The Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association has trained and empowered a total of 948 barracks youths in various fields of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and other skills in the last one year.
The outgoing President of NAOWA, Mrs Salamatu Yahaya, made this known at the graduation of the fourth and fifth batches of NAOWA Youth Development Projects on Thursday in Abuja.
Yahaya expressed happiness that NAOWA under her leadership had been able to train and empower the youths in ICT, fashion design and tailoring.
She said the youths were also trained in various fields of ICT, namely Get Connected, Python for Beginners, Introduction to Cybersecurity, Information and Communication Technology essentials and web design.
“Today, I am here to graduate the 4th and 5th batches of the ICT trainees and the second batch of the fashion design and tailoring trainees.
“I am indeed very fulfilled and happy to mention that this is the last graduation ceremony that I will host as the President NAOWA and our Youth Enterprise Development Projects is one of my most cherished and rewarding programme.
“I consider it so because of its resounding positive impacts on the lives of the beneficiaries, their families, the barrack community and the society at large.
“The training of these youths is indeed contributing immensely in enhancing their academic prowess as well as their productivity in various ways of life.
“From inception of the programme, we have successfully trained and graduated 695 youths in various fields and today we are graduating an additional 253 youths,” she said.
Yahaya said that out of the 253 beneficiaries, 28 would receive brand new laptop computers, including the best three graduating trainees in each of the five ICT courses.
She added that starter packs comprising of brand new industrial machines, sewing machines and weaving machines would also be presented to all graduating trainees of fashion design and tailoring.
According to her, the laptop computers to be issued is a mark of recognition of excellence and encouragement for continuous learning.
“Similarly, sewing and weaving machines would be issued as our own way of actualising the trainees’ self empowerment.”
The outgoing Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, represented by the Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, Maj.-Gen. Markus Kangye, commended NAOWA for for its commitment to uplifting the youths and preparing them for a better future.
He said the association has been involved in construction and provision of medical facilities and schools in support of the Nigerian army, to improve the welfare of personnel and their families.
He said the training programme was meant to promote the talents inherent in the youths, and advised the trainees to make use of the knowledge acquired effectively.
The wife of the Parmanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Mrs Zainab Kana, commended NAOWA for supporting the young generation by equipping them with skills and knowledge.
Kana said that it was important to properly train and provide the youths as future leaders, with necessary skills necessary to face the challenges of the future.
According to her, the country is veiled by a youth bulge as a result of the country’s demographic data.
“If we look at the demographic transition of Nigeria, we would see that the changing patterns of mortality, fertility, growth rates will continue to translate into an increase in youth population.
“Therefore, we as leaders of the country today have to put our mechanisms and systems in place in order to reap the demographic dividends.
“Let me refer us to a World Bank prediction for Nigeria, which projects Nigeria’s population to reach 400 million by 2050 thereby doubling the current estimates.
“This represents a demographic nightmare for the country that is already beset with several development challenges.
“This can be a time bomb, but we have the opportunity of changing the narration from doom to prosperity,” she said.
Kana encouraged the trainees to use the knowledge in productive ways to further strengthen the economy.