By Steve Unegbu
Abia state is the only State in the South East undertaking Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) to ensure that there is no idle hands that will engage in Youths restiveness.
The Governor of Abia state ,”Dr Okezie Ikpeazu wants to engage idle hands so that we do not leave any hands in the course of the economic project of the State”
Addressing newsmen after the occasion of orientation training of stakeholders and beneficiaries of Youth Employment and Social Support Operation, held at Ginger Onwusibe mini stadium, Amapu Ntigha,Isialangwa North local government of Abia state, the Permanent Secretary ministry of education ,Engineer Mrs Rita Okengwu ,disclosed that Governor Ikpeazu is supporting the programme as a component of education for employment to engage the youths of Abia, especially the unemployed youths ,adding ” that Ikpeazu is the first ever governor to proactively address the nagging problem of Youth Employment and empowerment in a holistic manner; and therefore rewrite the history of Youth empowerment in Abia state to the satisfaction of posterity “
She commended the Governor for his political will to meet the multiple million counterpart fund requirement to ensure that Abia state is one of the sixteen YESSO participating States in Nigeria,even as urged the beneficiaries to make good use of it.
In their speeches, the permanent secretary ,Abia state planning commission, Ugoeze Adanma Iheuwa ,said the programme is a systematic approach to help the poor in the community ,saying ,” when you want to embark on a mission ,you have to take census of who to take care of ,that is where the register came in , the first thing is to take collection of who and who is poor in Abia state “
She insisted that ,it is the communities that chose the beneficiaries, saying ” the pilot communities chosen was done by the communities themselves they know who is who and what we do is to supervise them.These are the first 15000 households and we have been able to take out 10000 households to be employed. We have started ,cash transfer has taken off .we have data that is internationally accepted.
Ugoeze Adanma ,advised Abia state government to invest more on the programme to cover many communities with the assistance of federal government and world bank the programme will benefit more Abians ,she noted ,while Prince Friday Nwalozie disclosed that ,” we sent enumerators to the field to register the poorest of the poor ” ,adding that if Abia state performs well ,we will be expecting more economic empowerment .
Earlier in his speech , the State Coordinator Education for Employment and Abia state Focal Person of Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO ) ,Mr Endi Ezengwa,said the programme is about two things ,provision of employment for those who are unemployed and the development of the communities. In his words ,” it is not free ,you are doing something for something,each of the beneficiaries will get 7500 Naira every month,this in exchange they will do some activities to the communities, they can help clean markets ,cut grasses in school,they can help in erosion control ,anything they can do to develop the community, whatever the community want them to do.The onus is on the community to maximize the youths,it is free labour, they can even use them for vigilante, especially those who are not educated “
He said those with higher education ,they will be placed for skills for job ,which according to him is what Education for Employment is doing ,” they will under go training for six months and each will get 7500 Naira in a month and afterwards they will be given a small package to begin their business”
Ezengwa ,maintained that the important thing is , ” we are hoping that small and medium enterprises of Abia state will be enlarged as these graduates move into employment “
On the criteria to become a beneficiary, he pointed out that , ” your name has to be in the single social register in the State ,prepared by the Abia state planning commission, they work with LGAs to enumerate them ,then send the list to federal government and world bank ,before returning the list back “
He lauded Governor Ikpeazu for the programme ,saying , ” the reason why Abia state is selected is because the State is already running Education for Employment programme “