Katsina: Waging War Against Poverty

Katsina, like most states of the federation, is grappling with challenges posed by youth unemployment. Though it is seen as a common phenomenon, the seemingly good news however is that, the state government has now come up with measures aimed at addressing the menace of youth unemployment in the state.

Governor Ibrahim Shema appears to have designed the strategy through the completion of the building and equipping of youth craft village where thousands of youths are currently undergoing training in different skills and trades, backed up with a recently launched loan scheme where youths were assisted with categories of loans to enable them engage in small scale business as part of measures to alleviate poverty.

The issue of unemployment and particularly the youth unemployment has been a source of concern to government at all levels, just as the attendant consequences of youth restiveness, apparent threat to security of both lives and properties have continued to be a? lingering source of worry to all.

Able bodied youths who should have been contributing to the economic fortunes of the state have been conscripted into political thugs by power monger politicians who take advantage of the rising rate of unemployment, using the youths as source of cheap labour.

In what looks like a demonstration of commitment toward tackling the menace of youth unemployment, the state government recently launched the disbursement of an interest free loan to youths drawn from the 34 local government areas of the state, targeted at assisting the unemployed youths engage in small scale businesses for self reliant.

At the launch of the disbursement of the loan, which held at Kankara town, the headquarters of Kankara local government, Shema said the state government was committed to the welfare of youths and women reiterating that “no amount of efforts is too much to improve the lots of the youths on whose shoulder lies the potentials of moving our nation to greatness”.

Shema has directed local governments areas to ensure the disbursement of an interest free loan of N10,000 each to not fewer than 200 youths in each local government area, as a first phase of the state government’s interest free loan disbursement to women and youths to address the menace of youth unemployment and poverty.

The trainees of the Youth Craft Village were, in a shorts ceremony, handed over some productive training kits for use in the shoe making, paint making, GSM handset repairs, auto- mechanic and host of other trades to reinforce and motivate the productive potentials of the youth in the state.

Shema maintained that his administration would remain committed to the task of addressing the challenges of youth unemployment and poverty and noted that peace and the much needed security could only thrive in an atmosphere where none is deprived of the essentials of food, clothing and shelter which are necessary for human existence

The state government has also outlined some policies and programmes aimed at reducing the menace of youth restiveness and unemployment to the barest minimum in the state, part of which included the state of the art, world standard youth craft village which train youths in different skills of auto-mechanic, Handset repairs, pottery, shoe making, computer repairs, electrical and electronic repairs and a host of other trades and skills,

The craft village described by many as a state of the art youth development centre, is to provide the youths state with the opportunity of being exposed to, and ultimately receive trainings in different trades and skills of handset repairs, brick laying, computer repairs, carpentry and joinery, welding and fabrication, tie and dye, auto mechanic and auto electronics, wrought and iron furniture making among others.

The overall aim of the craft village is to provide a suitable avenue for the economic empowerment of the youths and subsequently, stop youth restiveness, which as rightly believed, is occasioned by idleness and poverty. The idea, as governor Shema noted, is to teach the youth how to catch fish so as to be masters of themselves.

Reaffirming government’s commitment to address unemployment, Shema said the youth craft village was set up to train unemployed youths and provide them with equipment and disclosed that from inception of the craft village to date, about 3000 youths had been trained.

Katsina is one of the densely populated states in the country with no fewer than six million people, a significant percent of which fall within the category of youth, who are mostly unemployed though employable. This phenomenon has led to the incidence of insecurity and crimes in different parts of the state, believed to be perpetrated by the youths.

Against this background, Shema said, “We shall remain committed to the task of addressing the challenges of poverty and youth unemployment by providing opportunities for the youth and all the unemployed, to develop their potentials to the fullest”.