The Senator representing Ondo South Senatorial District Nicholas Tofowomo has urged state governors in Nigeria to cut their security votes into two and deploy them towards addressing rising unemployment in the country.
Tofowomo made the call at the end of a seven-day solar power empowerment programme, as one of his 2020 constituency projects, for more than 100 youth in Ondo South Senatorial District in Ile-Oluji on Sunday.
“Majority of the people who demonstrated during the #EndSARS protests were youth and it was because they don’t have jobs. If you have an office to go to, you will not be demonstrating here and there.
“Governors are earning about N700 million each as security votes monthly. If half of this money can go towards developing youths, in one to two years, they would have spent 2 to 3 billion naira developing youths,” he said.
Tofowomo also said he wanted the federal government to create more skills acquisition centres to address the menace of unemployment in the country.
The youth were carefully selected from the six local government areas through a constituency project, facilitated by Sen. Nicholas Tofowomo.
The empowerment programme was supervised by officials of the National Centre for Hydropower Research and Development, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
He said, “government is not doing enough in terms of creating opportunities. Nigeria is producing an average of 50,000 graduates every year and about 40,000 of them are unemployed.
“By the time you add it up for 10 years, that is about 400,000 graduates going around without jobs.
“Government should create centres to develop skills. Let us organise our youth and turn them into professionals. If the government organises such training every two months, the lives of our youth will change.”
Tofowomo said that the programme was put together to equip both employed and unemployed youth with the necessary knowledge on the need to embrace renewable/green energy, as an alternative to hydro or gas-powered electricity.
This, he said, would ensure that the trained youth tackle epileptic power supply that was now synonymous with Ondo South Senatorial District, especially in Ilaje, Ese-Odo, and other coastal areas of the state.
The lead consultant for the project, Rotimi Eniasoro, said the participants were exposed to the importance of solar systems and the advantages of renewable energy over other power sources.
Eniasoro said that the youth were also given special training on a business angle to solar system installations and how to repair and trouble-shoot solar inverters and other equipment.
“About 100 youths have been trained on how to handle the solar installation. I am confident that after this, they will become employers of labour,” he said.
The high point of the event was the presentation of cash grants to the participants to enable them to set up their own businesses.