Taking Rivers youth out of criminalities





Opportunities for skills acquisition came for over 4,250 youths of Rivers state as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Bank of Industry and the Rivers State Microfinance Agency indicate their support. GODWIN EGBA writes.
There is a saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop; however, some youths of Rivers state in their thousands are saying that they would not be tools in the hands of the devil anymore, no matter what.
Since the dawn of economic downturn in Nigeria, uncountable youths have been contending with unemployment issues which has forced many to take to brazen criminalities such as cultism, kidnapping and robbery. As the saying goes, the devil is not relenting in drawing more into the act daily. In view of this, parents, governments, non-governmental organisations, religious bodies and corporate organisations have realised that the devil has drawn a battle line between the future of their youths and himself.


Job opportunities

Consequently, both the federal and state governments and other corporate bodies are creating life-saving economic programmes (jobs)  through series of sustainable skills acquisition for their jobless youths irrespective of their educational levels.
To that extent, Rivers state government and political office holders are blazing the trail in job creation for repentant youths who have committed high level of crimes in times past.
The office of the state deputy governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, had demonstrated the keenness of the Nyesom Wike-led government in providing skills acquisition for Rivers youth from 2015 up to the present time.From January 2020 to date, a total of 4,000 youths were drawn from Akuku-Toru, Asari-Toru and Degema local government areas of the state to be trained in different skills covering a five week intensive training. Also, no fewer than 250 constituency of obio/Akpor federal constituency have benefited from skills and training programme organised by a House of Representatives member, Hon Kingsley Chinda.


The deputy governor’s collaboration

Speaking during the closing formalities at Degema stadium recently, the deputy governor, who expressed delight, disclosed that this was just the beginning of many more empowerment programmes to come to the areas and many other local government areas across the state.
Addressing the beneficiaries, she said, “I am very pleased with you; before now it used to be said that you don’t want to work. Now, you have shown the world and the world is watching that the narrative is not true,” Banigo stressed.
According to Banigo, the state governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has a passion to give Rivers people the best at every given opportunity, noting that he was desirous to see that the youth were empowered to take over the mantle of leadership at the right time for them to continue from where he and others would stop.
“I know that in the various areas, he has done infrastructural development like roads construction, bridges, jetties, land reclamation, shore protection and the harmonisation of taxes. These are all measures to provide an enabling environment; therefore, I know with that, the world is seeing today that there would be a drive for more investors to come into Rivers state,” Banigo further stressed.
She expressed gratitude to Rev Stephen Akinola and the chairmen of the three local government areas for collaborating with her to put together the programme and for ensuring that it was supported with very good spiritual backing.
“We have heard that you had over a thousand souls that were converted to Christ. I want to tell you that the greatest thing in life is to receive salvation and I thank God that the skills acquisition programme has been wrapped around the spiritual growth of our people. I want to specially thank Rev Akinola for decreeing the participants, the land and the people so that this seed that has been sown will surely germinate,” she said.


The deputy governor, who informed the beneficiaries that the skills they have acquired would give them a source of livelihood, also disclosed that the CBN, Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Rivers State Microfinance Agency (RIMA) have indicated interest to support them.
In his remarks, chairman of the occasion, Dr Emi Membere-Otaji, said there is unemployment in the land and a lot of poverty in the country, noting that, “We have to change and become entrepreneurs to survive,” he admonished.Membere-Otaji also noted that the world and the economy have changed, stressing that soon, the crude oil that people of the country have been worshipping would not be needed again.
He commended the deputy governor for her bold initiative to organise the skills acquisition programme, noting that beneficiaries could turn out to become billionaires in the nearest future, if they take advantage of the opportunity.

Harvest from Hon Kingsley Chinda empowerment scheme

Though the scheme started in Ward 5 of his local government, Chinda said he would spread the programmme across the entire constituency. Most of the 2,510 persons both indigenes and non-indigenes of Elelenwo town (Ward 5), were trained in various skills ranging from tailoring/design ankara making, hat making, hair dressing and wig making/allied products and cosmetology, interior and exterior decoration, hair barbing, catering services, make up artistry, handset repairs, bead making and leather foot wears.
Speaking at the occasion, Hon Chinda applauded the students for devoting their time to learn saying, “You have the zeal to learn, not only you but all our youths including those in the diaspora who are serious and hardworking people. With the zeal I have seen in this programme, it connotes that the Nigeria youth are not lazy at all but rather they lack the opportunities and right environment.”
He further urged the students to utilise the opportunity judiciously and also take steps to teach others so that those around them would benefit from their knowledge, stressing that, “When something good is to take place that is when you begin to face more challenges. Don’t be discouraged, continue through tough times but tough people last. Do continue to pray to God, continue to dream and to work towards your dreams, be consistent and persistent in everything you do in life and you would surely be successful,” he added.
He commended the organisers, Switz Creations, for their time and effort put in, saying that the exercise would continue in the remaining 16 wards of Obio/Akpo. In that wise, he has tasked the organisers to add something new in the next training in other wards.

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