Yenagoa—Over eighty beneficiaries of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training programme by the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) have graduated in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
The Programme which was facilitated by the IYC spokesman, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe handed the best twelve graduands brand new computer systems while others were promised to be handed their starter packs before the commencement of the second batch of the training programme in February 2023.
Ekerefe, while speaking during the graduation ceremony of the 80 graduands on Friday, said that despite the challenges, the journey of intellectual exchange and training of Ijaw youths in ICT skills has yielded the desired result.
He said the training which covered skills in computer appreciation, office production, tools, internet utility, and web development (HTML, CSS & Bootstrap) was initiated to change the narrative of the Niger Delta struggle.
While noting that there is the need to build the capacity of youths in the Niger Delta in digital skills, Ekerefe called on multinational oil companies and government to engage youths in the region who he said are now employable by the skills they have acquired.
“There is the need for consistent efforts to build the capacity of youths and borrow a leaf from the consistent efforts of the present administration of Governor Douye Diri at using skill acquisition to draw away youths from crime and criminality to becoming a positive force in the society”.
“I observed that in this digital age, the Ijaw youths and the people of the region should not be left behind and allow oil multinationals to continue in their lame excuse of not employing Niger Delta youths due to poor ICT knowledge.
“I want to call on the oil multinationals, federal government agencies, and parastatals that the days of excuses and stereotype positions against Ijaw youths are over.
“Today’s Ijaw youths are more educated and empowered to be gainfully employed in any sector of the economy. Some have even become employers of labour while others are ready to compete in the labour market.”
Earlier in his speech, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douyi Diri commended the initiator of the computer training programme, declaring that the training and empowerment programmes by individuals, organisations and the state government are yielding the desired result in the region by diverting agitated youths away from crime and criminality and focusing them on the path of development and peace.
Governor Diri, who was represented by the commissioner for Ijaw National Affairs, Patrick Erasmus also frowned at the attitude of some beneficiaries of government training who fail to put the knowledge acquired to use and even allegedly sell starter packs.
He, therefore, charged beneficiaries of various training programmes across the country to put to use the skills acquired to better society.
The Chairman of the occasion and President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Professor Benjamin Okaba in his speech noted that the only way the Ijaws can take their rightful place in the oil and gas sector was through acquiring the needed education and training.
Also speaking, the royal father of the day and the Chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council, HRM King Bubaraye Dakolo, commended the initiator of the programme and urged the beneficiaries to use the knowledge they have acquired to become engaged and soar on higher grounds.
Two of the beneficiaries, Miss Inikio Treasure and Franklin Ayaowei thanked the organisers of the training and promised to maximize the knowledge acquired to better their lives.
They called on corporate organization and individuals to support the skill acquisition training of youths in the region.