The Interim Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, has begun consultations with companies operating in the Niger Delta to create opportunities for the teeming jobless youths in the region.
Akwa was said to have dispatched his Special Adviser on Youths, Udengs Eradiri, to notable firms to open discussions with their management on ways to engage the youths and reduce restiveness in Niger Delta.
Eradiri, who began his facility tour from Akwa Ibom State, said the strategy was developed to create training, employment and empowerment opportunities for the youths in such firms.
Speaking in a statement after inspecting the Azimarine Training School in Ibeno Local Government Area, Eradiri said Akwa’s vision was to train youth across the nine states in various skill acquisition and capacity-building programmes for self-reliance.
He expressed satisfaction with the quality of modern instructional equipment at the institute saying NDDC would partner with the institute to develop training programmes for the youths.
The Director of Azimarine, Michael Abakam, who conducted Eradiri round the institute, was quoted as saying that the facility had the capacity to train over 1000 youths in less than two months on welding, fabrication, corrosion control, scaffolding projects, underwater inspection diving and rigging to bridge the employment gap in the oil and gas industry.
While touring the Norfin Offshore Ship Yard LTD at Ikot Ukpong, Oruk Anam LGA, Eradiri said it had become imperative to explore a holistic approach in addressing the idleness of youths in the region.
He said: “Niger Delta youths are naturally active and willing to deploy their energy. When they are idle, they may be tempted to deploy this energy in wrong and illegal ventures, which may cause restiveness and threaten the peace of the region.
“The best way to maintain the peace is to keep the youths busy in meaningful ventures that will grow our economy. The NDDC under my boss, Akwa, is desirous to create these missing opportunities for the youths and we want every firm operating in the Niger Delta to partner with us in realising this vision”.
At a townhall meeting with various youth groups in Uyo, Eradiri reiterated the plans of the NDDC to engage youths in the nine states of the region to give them better future.
He said Akwa had outlined many youth-friendly policies and programmes that would enhance the quality of lives of youths in the Niger Delta.
In their various reactions, the elated youth leaders commended Akwa for interacting with them through his special adviser and expressed optimism that he would transform the lives of youths from the region.
They also called on youth groups in the Niger Delta to shun distractions and support the Akwa to succeed within his short period in office.