By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
A call has gone to the federal government for the building of skill acquisition centres in crisis ridden Borno State.
Speaking to journalists on Monday after they were conducted round an impressive skill acquisition centre built under the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) programme for the North-east, the senator representing Borno Central at the National Assembly, Babakaka Garbai, said the insurgency has created an army of unemployed youths that yearn to be trained and assisted with capital.
He said that what Borno State requires at the moment after being weighed down by the shackles of a decade long insurgency is to improve the skills of victims and assist them with start-up capital.
Garbai said that just one or two skill acquisition centres was not good enough for Borno State where about two million people were affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said the insurgency has made many to be without any means of livelihood and “one or two skill acquisition centres cannot meet the need of the people of the state”.
“We need skill acquisition centres to be built across Maiduguri and elsewhere in the state to give the army of teeming youths the opportunity of starting their lives all over again,” he said.
On the SMEDAN-built skill acquisition centre which he influenced in building in Maiduguri, Garbai said the project cost N140 million and will train 500 at each cycle of three or six months depending on the skill.
He said: “We are going to be having either three or six months cycle depending on the skill. The anticipated trainees is 500 at a given cycle.
“There is a gap in skill acquisition training programme in Borno State. At present, we only have one and it is not operational now.
“We require so many skill acquisition centres to be built across Maiduguri so as to engage the army of unemployed youths all over the state.”
Speaking at the site of the skill acquisition centre, the Project Manager, Stephen Malgwi, said the project will be completed in the next two weeks and has facilities for soap making, welding, carpentry, ICT and tailoring.
He said the training equipment are ready and immediately after the completion of the building, they will be installed.