African ICT Foundation empowers youths on skill acquisition
By James Ezema -Vanguard
To ensure reduction in unemployment, poverty, crime and engender Information and Communications Technology, ICT literacy, African ICT Foundation is assisting Nigerian youths across the country to acquire ICT skills. In asserting its commitment to these goals and add momentum to ICT awareness and appreciation among youths, women and prison inmates in both urban and rural areas in Africa, the foundation said it has in the last 15 months of its establishment, empowered no fewer than 500 youths at the grassroots in the country.
Also, to make its contribution to the post-amnesty programme of the Federal Government and to ensure that relative peace already attained in the Niger Delta is sustained, the Foundation has proposed to train ex-militants and other youths in the region on Information Technology in order to get them positively engaged and contribute their bit to national development.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony for its recent batch of 200 trained youths held at Qua Iboe Church Cathedral, Surulere, Lagos, the President of the foundation, Mr. Emmanuel Bassey disclosed that the foundation plan to train Niger Delta youths would drastically reduce criminality in the region.
Chairman of the occasion, Brig. Gen. Philip Atere (rtd) on his speech advised Nigerian youths to take advantage of the free ICT programme, which he described as a springboard for both employed and unemployed youths, and acquire ICT skills. The event was attended by notable Nigerians including Lt-Col Joseph Akpan, Mr. Sam Bassey, Rev. Dr. Paul Udensi and Lt-Col Patience Akpan, among others.
Mr. Bassey, who is an ICT experts, said the proposal to train ex-militant in the Niger Delta is tagged From Militancy to Digital Revolution, maintaining that ICT in today’s world remains the only tool for human development in any nation. In his words: ICT is the only tool for human development in any nation. Look at Japan today, it was the acknowledgement of ICT by the Japanese government that took them to where they are now. In Nigeria, we have only utilised one percent of ICT here.
According to him, we’ve written to the National Orientation Agency and the Ministry of Niger Delta Development and if the government will give the Niger Delta youths ICT, it will be a good strategy to take them away from militancy. For Bassey, every programme has to do with orientation, if our proposal is accepted, we throw what we call boot camp, an orientation programme and they will see the need.
Definitely, everyone needs ICT, even the fishermen need ICT because they need boats that can be controlled by the press of the button. He advised that if Nigeria wants to meet its developmental and infra-structural challenges, the only option was to massively invest in ICT skill acquisition training, saying that it was the acknowledgement of ICT that placed a country like Japan where they are today.
He urged the beneficiaries to put their knowledge to practice, promising that any of them who wished to take advanced ICT studies can do so at subsidised rate with the foundation partners, adding that the foundation plan to affiliate with some Nigerian universities to enable its grandaunts pursue ICT related course of study from year two in such universities have reached advanced stage.