Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, the wife of the Governor of Lagos State, on Monday challenged beneficiaries of empowerment programmes, especially women and youth, to use the knowledge gained to change their status and reduce poverty.
Sanwo-Olu, who spoke at the inauguration of Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) Empowerment Scheme in Lagos, said that government alone could not address problems of poverty and unemployment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the empowerment, tagged “We Lift”, and organised by the Chairman of the LCDA, Mr Dele Osinowo, is designed to empower the unemployed with the skills to be self-sufficient.
No fewer than 60 unemployed residents were enrolled in various six months to two years training programmes on Fashion Designing, Shoe Making, Catering and Confectionery Services, Make Up, ICT, Graphics, among others.
In her address, Sanwo-Olu, who described the theme as apt, said that the empowerment was in line with Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s vision of making life abundant for the vast majority of Lagos residents.
“Asides the fact that participants will be empowered with essentials skills to make them job creators within six months to two years of rigorous training, the LCDA will also provide start-up capital for successful trainees.
“The LCDA will as well provide equipment, rented shops and a robust post-evaluation exercise to monitor the trainees for a certain timeline.
“This scheme, no doubt, is a welcome development as it will go a long way to reduce statistics of unemployment in our dear State and greatly help to avail beneficiaries of a better tomorrow financially, as well as an upliftment in their standard of living.
“This is surely the way to go in terms of providing jobs for our people, and let me seize this opportunity to commend the Executive Chairman of Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, Mayor Dele Oshinowo for his vision and commitment,” Sanwo-Olu said.
She congratulated the beneficiaries of the first phase of the scheme and enjoined them to take the golden opportunity seriously and use the knowledge to start up their business.
According to her, it is also important for the beneficiaries to pass the knowledge on to others.
The first lady said: “I must place it on record that this initiative is very much in line with the developmental agenda of the present administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu as captured in T.H.E.M.E.S.”
According to her, the T.H.E.M.E.S stands for Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy; Entertainment and Tourism; as well as Security and Governance.
Sanwo-Olu said that in line with the Education and Technology pillar, the Lagos State Government had established 17 functional Skills Acquisition Centres under the supervision of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
“Over 10 vocations are being taught there.
“They include Hair Dressing and Cosmetology, Catering and Hotel Management, Computer Training, Textile Designing/Hats Making, Beads Stringing, Barbing, Printing Technology, Shoe Making and Leatherwork, Furniture and Woodwork, Wielding, Block Laying, Adult Literacy, among others.
“As we all know, the State Government cannot do it alone as far as addressing unemployment is concerned. It is important for all hands to be on deck and this is why I urge other Local Government Areas and organisations to take a cue from the empowerment scheme of Agboyi-Ketu LCDA.
“Let me equally urge Agboyi-Ketu LCDA to ensure that this scheme is sustained and expanded for more people to benefit. We need to reduce poverty,” she said.
In his remarks, the APC Leader in the LCDA, Chief Stephen Oyedele, commended the chairman for the empowerment, distribution of transformers to communities, and construction of classrooms, among others, urging him to continue in the stead.
Mr Tunde Braimoh, member representing Kosofe Constituency Il at the Lagos State House of Assembly, also commended Osinowo for being purposeful and dutiful in alleviating the sufferings of the poor.
Braimoh urged others to buy into such a programme, to lift the masses out of poverty, put food on tables and help in security.
“Without social infrastructure, physical infrastructure can not be sustained. We have to fly the flag of APC everywhere. This is commendable,” Braimoh, Chairman, House Committee on information and Strategy, said.
In his remark, Osinowo said the empowerment was a departure from usual distribution of refrigerators, generating plants, hair dressing machine, among others.
He said that most beneficiaries of such empowerment often sold the items.
Osinowo said that the empowerment focused on enrolling unemployed for training, with monthly stipends during training and seed money after the exercise, for them to feed themselves and contribute to national development.
According to him, over 1000 unemployed subscribed, out of which 400 were shortlisted, and 60 are participating in the first batch while others will participate in subsequent batches quarterly.
The chairman said that the legislative arm of the council was working on a bye-law to legalise the scheme for continuity after his administration.
He said that many youths, elderly people and women had continued to beg for help.
A physically-challenged beneficiary of the scheme, Mr Adebayo Oduwaye, who was enrolled for leather works, commended Osinowo for remembering special people.
Another physically-challenged beneficiary, Mr Musbau Bakare, enrolled for shoe making, said that hand work with start up capital would help People Living With Disability (PLWD) to feed themselves and discontinue begging. (NAN)