Dame Patience Jonathan
Senator Iroegbu and Adedayo Akinwale
The N650 million Youth Support Centre in Abuja, which was inaugurated Tuesday has been named after the First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
The centre is expected to provide entrepreneurial skills and work-based competencies coupled with learning environment as well as provide programmes aimed at inculcating in youth, the values of hard work, dedication, ethical rectitude, justice and moral discipline among others.
Inaugurating the centre in Nyanya, Abuja, Jonathan commended the Minister, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, for his purposeful leadership and ability to actualise the vision of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda.
She said the project was a bold and strategic intervention to reduce youth unemployment not only in the FCT, but also in Nigeria, with the completion of the centre.
According to her, empowering the youths would help to achieve peace in the country, adding: “When youths are not gainfully employed they become instrument of violence. This has therefore helped in addressing the problems of social instability, militancy, terrorism, thuggery, drug abuse, prostitution and other social vices among youths.”
The First Lady opined that the centre would contribute immensely in giving the youths the necessary skills to enable them generate income to take care of their needs, as well as contribute to building peace in the country.
She said: “This administration is particularly concerned with youth empowerment, which is why programmes such as Sure-P and NDE are being implemented to address the disturbing and destabilising effects of youth unemployment and under-employment in Nigeria.”
Jonathan expressed confidence that the training programmes and skills impacted in the centre would provide a robust platform for youth empowerment, job creation, moral re-orientation and acquisition to work-based competencies, for self-reliance, social security and nation building.
She remarked that Abuja which is the seat of Federal Government has continued to attract a large number of youths from all parts of the country in search of jobs; believing that this new Youth Centre will go a long way in training and providing skills culminating to a robust platform for youth empowerment, job creation and self-reliance.
Earlier, Mohammed had revealed that the FCT Administration (FCTA) conceived and completed the centre at a record time of 12 months because of the compelling need to urgently institutionalise intervention programmes to address the upsurge of youths in the FCT.
He lamented that as a result of this, many youths end up as street hawkers, beggars, commercial sex workers and other social miscreants.
“We as parents, administrators and leaders are conscious of our God-given right to protect and safe-guard the future of our youths and the less-privileged. Therefore, we cannot be deterred by unfounded criticisms as we focus on our people-oriented goals,” he said.
Mohammed emphasised that FCTA embarked on the project to properly harness the neglected and untapped youths potentialities and make them productive, contribute meaningfully to the society and be self-sustenance.
He disclosed that effort were being intensified by FCTA to establish similar Youth Support Centres in the other area councils in the territory, while urging philanthropists, youth- friendly organisations and other developmental partners to support the centre.
“In addition to the entrepreneurial skills and work-based competencies the Centre will offer to the FCT youths, a learning environment as well as provide programmes aimed at inculcating in youths, the values of hard work, dedication, ethical rectitude, justice and moral discipline.
“We are assuring that the FCTA will replicate the same Centre in the remaining five Area Councils of the FCT, and reiterate the determination of my administration to fully support the Centre for sustainability, effective and efficient service delivery,” he said.
The event was also attended by the wife of the Vice-President, Amina Namadi Sambo; wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Helen Mark; some wives of members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), wives of Service Chiefs, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on FCT, FCT Permanent Secretary as well as other top government functionaries in the FCTA.