The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has concluded plans to empower over 5,000 beneficiaries drawn from the nine Niger Delta States through skills acquisition programmes.
The Managing Director of the Commission, Mr Nsima Ekere, disclosed this at the launch of the sixth edition of Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) in Owerri on Wednesday.
The initiative was founded by the wife of the Minister of Transport, Mrs Judith Amaechi.
Ekere, represented by the Executive Director for Projects, NDDC, Mr Samuel Adjogbe, said the idea was to ensure that youths and women of the oil rich region enjoyed sustainable lifestyles.
He said the programme was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to NDDC management to speedily end endemic poverty, unemployment and youth restiveness in the nine states that make up the Niger Delta.
Ekere said it would ensure that perpetual poverty, unemployment and youth restiveness did not continue to impinge on the development of the region.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed NDDC to ensure that over 5,000 youths and women in the Niger Delta area are massively empowered and trained in sustainable skills for them to be gainfully employed.
“In line with the presidential order, we are beginning with the training of 5,000 people in POP ceiling, tiling, electric wiring and other entrepreneurial skills in a bid to develop home grown artisans,” he said.
In her welcome address, the ESI founder, Mrs Amaechi, said her pet project, which had empowered over 3,000 people across the Niger Delta States, was determined to help the NDDC and other development partners to eradicate poverty in the region.
She said the primary goal of the initiative was to enable youths and women have access to empowerment opportunities through vocational training.
She said it was also to broaden employers’ access to qualified skilled workforce in job creating sectors.
“We are delighted to report that the over 3,000 youths trained by this initiative are all in sustainable employment, doing creditably well in their communities, towns, cities and states.
“With the right skills and competence, people are better prepared for livelihood and active citizenship; they also have better opportunities of finding and keeping good jobs.
“ESI is championing this course by supporting and complementing the government through training of women and youths in various skills and vocational education aimed at promoting career opportunities in the targeted sectors,” she said.
Speaking, Wife of Imo Governor, Mrs Nkechi Okorocha, said societies could only make progress through meaningful women empowerment. “When you empower women you have empowered a nation; I am delighted with what ESI has achieved through Mrs Amaechi; collectively we can help our nation,” she said.