The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr Steve Oru, says the Federal Government has empowered 1,031 non-militant youths in the region on various vocational skills since the inception of the ministry.
Oru told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday that the training and empowerment of youths in the region was a continuous exercise.
NAN recalls that the ministry was established in September 2008 by late President Umaru Yarâ€™dua to support the stabilisation and peace building strategy.
The ministryâ€™s mandate is to formulate, coordinate and execute the Federal Governmentâ€™s development initiates and programmes in the region.
According to him, the programme is designed to create employment for non-militant youths.
The minister said the non-militant youths were trained in oil and gas, maritime, information communications technology (ICT) as well as iPad and telephone assembly.
He said that the trainees were drawn from the nine oil producing states â€“ Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers.
Oru said that the ministryâ€™s skills acquisition centres presently under construction in the states of the Niger Delta were near completion.
â€œThe centres in Akwa Ibom and Delta states will also concentrate on oil and gas, ICT and maritime studies.
â€œThe centres in Abia and Imo will train youths in commerce, the one in Cross River is on entertainment and tourism, while the Ondo skills acquisition centre will focus on agriculture.â€™â€™
Oru said that the ministry was working toward bringing all the centres on stream.
He expressed the hope that the ministryâ€™s decision for a private sector operator to manage the centres was the best approach to ensure they function optimally and become enduring.
The minister noted that the ministry was set to empower more youths on various skills acquisition both locally and international.
NAN recalls that the ministry had also trained 30 youths from the region as seafarers.
He said that the aim of the programme was to stem the rate of youth restiveness in the region. (NAN)