Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The Director General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mr. Kunle Obayan has lamented the current security challenges facing the country where young men, girls and women have been turned into suicide bombers by Boko Haram; noting that the agency has initiated some programmes that would get such vulnerable people meaningfully engaged.
He said by the time the results of such programmes begin to manifest, lots of people who ordinarily idle away and become easy prey would not only acquire skills but also become self-reliant wherever they are located.
Obayan spoke as fifty women drawn from the 17 local government areas of Enugu state commenced training on the making of Tie and Dye textile materials in Enugu recently.
Also, the Commissioner for Gender Affairs, Peace Nnaji has decried the rate at which newborn babies are recklessly dumped in dustbins, septic tanks and hidden places by their mothers.
She lamented that incidences of teenage and unwanted pregnancies were on the increase, and insisted that it had become imperative for government to come up with programmes that would help in empowering young girls and women; and by so doing take their attentions away from such ugly vices.
Obayan, who was represented by the Enugu State Coordinator of the NDE, Joseph Iroegbu at the flag-off of the training programme, said no fewer than 500 persons mostly women who have acquired different types of skills would be resettled in line with its Artisans Resettlement Mentoring Scheme (ARMS) before the last quarter of this year.
The acquired skills include fondant ice coating, hats and beads making, interior decoration, confectionery, fabric and designs bags making, and shoe making.
Already, 10 persons who, according to him participated in the NDE’s Agricultural Skills Training Scheme in Enugu have received the sum of N1.5 million as soft loans to start their vegetable gardens at various locations in the state.
Obayan said the empowerment programme was in line with NDE’s mandate of fighting unemployment and encouraging wealth creation and poverty reduction.
He noted that participants would be equipped with the necessary skills to cope with the ever-dynamic demand of the economy and by so doing become employers of labour instead of being used as suicide bombers.
Also speaking, Nnaji appealed to young ladies in the state and beyond to take advantage of the NDE skill acquisition programme in order to become useful to the society.
“The issue of teenage pregnancy has become a major problem. Every now and then, you see beautiful newborns dumped in open places by some of these young girls. At the moment, we have a good looking baby we picked up and for weeks we’ve been battling to save this baby who is suffering from acute pneumonia.
“It’s really unfortunate that a woman will carry a child for nine months and end up dumping him/her after delivery. We also have a baby who we picked but found out that he is blind. Information available to us showed that the mother had tried everything to abort him but he refused, so upon delivery, she pierced his two eyes and made him blind. This is terrible.
“These are young girls that were deceived by men who took advantage of them after giving them alcohol and nkwobi and all that. I am pleading with these young girls and women to please get involved in skill acquisition, because white collar jobs are no longer available,’ she said.
Wife of the Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Princess Akunna Ubosi, who chaired the opening ceremony, said the training programme would go a long way in turning the lives of the participants around as they would be empowered to be self-reliant.