The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe on Saturday cited unemployment as the fundamental issue to many of the social ills in the country saying that it is reason youths have embarked on cultism, kidnapping and robbery.
He said that if drastic measures were not put in place, the situation might derail further.Achebe made the statement at the graduation ceremony of 69 youths of Onitsha origin, who were trained in various vocations.
It was gathered that the training which sponsored by Ford Foundation was facilitated by the monarch under his Ime-Obi Entrepreneurship Development programme.
According to Achebe, the programme is aimed at making youths useful to themselves and society by becoming employers of labour.
He noted that one of the graduands is already employing seven graduates in his outfit adding that it is one way to build the economy and the country and further discourage youths from committing crime.
While insisting that insecurity in the country would be reduced if the youths have jobs, the monarch said, “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.
“We equally have drug addiction programme to prevent and rehabilitate our youths who are into drugs.”The Monarch explained that 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.
While commending Ford Foundation for supporting the community outreach and entrepreneurship in Onitsha, Achebe urged youths of Onitsha origin who were yet to register with the Onitsha Youth Council to do so for their development.
The monarch further hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for initiating the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (PYES), saying that the scheme would help create multiple layers of employments, especially for the unemployed.
Achebe called on youths to key into the programme for self-reliance and personal development.
In his remark, the lead facilitator of the programme, Prof. Alex Ikeme said the youths were trained on social, communication and marketing skills, team work and business sustainability, among other courses.
He revealed that plans were underway to help the trainees secure loans and also monitor how they progress in their various vocations.
In an interview with journalists, one of the trainees, Mr Michael Ibekwe, who runs a block industry, said the one month training gave him insight on how to check the financial loopholes in his business.