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By Princess Simon (Bureau Chief, North-Central, in Minna)

A Minna-based entrepreneur has argued that lack of interest in learning a skill for self-sustenance as well as illiteracy among youths from a section of Nigeria, is the main cause of the increase in organized crime and criminality ravaging the entire country.

Most graduates churned out annually from universities and other tertiary institutions across Nigeria engage in skills as an added advantage to their certificates but, the most dangerous of youths being the illiterate ones and not willing to learn skills, idle away time in cities and town serving as destructive tools against the citizenry.

The Managing Director, ‘The Big Ben’s Place’, Minna, Niger state, Mr. Ben O. Emilola, made the assertion at the graduation ceremony of some students who are part of the beneficiaries of its one-month free training on Basic Fashion Course and Fashion Designing.

Emilola said he ventured into fashion designing though a graduate of Biochemistry out of a passion for the sector and the burning desire to create jobs, not waiting for non-existing white collar jobs, however, expressed regrets that most Nigerian youths were still waiting for non-existing manna from heaven.

“The realities on the ground which I must let our youths, especially the ones not privileged to further their education beyond primary or secondary and who are yet to come to terms with the realities on the ground, is that there is no more free food. They must learn a craft to survive”.

While discouraging especially the able-bodied youths who engage in begging instead of learning a skill to make a living to get themselves busy, Emilola expressed disappointment that less than 50 percent registered, completed, and graduated after the one-month intensive training.

Emilola also said he came to Niger state for the mandatory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), settled down after and started the ‘Big Ben’s Place’, a fashion outfit about three years ago and have impacted on the lives of youths who are willing to learn skills.

The entrepreneur however enumerated the challenges facing the outfit to include lack of willingness by the youths to learn a thing for their self-sustenance and dearth of funds for expansion. He, therefore, called on the Niger state government to partner Big Ben’s Place to engage more youths in the skills acquisition.

The ‘Big Ben’ as he is fondly called, said it is unfortunate that many were yet to come to terms on the high scarcity of government-paid jobs in Nigeria today hence the need for governments to support private sector who are ready and willing to make the necessary sacrifice to train the unemployed free as a way to checking unemployment and insecurity.

So far, Big Ben’s Place has trained about 50 persons, including corps members, undergraduates and the uneducated under its one month free intensive training on both native and western designs, this according to Emilola, is part of his accomplished dreams.

Some of the beneficiaries in an interview based on what they termed, ‘very tasking but rewarding experiences’ during the one month free training expressed appreciation to Mr. Ben Emilola for sacrificing his time and resources in training willing youths on many fashion skills. NNL.

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