Youth empowerment is a strong policy to banish unemployment in the system, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin says, describing it as a veritable weapon to fight all forms of crimes in the society, particularly insurgency.
He made the call as the Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association empowered widows and trained over 200 women and youth in skills acquisition in Ekiti State to combat unemployment and make them economically independent.
The Defence Chief, represented by the Deputy Director of Education, Defence Headquarters, Brig Gen Lawal Zakari, said: “Youth are the pivot of the economy and they must be made to be useful members of the society.
“When you are empowered as a youth, you won’t indulge in crime. You won’t join gang of criminals that will constitute menace to the nation, and that is the essence of this programme.
“In any society, even advanced economy, the needy are being helped. So, we viewed this programme, particularly training for our youth as path to economic freedom and this is essential in view of what is happening in our nation now.
“With this training and equipment provided, you will be economically independent and have the potency to be able to contribute to the economy. Government alone can’t fight unemployment but with cooperation of all stakeholders, Nigeria will be free of this burden.”
Distributing materials at the DEPOWA Women/Youth Empowerment Programme graduation ceremony in Ode Ekiti, headquarters of Gbonyin Local Government of Ekiti State weekend, Mrs. Olonisakin said the programme financed by the Defence headquarters, and was initiated to fight poverty in the state.
The trainings were conducted by National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and participants were trained in the areas of tying and dyeing, beads stringing and make-up artistry, shoe and bag making and barbing.
Speaking at the event, Olonisakin, said the essence of the programme was to ensure that Nigerian youth were exposed to new innovation in vogue for economic relevance and to free from all forms of distractions that can lead them into crime.
Mrs. Olonisakin advised government at all levels to expose the youth to skills acquisition and empowerment that can make them relevant and contribute to economic development of their nation.
“This training is meant to pull you out of unemployment market, make you economically self-reliant and eventually employers of labour”, she counseled.
She harped on the imperative to empower the women folk for them to contribute meaningfully to nation building and their communities, saying era whereby women were being kept perpetually in the home was over.
“It is a well known fact that if you train a woman, you train a nation and if you train a youth, the future of a nation is secured as this will reduce restiveness. One of the best things that can happen to our youth and others in the need of jobs is to acquire skills that bring succour and hope for sustainable engagement, which gives rise to regular income.
“I can say that no amount of educational investment, be it formal or informal will be a waste without skills. The present economic situation makes self reliance expedient especially in Nigeria. Hence, you are urged to see the skills acquired as an opportunity to improve your standard of living as well as generate well for your families to the benefit of the state and the nation”, Mrs. Olonisakin said.