THE Director-General, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), Professor Danladi Matawal, has emphasised the need for government all levels to embrace youth empowerment programmes, as a way of addressing the challenge of unemployment in the country.
He said this at the inauguration of a skills acquisition centre facilitated by a former member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Abiodun Akinlade, at Agosasa, in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State, recently.
Matawal, who was represented by Engr Suleman Adeyinka, said that the nation’s youth population is about 67 million, submitting that about 42 per cent of them have no means of livelihood.
He expressed optimism that the new skills acquisition centre would create job opportunities and enhance entrepreneurship.
“Statistically, Nigeria has a youth population of about 67 million, aged between 15 and 35 years. 42 per cent of these young people don’t have means of livelihood while only about 20 per cent have more than secondary certificate. These figures reveal that majority of the youths in our country find it difficult to make ends meet,” he said.
In his remarks, Akinlade, noted that the centre when fully operational would provide training opportunities for no fewer than 200 people annually.
“I have three of this project; two are still under construction in Owode and Ilaro. I call on our amiable governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and local governments to partner with us in making this centre a centre of excellence,” he added.
The former lawmaker, however, lamented the bad state of roads in Ogun West Senatorial District, and appealed to the state government to undertake the reconstruction of the Owode-Ilaro road, in the overall interest of the state.
Akinlade said, “I also want to appeal to the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun that he should come to our aid. There is a policy; if a government undertakes a federal road, the Federal Government always reimburse the state government. We have seen it in Ogun State.
“Many of the road projects being done by the state government are federal roads and they are being reimbursed by the Federal Government. I don’t see reason why our governor cannot come to our aid in Ogun West. It’s quite unfortunate what we are experiencing; people are passing through a lot of hardship.”