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Trainees protest as Anambra empowers 53 unemployed youths

No fewer than 53 unemployed youths have been empowered by the Anambra State government under the fourth batch of the “One Youth One Skill” training empowerment programme of the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy.

The beneficiaries, who were among the over 200 trained in different skills, including cosmetology, barbing, shoe-making, confectioneries, solar and CCTV installation, were empowered with various skills and starter packs, from microwave ovens to sets of clippers, toolboxes, manicure/pedicure, among others.

While the lucky participants were jubilating after receiving their packages, some trainees whose names were not shortlisted, however, expressed disappointment over the selection process, insisting they were shortchanged.

One of them, who preferred anonymity, said he abandoned the menial job he was doing to participate in the training due to confidence in the programme.

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“I couldn’t believe my eyes after going through the list because I’m very sure I passed the exam. I’m totally disappointed and don’t think I’ll have anything to do with what the government is doing,” he said.

Another trainee, who simply identified herself as Chinenye, alleged some of the beneficiaries did not undergo the two-week training.

But the commissioner in charge of the ministry, Theresa Obiekezie, dismissed the allegations, insisting the selection processes were transparent and merit-based.

“Out of the 4 million youths in the state, you were singled out for the training. Each of you got a transport allowance of N10,000 and you were trained free of charge. Someone paid for the training and that’s the governor,” said Obiekezie, a professor.

“At the beginning, you were told that 50 of you will be empowered and today, we’re empowering 53 persons and you said you are not happy.

“That’s an unfair statement, very unfair. If there’s something else we want to give you, I won’t ask for that, because a grateful heart gets more,” she said.

The commissioner said many of the trainees were graduates, yet had no jobs even after paying school fees.

“I don’t think you’ll beat anybody up. Today someone else paid for you, yet you said you’re not happy. Maybe another set of youths will be happy.

“In every exam, everyone might pass but some will do better than others. I didn’t examine you. I rather received the scores from your tutors. I personally went round all the centres and the exams were videoed,” she said.

While challenging the successful candidates to put to immediate use the starter packs given to them, Obiekezie assured those who were not considered of further assistance by the government.

“We’re not dropping any of them. Rather, they will continue with internships to perfect their skills under coaching and mentoring arrangements. We will also source for other ways to assist them, including grants and loans,” she assured.

One of the trainers, Samuel Otugo, who noted reactions of the aggrieved trainees were not unexpected, insisted the selection process was based on merit.

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