When President Muhammadu Buhari came into power, he promised that his administration will bring the problem of youth restiveness, kidnapping, banditry, unemployment and poverty to a halt by providing 10 million jobs to the teaming Nigerian youths.
He was able to keep his promise by identifying the capability, potential and competence of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) as the only purpose-built Agency of the federal government that is positioned to develop the local contents of the nation’s rich minerals resources, using science, technology and innovation.
Having realised that NASENI has no financial backing to execute its mandate, President Buhari quickly approved and directed that all the statutory funds of the agency be released to enable it carry out the responsibility of creating the 10 million jobs promised by his administration for national wellbeing and economic growth.
The presidential mandate to NASENI in the nationwide exercise was to move round the 36 states of the country and empower at least 100 youths in each location on such areas and skills where it is observed that critical vocational skill lacks efficiency and therefore needing upgrades, new skills acquisition, tools and equipment to advance such identified vocation.
In order to carry out this directive by President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also the chairman, NASENI Governing Board however, swung into action, by embarking on the nationwide youth trainingo ofand empowerment programmes in all the six geo-political zones of the country and beyond, especially on what the state is known for. The training was aimed at developing the skills of the youths on their already existing trade using modern technological tools, machines and equipment.
Flag Off Begins In Kebbi State
The executive vice chairman of NASENI, Engr. Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, was emphatic in the implementation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to NASENI to introduce modern techniques into farming and all agricultural practices kicked off in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State capital.
One hundred youths were trained in Kebbi which was the beginning of the nationwide project where 100 youths from each of the six geo-political zones of the country are to benefit from the technical interventions and empowerment programme by the agency.
The one hundred youths or indigenous people in the 36 states of the federation are being put through some of the technologies on the shelves of the agency, while focusing specifically in the areas of modern farming, agricultural processing, production and preservation.
At the occasion of the flag off of the empowerment training programme in Kebbi State, Prof. Haruna said the flag off ceremony was in response to the very clear directive by the President whom he disclosed was keen on economic diversification of the country in the direction of agriculture, noting that “the exercise was a mission accomplished and a sign of the seriousness of the administration to empower the youths and also to lift Nigeria’s agriculture away from mere subsistence.”
In his remarks, Prof Haruna said all the developed countries of the world began with agriculture and later became great because they introduced modern techniques, science and innovations into the practice of agriculture in their journey to industrialisation.
The chairman of the occasion, attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami said President Muhammadu Buhari, was determined to tackle the high rate of youth unemployment, poverty, and especially food insecurity and also the industrial transformation of the country. The target of one hundred youths per geo-political zone of the country, he said, was essentially to take the youths off the streets, address youth restiveness and increase food security and the introduction of modern farming practices in form of quick adaptation of modern technology in order to make agriculture very attractive to young people.
He said the north-west geo-political zone of the country is known for farming as a general occupation and therefore the choice of introduction of modern farming in this particular training for the youths in the north-west geo-political zone.
The focus of the programme by the federal government, according to Malami “is against the background that 70 per cent of Nigerian youths and workforce live in the rural areas and therefore targeting them with new farm implements and techniques by NASENI was like putting a round peg in a round hole.”
He noted that the exercise is one of the most “pragmatic programmes of the federal government aimed at the diversification of the economy and also targeting reduction of unnecessary rural urban migration.”
The beneficiaries of the programme will be able to complete three circles of farming rounds in a year against the traditional practice of farming only during the raining season yearly. This means an increase in farm produce and yields. The governor of Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, at the occasion, said his state was the luckiest to host this flag off programme by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. “Being the host state for on-going rice revolution in the country, this programme was a clear evidence of the desire to transform the country through the use of science, technology and Innovation,” he said.
As a governor, he added “there is no better time to focus on Agriculture than now and the only leader who could redirect the focus of the country to Agriculture is President Muhammadu Buhari”. According to Bagudu, what the country needed now is to “look inward to diversify the economy through support for Agriculture and introduction of modern scientific ways and means of infusion of technology into Agriculture and human capital development.”
While commending NASENI, he said the current support for local research and technical institutions like NASENI by Kebbi State and Federal Government were deliberate. The Governor challenged the trainees to dream of becoming billionaires and millionaires from practicing modern farming and or as successful Agriculture entrepreneurs including livestock. He disclosed that a new Agricultural University had just been approved to be sited in Kebbi State by the Federal Government and also an Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (AMEDI) under NASENI has been established in the State.
This he disclosed was in addition to the NASENI SKILLS Acquisition Centre which was announced at the occasion by the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI.
Some of the equipment and farming implements fabricated by NASENI which were handed over to the trainees included Seed Planting Machine, Water Pump Machine, Irrigation machine, Insecticide Spraying machine amongst others.
Kano State Becomes Next Beneficiary
The Nationwide training moved to Kano state where NASENI Empowered another 100 Kano youths with Modern Auto-Diagnosis Skills, Repairs and maintenance of Vehicles.
In this regard The Federal government, through NASENI responded to the general complaints by modern car owners of lack of capacity by most technicians to properly diagnose modern cars because of technology improvements which came with today’s newly manufactured cars or auto-vehicles.
Many car owners have had their cars damaged by technicians because of poor handling resulting from inabilities of auto-technicians (popularly known as Mechanics) to handle most automobiles with automation that are out of reach for most of them, in terms of exposure during apprenticeship or hands-on during post-training experiences.
While declaring the 5-Day training open in Kano, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, NASENI, Prof. Haruna said that the auto-technical training programme given to the Kano youths was an intervention through a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari, whose interest is the empowerment of youths in Kano State (North-West) and also as response to the need to give new skills to youths and to empower those who are already in auto-mechanics with new knowledge of how to diagnose and maintain new vehicles, most of which are now designed and manufactured through a combination of mechanical and electronic features rolled into one.
According to the NASENI boss “without the necessary upgrade of knowledge,training and retraining of present crop of Nigeria’s auto-technicians, many of whom are already thrown out of their jobs, would continue to be thrown out of jobs and the larger society could not afford to allow such trend to continue because of its negative socio-economic implications.
“Without proper upgrading of today’s auto-technicians on our streets in handling modern cars, they would have many more cars of customers damaged and therefore everyone would become the loser. Most modern cars run on a combination of mechanical techniques combined with electronic features which are out of reach of most technicians that are presently operating in our communities. And if we don’t have them trained and their skills upgraded, most of the technicians are already being thrown out of their jobs and car owners are already facing the difficulties of having their cars maintained efficiently. Therefore, the intervention by NASENI to train auto-technicians nationwide beginning from Kano State (Northwest Zone) could not have come at a better time, “Professor Haruna said.
Amongst the automobile tools handed over to the participants by NASENI in Kano are Complete Auto tools, OBD 11Auto Diagnostic Scanner, Cover all, Safety Helmet, Safety Foot Wears, Hand gloves, Safety Google, Respiratory mask, T. Shirt, Face cap, Training bag to include training manual, programme, pad, tag and other writing materials.
…Next Stop Ibadan
The training then moved to Ibadan, Oyo State in South-West of the country, where NASENI Trained 100 youths in Plumbing Vocation. The youth were elated as they benefited from the Federal Government’s Youths empowerment programme aimed at giving new skills and modernizing activities of artisans in the plumbing vocation.
State-of-the-art plumbing equipment, tools and diagnostic kits worth several millions of naira were handed over to 100 youths around Ibadan in continuation of President Buhari’s directive to NASENI to give Nigerian youths new skills, carry out retraining exercises in line with modern techniques in their different vocations.
The Executive Vice Chairman/CE NASENI, Engr. Prof. Haruna while flagging off the training in Ibadan said that NASENI was carrying out President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive saying “the time had come to put an end to the habit of giving out technical jobs meant for Nigerians to foreigners or migrants from neighbouring countries” hence President Buhari’s approval of the on-going special training for Plumbers operating in Ibadan, Oyo State.
With the training as a hands-on empowerment programme, Professor Haruna explained, “President Buhari’s intention is the prosperity of the youths and job satisfaction so they could take their plumbing work seriously and move to the highest level of efficiency and professionalism in plumbing.”
The training programme targets inputting in the trainees Modern Skills, Acquisition and training on modern methods of Plumbing and its applications. The youths selected from Oyo State are benefiting from the first phase of the programme targeted at those who are already in the profession of plumbing.
The capacity building focuses on reskilling the plumbers to handle installations and maintenance of plumbing works with modern techniques, tools, diagnostics and equipment.
According to the study carried out which led to the presidential directive; it was observed in Ibadan metropolis delivery on plumbing works had become problematic because residents and house owners are experiencing poor jobs and finishing of plumbing works. The training programme is therefore targeted at addressing such challenges for professionals and also to make plumbing work become knowledge-based for youths and in tune with modern methods in plumbing and further upgrade of their skills.
Speaking also at the event, the Chairman of the Occasion and Honourable member representing Ibadan North Federal Constituency who doubled as Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Science Research Institutes, Honourable Musiliudeen Olaide Akinremi (Jagaban) said the Ibadan citizens were grateful to President Buhari and NASENI for the intervention to upgrade the skills of plumbers in Ibadan and also giving new tools and technology for them to work with.
He said the youths and their empowerment had become the most critical socio-economic programme for sustenance of any modern economy and also a glimpse at “the idea of what the future of the country will looks like”. Therefore, empowering the youths and especially a critical subsector like plumbing is critical to housing and general construction, he said, disclosing that youth’s empowerment programme was central to his legislative agenda and that the Ibadan North Federal constituency zone was lucky for being the first beneficiary of the programme by the Federal Government in South west.
The list of new tools and equipment handed over to the plumbers include: PPR machine, Drilling Machine, Pressure Testing Machine, Plum, Plunger, Mechanical tools box, sets of spanners, Pipe Wrench, Punch, Set of Chisels, Ratchet Socket Spanner Box and Gas Piler. Other safety kits given to the trainees included Safety shoes, Eye goggles, mechanical hand gloves amongst others.
Nassarawa Enthusiastic about Empowerment
The Youths in Nasarawa State were not left behind as NASENI empowered 100 youth in modern Design, Production of Plaster of Paris (POP) and Installations at the on-going Nationwide programmes of new skills to youths and empowerment programme embarked on by the agency.
The training programme was the first-phase of North Central regional skill development to be carried out by NASENI as part of series of directives of President Muhammadu Buhari to the Agency to ensure that Nigerian youths were trained in various trades and professions, making them to acquire modern skills and empowerment for job creation and self-employment generation.
While declaring the training open in Nasarawa State, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, NASENI, Engr. Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna said: “the on-going skill development training and youth empowerment programme by the Agency across the country was aimed at introducing modern and technological ways of carrying out already existing trades and occupation by the people at the grassroots and it was also targeted at developing the needed critical competent work-force for industrialization of the country, a charge that had been given to NASENI by President Buhari”.
He said also that the training and retraining were to make “practitioners more efficient and to enhance the prospects of earning a living from their chosen vocation. The Agency, he explained, always carried out its feasibility studies on vocations in all the geo-political zones of the country to know what the youths in each zone were already making a living from and to retrain them on how to use modern equipment to strengthen their skills and make more rooms for job creation and self-reliance.
“The training was targeted at achieving a competent workforce in Nasarawa State whom he said had a golden opportunity to get contract jobs and prosperity not only in the State but the near-by Federal Capital Territory. We are in the nation’s home of solid minerals, Nasarawa state, the North-Central Zone of Nigeria to train 100 selected youths from the zone on the Modern Method of Casting Plaster of Paris (POP) and its Applications”.
He explained that one of the challenges of POP professionalism in the country is the absence of appropriate tools and equipment for the design, preparation, moulding and casting, thereby making POP work labour intensive with attendant inconsistency or non-uniformity where such patterns would have added beauty and utility.
“The extra manpower needed in manual handling of the designs translates to extra expenses and time wasting. But the advancement in portable electric power tools and computer aided design and mould making is not only beneficial in terms of profitability but also in terms of beauty and safety. This is the advancement that trainees are now being exposed to ina Nasarawa State, which would also benefit traditional bone setting practitioners in accuracy, precision and optimal utilization of materials”, he added.
The Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr.Abdullahi Sule who was a special guest at the occasion, represented by Professor Umar GurKu, said if the use of POP were in high demand in Nasarawa State and beyond, then, the prospect of wealth creation and bringing job satisfaction to those involved in this area of vocation are also high. Such a highly paying job area could not be ignored by a caring government without creating a more enabling environment for innovation and professionalism. This is the reason for the state Government’s support for this skill acquisition training and empowerment programme facilitated by NASENI, he said.