. ‘Situation might deteriorate to an alarming stage’
BEATRICE ONUCHUKWU, Awka
The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe said that the present unemployment crisis bedeviling our youths contribute to the security challenges facing the country and warned that if drastic measures were not taken, the situation might deteriorate to an alarming stage.
The Monarch said this in Onitsha on Wednesday at the graduation ceremony of 69 youths of Onitsha origin, who were trained in various vocations facilitated by the monarch, under his Ime-Obi Entrepreneurship Development programme for Onitsha youths and sponsored by Ford Foundation., described unemployment as fundamental to many of the social ills in the country which made youths to join cultism, kidnapping and robbery.
He further said the programme was therefore aimed at making youths acquire skills and become useful to themselves and the society by becoming employers of labour, rather than waiting to become employees.
Achebe said, “One of those graduating today is already employing seven graduates in his outfit. It is one way to build the economy and the country and to discourage youths from committing crime”.
He also disclosed that the first set of 70 youths, who were trained and assisted with loans worth N500,000 each, totaling N35 million have repaid back over N33 million, even as he commended Ford Foundation for supporting the community outreach and entrepreneurship in Onitsha.
According to him, “the financial support was also used to organise long vacation programme for secondary school students as well as special remedial programme for Onitsha indigenes seeking admission into universities. “We equally have drug addiction programme to prevent and rehabilitate our youths who are into drugs”.
He therefore urged youths of Onitsha origin who were yet to register with the Onitsha Youth Council to do so in their interest and for their development.
The monarch commended President Muhammadu Buhari for initiating the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme, PYES, noting that the scheme would help create multiple layers of employments, especially for the unemployed.
Achebe urged youths to key into the lofty programme for self-reliance and personal development.He also presented the certificates to the trainees by himself.
In a remark, the Transition Chairman of Onitsha North Local Government Area, Mr Patrick Aghamba, commended Ford Foundation and the Obi of Onitsha for being sensitive to the development and education of youths in Onitsha.
The Chairman promised that the local government council will continue to key into the progranmmes of the monarch, especially in providing synergy for youth development.
Also speaking, the lead facilitator of the programme, Prof. Alex Ikeme explained that the youths were trained on social, communication and marketing skills, team work and business sustainability, among other courses.
Ikeme said plans were on to assist the trainees secure loans and to monitor how they progress in their various vocations.
Also speaking, one of the trainees, Mr Michael Ibekwe, who runs a block industry, said the one month training which commenced in November 2018, had changed how he manages finance.
“I learnt a lot especially how to check the financial loopholes in my business,” he said, while expressing hope for loan to expand the business.