills in Yenagoa, the state capital, attributed the success recorded to the existing partnership between the World Bank, European Union, Federal Government of Nigeria and the Bayelsa State Government who are the funders of the project.
Deputy Governor John Jonah, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary at the State Ministry of Science and Technology, Bomonyo Amachree, advised the beneficiaries not to misunderstand the project as the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) of the Federal Government for former militants in the Niger Delta region.
Amachree, who is also the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Training programme, explained that the PAP was designed for people who have not behaved well by working against the laws of the country. He also clarified that the SEEFOR programme is designed for those who are God-fearing, civil and ready to acquire skills.
While challenging beneficiaries of the training programme to exploit the opportunity to better their future, Jonah insisted that the beneficiaries are not like ex-militants who are being treated in an atmosphere of tension.
SEEFOR Communications Officer, Tarinyo Akono, explained that trainings had also being conducted at Ogbia town for beneficiaries in Ogbia, Brass and Nembe LGAs, and at Amassoma town for Southern Ijaw LGA beneficiaries, while the ones at Ekeremor town and Sagbama town were for beneficiaries in Ekeremor, Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma LGAs, respectively.
He noted that it is not easy to work and save resources considering the harsh economic realities, emphasizing that the impact of the training would be realized if the beneficiaries put what they have learnt to practice.
In his remarks, SEEFOR Project acting co-ordinator, Charles Enuma, said that the SEEFOR has Craft Development Centres in Sagbama, Polaku in Yenagoa LGA, and Nembe to ensure that youths acquire skills.
Enuma expressed satisfaction that the state government has so far not failed in youth empowerment in the state and enjoined beneficiaries of the training programme to take the acquisition of skills seriously.
A new batch of 3,000 beneficiaries have been engaged and are being trained to execute the current phase of the labour-intensive public works component of the SEEFOR Project.
The training is intended to enable beneficiaries use their compulsory savings of N5,000 per month out of N20,000 monthly stipend to start their business after their one year engagement.