Before now hope seems to be fading among Internally Displaced Persons , IDPs across the country as some of them have become homeless and could barely feed in their relief camps. But optimism is coming their way as the Industrial Training Fund, ITF has concluded plans to train them in various trades, writes correspondent, GOLOK NANMWA.
At the Internally Displaced Camp in Zang secondary school, Bukuru, Jos south Local government area of Plateau state, hundreds of IDPs count themselves lucky to have escaped from their communities in the North East as Boko Haram insurgents invaded.
At the camp , most IDPs have been grappling with a wide range of challenges, beginning from poor accommodation , insufficient food, bad weather etc.
The Nigerian Pilot Sunday gathered that the fate of the IDPs were left to members of Non Governmental Organisations,NG0s who come to offer one assistance or the other, like providing clothing items to food but hope seems to be coming their way again as the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, has concluded plans to commence a skills acquisition project for Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria.
According to the Director-General, ITF, Dr. Juliet Chukkas-Onaeko, the initiative is in line with the federal government’s commitment to reduction of poverty and crime across the country.
She spoke when she paid an unscheduled visit to the camps of the victims in Jos.
The DG assured the IDPs that the agency, in line with its mandate, would provide vocational and technical trainings and help open up employment opportunities for them.
She noted that the training programmes, which kicks off very soon will enable the displaced persons in the camps to learn various trades during their stay in the facility and take the number of trained Nigerians beyond the targeted two million annually.
She said: “The Federal Government is determined to ensure that all the people in the internally displaced persons camps nationwide are empowered with skills acquisition opportunities, so that by the time the people move back to their homes, they will make what they have learnt relevant to the larger society.
“Providing skills acquisition opportunities for the internally displaced persons would go a long way towards improving their present situation whilst also reducing the urge to engage in violent or criminal activities.”
Chukkas-Onaeko commended individuals and organisations that had donated various relief materials for the welfare of the displaced persons, pointing out that while these materials were needed in the immediate and short terms, lifelong skills acquisition would be relevant now and in the future.
“It is the desire of the ITF to partner with relevant organisations in order to help these Nigerians acquire relevant skills and put them to work. This way, they will be able to rebuild their lives whenever they leave these camps,” she stated.
The DG had earlier disclosed that ITF had achieved over 70 per cent job placement for its trainees across major sectors of the Nigerian economy.
According to her, the ITF’s focus is to ensure 100 per cent employment for trainees that had benefitted from the various trainings conducted in collaboration with the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association and other organisations.
She said: “Our focus is to achieve 100 per cent employment for all trainees that come on the platform. And so far, I would say that we have done quite well. Up to 70 per cent get retained by the companies that work with us to train these people, and some go to sister companies, other companies that offer the same services and they get employed.
Continuing “Over 74,000 Nigerians have been trained in various vocational and technical areas under the 1,000 per state training scheme, while about one million benefitted from the overall ITF training projects, in-house and across industries in the last one year.” She said.
The DG noted that the ITF would continue to increase the number of trainees in the coming years to further address the issues of unemployment in the country.
Already the process of training two million annually has commenced, according to ITF.
“I have told my team that we should look at training and working on getting jobs for at least 50 per cent of four million people to be trained. That is because the need is huge. If we don’t do this considering the number of youths that graduate from the universities every year, from the polytechnics and even the secondary schools, the unemployment rate will continue to grow at a very high rate,” the DG said.
While restating the Fund’s commitment to job creation and poverty alleviation, the ITF boss said it was the ITF’s responsibility to lay the foundation for sustainable growth and development through training for impact.
Similarly, Dr. Fred Otuwarikpo, Head, Media and Publicity of the Fund had recently told newsmen that “the Fund would soon move into various camps to train IDPs, especially in the crisis ridden areas of the North-Central and North-Eastern parts of the country.
He explained that the Fund would use its best hands and ‘’state of the art’’ mobile training facilities in carrying out the training.
He added that it would collaborate with National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and other relevant agencies and stakeholders to ensure the training becomes fruitful.
‘’We feel it is high time ITF moves into the various IDPs camps in the country to create some impacts in their lives.
‘’The displaced persons are just kept and fed in the various camps, and we feel it is not healthy, they need to learn some skills so that it will also serve as a relief to the trauma they are passing through.
‘’We have the best hands that will do the job, and the state of the art mobile training facilities will be used in the training.
‘’We will collaborate with NEMA and other relevant stakeholders to ensure this plan is accomplished,’’ he said.
The image maker said the training would be in the areas of barbing and hairdressing, tailoring, bead making, decoration, garment making and host of others.
He explained that they would ensure the training of comparative advantage to the immediate environment of the displaced persons.
‘’The training will offer must be of great advantage to the immediate society the IDPs comes from; we would train them on things that is totally alien to the environment they are coming from,’’ he assured.
Similarly Wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Hajiya Aisha Buhari and that of Plateau state Mrs. Regina Lalong have recently presented relief items worth millions of naira to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs in Jos camp.
Hajiya Aisha who was represented by Wife of Nasarawa state governor, Hajiya Salamatu Almakura made the presentation to IDPs in Zawan Commercial College Hostels, Bukuru Jos in company of the wife of Plateau state governor, Mrs. Regina Lalong.
The camp manager and Director Stefanus Foundation, Mark Lipdo in his welcome address said, “The IDPs camp was established in November with over 470 families comprising of over 4,000 people.
But today some have returned home but there are still 94 families who have no home to return to in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno state.
There are currently 38 males, 88 females and 340 children totaling 466 individuals; while over 300 families have been successfully integrated into various host communities.
Mr. Lipdo said, “We have over 5,000 IDPs currently in Panda and Karu local governments of Nasarawa state”
In her remarks, Wife of the Plateau state governor, Mrs. Regina Lalong said, “It is with heavy heart that I stand before you to address fellow women and children who are victims of insecurity in the country.
“I am here with the wife of our President who has come all the way because of you and because of the level of inconveniences you faced as a result of your displacement from your various homes.
“As women and mothers we will do our best to make sure we cuison the effect of whatever you are passing through at the moment and to also encourage you that this moment is temporal.
In her remarks, Hajiya Aisha Buhari who was represented by Hajiya Almakura said, “The Wife of our President have received information about your presence in this camp and she has asked me to come and see you on her behalf.
“These few items have been assembled by the Wife of our President and the Wife of Plateau state governor as a show of love and to prove that we all share in your moment of hardship.
“Sine I am here and have seen your situation, I will go and report back to the First Lady and she is prepared to take further action to alleviate your sufferings.
“Please don’t think your present condition is going to be permanent, the government of President Buhari is very passionate and committed to do all that is possible to return you to your various homes to continue with your normal life as you used to do.
“So I encourage you to remain calm, hopeful and be prayerful while the federal government proffers lasting solution towards your rehabilitation”