From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The Nigerian Army’s 177 Guards Battalion, Keffi has trained 77 youths in Nasarawa
State on various skill acquisition programmes in order to make them self-reliant.
The training include Information and Communication Technology, ICT, catering, cosmetology, hairstyling and barbing.
The Director of Operations, Nigerian Army Headquarters, Major General Emmanuel Ejim-Emekah, made this known at the graduation ceremony of trainees at the Shitu Alao Barracks in Keffi Local Government Area (LGA) of Nasarawa State on Friday.
Ejim-Emekah urged the youths to maximally utilise the skills acquired during the training to be gainfully engaged so as to sustain and support themselves and their families.
He also warned them not rely solely on formal education and neglect the skills they have acquired as there are no guarantees of government jobs hence the call to the youths to prioritise the skills gotten while also acquiring formal education.
“In the age that we are in and if you go outside this country to developed countries, it is people with skills that are making the most money because of the skills they have. So the best firm of welfare they have giving you is to teach you a skill. It doesn’t stop you from going to school,” he said.
Ejim-Emekah commended Lt Col Auwalu Inuwa, Commanding Officer, 177 Guards Battalion and initiator of the empowerment programme for his foresight and determination to engage youths with skills that will make them self reliant.
“I am quite impressed and happy with the Commanding Officer, 177 Guards Battalion today for this initiative which is in line with the key philosophy of the Chief of Army and that is welfare of troops and their families is the key pillar.
“I therefore commend you for this laudable initiative and urge you to sustain it,” he said.
Also speaking, Nigeria’s Army Commander, Guards Brigade, Col Adebisi Onasanya, also expressed delight with the empowerment programme and thanked the Commanding Officer, 177 Guards Battalion, Keffi for coming up with the initiative and seeing it to fruition.
He, therefore, urged the trained youths to reciprocate the gesture of the 177 Guards Battalion Commanding Officer and by large the Nigerian Army by keep improving on the skills learnt and utilizing the skills to be fully engaged and self reliant.
In his welcome address, Lt Col Auwalu Inuwa, said the initiative was to enable unemployed to be gainfully engaged instead of engaging instead of involving in criminal acts capable of destroying them.
“We still felt an effort should be put in place to engage the youths in the barrack community which led to the introduction of five skills acquisition programmes which are catering, barbing, hairstyling, computer training and cosmetology,” he said
He assured that all those that benefitted from the empowerment programme will be given certificates and supported with start up kits so they can begin to put into use the skills they acquired.
On her part, Supervisor of the programme,
Mariam Azeez, said the empowerment programme commenced on October 5, 2023 with classes conducted three days a week at the Youth Empowerment Centre in Shitu Alao Barracks.
“We had 22 students in the ICT department, 19 students in the catering department, 15 students in the cosmetology department, 13 students in the hairstyling department and 8 students at the Barbing department with a total 77 beneficiaries,” she said.