The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei has commended the plans by a Non-Governmental Organisation to build a skill acquisition centre in Etche, Rivers State.
Speaking when he received a delegation from the Etche America Foundation, USA, at the NDDC permanent headquarters, Prof Pondei said that the skills centre was a laudable project aimed at improving lives of the peoples of the Niger Delta region.
He observed that skills acquisition and human capital development were some of the key areas the Federal Government was paying special attention to in order to engage the youths.
Pondei said: “We thank you for being altruistic, leaving the comfort of your base in US to return to give back to your community. This is commendable and we urge other communities to emulate your efforts.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the project was worth supporting but noted that the Commission was currently going through some financial challenges. He counseled for patience, as the budget of the Commission had not been approved, hence there was a limitation on how much the Commission could do.
For the skill acquisition centre to be sustainable, the NDDC boss advised the foundation to make a conscious effort to provide instructors who will keep the project running. “We hope that the centre will not be limited to serving only people from Etche but should be open to all Niger Delta people,” Pondei said.
Earlier in his address, the President of Etche America Foundation USA, Dr. Richard Nwankwoala, commended the NDDC for its interventionist programmes in the Niger Delta region which has brought succor to the peoples of the region.
He called on the NDDC to support the foundation in setting up Skills Acquisition Centers in Etche communities in Rivers State noting that they had been partners in the empowerment of the people of the Niger Delta region.
Nwankwoala appealed to the NDDC to support the programmes of the Etche America Foundation, which included building roads that would connect Etche communities and renovation of hospitals in the area.
He said: “We seek financial assistance from you which will enable us to complete our Skill Acquisition programme that we have embarked upon as a way of engaging and empowering the youths in Etche land.
“Etche America Foundation (EAF), has planned to build a Skills Acquisition Centre to train the youths in various skills which includes Poultry and Fishery, Auto-technical, Electricals, Plumbing, Tiling, Welding, Leatherworks (shoes and bags making), Fashion Design and Catering Services.”
He said that their objective was to get the youths to acquire meaningful and self-sustaining skills that would improve their lives, support their families and communities and thus reduce criminality in the country.