By Egbe Attah
An elder statesman and public commentator, Chief Stephen Obeya, has cried out over the rate of youth unemployment in Benue State.
Chief Obeya, who raised the alarm, last Friday, in an interview with The Voice, in Otukpo, asserted that the issue has become a time bomb, stressing that there would be catastrophe if urgent move is not taken to address it.
“The issue of youth unemployment is coming alarming. There is army of youths roaming the streets without jobs; many of them are graduates. It is a time bomb ready to explode. When this happens, it will be dangerous for all of us except something is urgently done to save the situation”, he said.
The elder statesman suggested that industries should be established while the liquidated ones such as Taraku Mills, Benue Burnt Bricks, Benue Bookshop, Benue Brewery among others should be revived.
He wondered why the building of Star Cement Company, Igumale, was abandoned midway and the coal mining business at Owukpa and Otukpa in Ogbadibo Local Government is left in the hands of Dangote Company instead of the state government manning it.
Accounting to Obeya, the upsurge in kidnapping, armed robbery and extortion through mounting of illegal roadblocks is attributed to unemployment among the youths.
He thanked Governor Hyacinth Alia for his plan to train Benue Youths in ICT and revive the defunct Benue Micro -Finance Bank to boost economic activities in the state.
“Even as the government is trying to address some of these issues, I would advise our young people to embrace farming and trading to help themselves as there can never be enough white -collar jobs to go round all of you”, he averred.
On the decaying infrastructure in the state, especially, Benue South, the Octogenarian who is one of the earliest graduates in Idoma land called on the federal government to reconstruct the deplorable Enugu – Otukpo -Makurdi- Road to ease the suffering of the people.
He appreciated the state governor for embarking on the construction of 16 township roads in Makurdi, the state capital and expressed hope that a similar thing would be done in other metropolitan towns in the state as promised by him.
On the plan by the government to give out N50, 000 to each market woman in the state, supply buses to Benue links as well as distribute food items to deserving households, the public commentator lauded as most appropriate, adding that if judiciously handled it would go a long way in cushioning the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy on the masses.