Governors of the 19 northern states have been urged by Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr Joseph Ari, to prioritise youths development through skills acquisition programmes.
Ari made the call on Tuesday in Dutse, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Youths Empowerment Training with Jigawa government.
According to Ari, it is imperative for the ITF and Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) to partner on youths training programmes to make them self-reliant, check restiveness and social vices in the region.
He, therefore, urged Gov. Umar Namadi of Jigawa to champion the campaign at the forum.
“On my here, the NNDC Group Managing Director called me on how the NGF will come in so that we can take away povert in northern states.
“This is glaring us on the face and if nothing is done, we will be sitting on a time bomb. So your Excellency, at your meeting (NGF), we appeal to you to see how we can come together to rescue the situation,” he said.
Responding, Namadi promised to be the ITF’s ambassador at the NGF, adding that, “it is high time that governors realised the role of the fund in dealing with social problems”.
Namadi, who identified youth unemployment as one of his major problems, added that it was the responsibility of the government to take care of the youths.
“I think it is high time we as governors realised the importance of ITF in terms of dealing with social problems in Nigeria.
“And of the major problems I faced during my campaign was the number of youths that always came out to welcome us wherever we went.
“It gave me a lot of concern and sometimes trauma because these guys (youths), we must take care of them, and if we don’t do so then like you just said we’re sitting on time bomb.
“It has come as a responsibility for all of us to take care of our youths,” he said.
To tackle unemployment, the governor said that his administration had created an agency to accelerate creation of job opportunities for the youths through viable skills acquisition programmes.
“And this what informed our decision to create the Jigawa State Youths Empowerment and Empowerment Agency.
“And not only we created the agency, but also decided to find alternative funding to make it sustainable, show our concern and commitment for youths development in Jigawa State.
“But how do we develop our youths, we need to provide them with skills and we’ve searched all around and found that the best partner to do that is ITF,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while Ari signed the MoU on behalf of the ITF, the Executive Secretary of the Youths Empowerment and Employment Agency, Dr Habib Muhammad, signed on behalf of the Jigawa government.
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