The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said it has trained no less than 2,245 youths through its various training and empowerment programmes.
Speaking to newsmen, the NDDC Managing Director, Chief Bassey Dan-Abia since the current board was inaugurated, the NDDC has focused on its three-point agenda of Youth Empowerment, Wealth Creation and Capacity Building.
Dan-Abia, who was represented by his Special Assistant on Youth, Conflict Resolution and Women Affairs, Mr. George Turnah, said some of the beneficiaries have completed their training and had been given empowerment packages while some are still under training in various skills.
Giving the breakdown of the programme, Abia said 280 youths had completed training as Master Sea Fearers at the Nigerian Maritime Academy, Oron while 300 other had been selected for one year training in Environmental Remediation and Oil Spill Management to handle clean up should Ogoni exercise becomes reality.
The NDDC Managing Director said the trained Sea Fearers had gotten Nigeria Maritime Management Service Agency (NIMASA) certification and many of them are now looking for placement because they are all employable in the industry. Dan-Abia said since it had been realised that the entire fabrication facility in West Africa cannot take care of the Brass LNG in the event it comes on full steam, many youths are being trained so that they can be ready.
He added that the commission recently took 45 youths to South Africa to train in medium and small scale business just as the commission was discussing with Tinapa to create trade package for the youths.
“Recently we launched, Niger Delta You Win, our own version of the Presidential You Win programme which of course has worked. About 1,000 youths would be given grants ranging from 2 million to 10 million to boost their existing business or start new one.
“Recently too, we empowered 450 youths on VTU re-charge business. This is a partnership programme with Credit switch and in three months they can make N500,000. We empowered them with generating sets, telephones and N150,000 worth of free credit for any network.
“These are things we are doing to get our youths to be busy. You know where we are coming from talking from the militancy era. No serious government would fold its arms and allow its youths to go back to those dark days when kidnapping and other vices took centre stage in this region.
“Our focus given the three point agenda is to gradually prepare our youths to be productive and show example on how beneficial it is to do things correctly”, he said.
Dan-Abia said the some NDDC training in the past seemed to have failed because of lack post-training planning or strategy, saying this is what the current board has being doing in all its training programmes.
He said because of the post-training planning and strategy put in place by the commission, many beneficiaries of various schemes are now engaged because they had been equipped with necessary papers and international documents that can make them employable even outside the country.