The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for initiating the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (PYES).
He said the scheme would help create multiple layers of employments, especially for the unemployed.
Achebe made the commendation in Onitsha on Saturday at the graduation ceremony of 69 youths of Onitsha origin, who were trained in various vocations under his Ime-Obi Entrepreneurship Development programme and sponsored by Ford Foundation.
He urged youths to key into the lofty programme for self-reliance and personal development.
The monarch also challenged the youths in the area who were yet to register with the Onitsha Youth Council to do so in their interest and for their development.
He however blamed the security challenges facing the country on youth unemployment, saying the situation might deteriorate if drastic measures were not taken.
He said,” Unemployment is fundamental to many of the social ills in the country which made youths to join cultism, kidnapping and robbery.
The programme is aimed at making youths useful to themselves and society by becoming employers of labour.
According to him, one of the graduating students was already employing seven graduates in his outfit; saying “it is one way to build the economy and the country and to discourage youths from committing crime.”
The monarch disclosed that the first set of 70 youths, who were trained and assisted with loans worth N500, 000 each, totaling N35 million have repaid back over N33 million.
He commended Ford Foundation for supporting the community outreach and entrepreneurship in Onitsha.
According to him, the financial support was also used to organize long vacation programme for secondary school students as well as special remedial programme for Onitsha indigenes seeking admission into universities.
“We equally have drug addiction programme to prevent and rehabilitate our youths who are into drugs,” he added.
In a remark, the Transition Chairman of Onitsha North Local Government Area, Mr Patrick Mba commended Ford Foundation and the Obi of Onitsha for being sensitive to the development and education of youths in Onitsha.
Mba promised that the local government council will continue to key into the progranmmes of the monarch, especially in providing synergy for youth development.
One of the trainees, Mr Michael Ibekwe, who runs a block industry, said the one month training which commenced in November 2018, had changed how he managed finance.
“I learnt a lot especially how to check the financial loopholes in my business,” he said, while expressing hope for loan to expand the business.
Highlight of the occasion was the presentation of certificates to the trainees by the Obi of Onitsha.