Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) has condemned the mass movement of youths from the Niger Delta region from illegal routes and has proffered to find solutions in collaboration with Bayelsa government.
A German-based NGO, African Tide Union (ATU) and the Bayelsa government on Tuesday commenced partnership to create jobs for teeming unemployed youths as part of solutions to the Niger Delta crisis.
A 10-member team of ATU, led by the union’s President, Ms Roselyn Dressman, presented a Niger Delta Master Plan for the job-creation project to the Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (Rtd), in Government House, Yenagoa.
Speaking on the project, ATU’s Youth Ambassador, Ms Tarilaya Weber, said the master plan entitled, Reduced Migration, Activate Returnees (Red-Mas) was developed to stop the desperate migration of youths from the Niger Delta to European countries.
Weber said having watched the Niger Delta crisis from a distance, the union worked for five years to package the plan to reduce frustration among youths and create comfort for them in their areas.
According to her, the union was worried about the rising number of desperate migrants adding that last year 600,000 persons abandoned Nigeria for Europe out of which 70 percent came from the Niger Delta.
Weber said the master plan when implemented would create series of activities and projects including a Handcraft Centre where youths would be taught vocational skills to enable them to become employers of labour.
“This migration is not good for the Niger Delta region, it is draining our human resources as a minority and marginalized group and if you don’t wake up from your marginalization by yourselves, you will never come out if it.
“I employ everybody to join in this vision to find jobs for our youths, we have to make them comfortable in their own soil. In Germany or anywhere in the shores of Europe, there is nothing to take there. Things are not like the old times.
“Finding feet in Germany is very difficult especially when the youths are not educated. I can show you disheartening pictures of youths trying to cross the Sahara Desert. People die while crossing the desert and the sea.
“Apart from that they ensalve themselves, just imagine the old story of slavery coming back.
“We even give ourselves to them as slaves. Many of our children are out there in Mali, Libya wishing to come back home but they can’t come back because there is no means for them to come back.
“Some of them are used even for s3x slavery, that is why we should together look into how we can stop our children from embarking in this dangerous journey.
“As part of that we develop the Niger Delta Master plan. The problem is not only in Bayelsa, it befalls the whole of Niger Delta,” Weber said
Responding, Jonah said the state government was excited at the partnership since its motive was to engage youths in meaningful ventures.
He lamented dangers faced by youths, who tried to cross to Europe through illegal routes such as the deserts and the Mediterranean, saying it was time to build confidence among youths in the region.
He said: “Some of these migrant’s end in Libya; they couldn’t cross, others venture into the Mediterranean and in most cases, they don’t get across. The statistics is very frightening. They are so desperate at times that they don’t know about the risk, they just want to go.
“There are also agencies that exploit their vulnerability, expose them to these dangers. I am happy with the Red-Mas. This is one of the opportunities you are creating for people to return back.” Jonah appealed to the youths to embrace the opportunity offered by the partnership adding that people must embrace the attitude of hard work.
He said part of the problems was the neglect of the vocational skill components of the 6-3-3-4 educational system by the government.
“The 6-3-3-4 system clearly on paper specified what should be done to overcome the deficiency in the educational system. But for one reason or the other we haven’t been able to follow it through.
“This could be a very good example for others to follow so that vocational training is given to our youths so that when they finish they will become employers of labour. They have to restore their dignity back,” Jonah said.