Mrs Juliet Ibekau-Nwagwu, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Justice Reform Sector has pledged to cooperate with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Youth Council on initiatives to tackle unemployment.
Ibekau-Nwagwu said this on Wednesday in Abuja when the leadership of the Council conferred her with the Nelson Mandela Leadership of Excellence Award.
She said that one of the most effective initiatives to be adopted to tackle unemployment was for governments of African countries to create functional internship opportunities for youths where they can gain experience.
Ibekau-Nwagwu explained that the major problem youths encountered when seeking jobs in the government and private sector was lack of experience as most job placement required experience.
She said that lack of places to gain experience hindered brilliant youths from contributing to the economy and nation’s development.
She said the initiative to propel internship as a viable means to tackle unemployment would be championed by the JC Ibekaku Hope Project.
“We can change that narrative. There is a need for the government in Nigeria and Africa to create the kind of internship opportunity we have in Europe, America.
“This internship means that when you graduate from school, it is not just about youth service but government can find a way to place you either with a government or private agency where you can learn and later be employed.
“We do not want our young people to be working round the street and when it is time for them to work they will say they are not experienced.
“We can create internship opportunities for them.
“Government has to develop policies that will support this and this is where the ECOWAS youth council comes in and that is something I can support working with you people.
“We will do a concept note to that effect and start with presidents across the continent and give them an idea on how to implement it.”
Commending the Npower scheme, an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari in empowering youths, she recommended that the scheme be restructured and properly implemented to make meaningful impact on the beneficiaries.
According to her, it goes beyond empowering youths with just N20,000 but creating a sustainable policy that would be more beneficial.
She says when unemployment is adequately tackled, it will reduce the level of insecurity in the country.
She said unemployment was one of the root causes of violence and crimes.
She said the J.C Ibekaku Hope Project continued to train and assist graduates to access employment and skills building in both the government and private sector of the economy.
Ibekau-Nwagwu commended the council for recoginising her efforts and urged the members to recoginise more women doing great in carrying out several interventions in various sectors.
She also called on men to support women, especially in the political space where they were being marginalised.
Presenting the award to her, Amb. Seun Williams, President of the Council, commended Ibekau-Nwagwu in her interventions in empowering women, youths and children and her humanitarian assistance.
Williams, who was represented by Vice president of the Council, Epah Pablo, said that the Council had its search light across Africa and recoginsed those who did exceptionally well in supporting African Youths.
Williams lauded Ibekau-Nwagwu for using her position in government to contribute to justice reforms and the fight against corruption.
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