Mr Abba Buka, the Managing Director, PHRC gave the charge at the 3rd Graduation Ceremony of Youth Empowerment and Skills acquisition Programme (YESAP) in Eleme, Rivers.
The beneficiaries were trained in Welding and Fabrication, Information and Communication Technology, Agriculture Vocation, Catering, Hair Dressing, Fashion and Design and Interlock/Block Moulding.
Starter packs which ranged from sewing machines, power generating sets, hair dryers and washers, welding inverters, gas cookers, to cooking pots were presented to them according to the skills they acquired.
Buka, who presented the beneficiaries with Certificates of Completion and starter packs, urged them not to sell the packs but to use them judiciously to be empowered economically.
According to him, skills acquisition and youth empowerment are no doubt a proven route to economic prosperity for any community.
‘’It affords the youth an opportunity to explore inner creative talents in them, build confidence and explore channels for useful economic involvement.
He said that it was due to the advantages that the company, in commitment to its corporate social responsibility and sustenance of its community relations, invested in the YESAP for the youth of its host communities (Eleme and Okrika).
‘’It is my hope and belief that the youth empowerment and skills acquisition programme will divert the attention of the youth from crimes and criminality as they would be economically preoccupied.
‘’And therefore reduce cases of strife and apprehension in the communities and youth restiveness,’’ the MD said.
Buka charged the host communities to continue on the part of peace and negotiation using the Joint Community Relations Committee (JCRC) platform to resolve any differences that might arise.
He assured the communities that they would be carried along in the different phases of the company’s planned rehabilitation, adding that the company was committed to maintaining the cordial relationship with the communities.
Speaking also, Mr Babatunde Sofowora, Executive Director Services, PHRC, said that the graduation of the 3rd edition of YESAP was a testament to the commitment of the company and NNPC to foster mutual and symbiotic relationship with the host communities.
The company had earlier trained 155 youths in various areas of trade in its first and second editions and the recent edition has brought the number of beneficiaries to 235.
Mr Obari Moses, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked the company for its gesture stating, ‘’we are well-trained. Acquisition of talent cannot be quantified.
‘’We are aware of the challenges in business but with the knowledge we have been given, we shall surmount the challenges.’’
Another beneficiary, Grace Obari who acquired skills in fashion and design said that she had achieved something she never achieved in her life adding, ”now I can sew by myself.
”I’m very happy about the scheme; may the Lord bless the PHRC abundantly for giving me skill to better my life and contribute my own quota to the economy.”