A humanitarian outfit, Open Arms Outreach Organization, has trained a total of 1,045 young men and women in Ngor Okpala and Aboh Mbaise LGAs of Imo State in various skills, as part of its strategic plans to fight unemployment and eradicate poverty among youths in the state.
The organization during a three-week training and skills acquisition programme groomed the participants in 12 entrepreneurial fields namely; Interior/Exterior Decorations, Paint Production and Application, Fashion Designing and Hair Styling/Dressing.
Other skills taught during the training included; Foot Wears/ Bag making, Cosmetology, Catering/Confectioneries, Phone Repairs, Hair Barbing, Agriculture, Information Communication Technology, ICT and Cinematography.
Speaking at the closing/award of certificates ceremony held at Central School Umuohiagu, venue for the training programme, Chairman and Vision bearer of Open Arms Outreach Organization, Rev. Basil Ndubuisi Njoku, disclosed that the latest event tagged “Onyeaghalanwanneya Skills Acquisition Programme, August/September 2022 was designed to equip young people of the area with viable skills that will make the productive citizens.
He explained that offering free cash to unskilled young people, in the name of empowerment, was a misplacement of priority that only results in wasteful lifestyle such as indulgence in alcoholism, gambling and immoral activities as well as abet criminality.
Basilman, as he is fondly called by associates and admirers hinted that the exercise held at Umuohiagu was the fourth in the series of such skills acquisition programmes organized by Open Arms group in Imo State since, 2019 when he got the divine call to embark on the project.
The Umuohiagu-born entrepreneur applauded the response of the beneficiaries of the programme and prayed for their success in their chosen skills and admonished them to always trust God in order to excel in their businesses.
In her keynote address at the occasion, the Vice Chairman, Dr Mrs Helen Ndubuisi Njoku encouraged the trainees to utilize the skills acquired to improve their lives, families and the larger society by putting what they have learnt to work.
Mrs Njoku who is the wife of the Chairman of Open Arms Outreach, regretted that the government in Nigeria has so depended on oil and gas revenue sharing to the detriment of entrepreneurship, stressing that the training programme is the organization’s modest contribution to bridge the gap.
She noted with dismay that only two universities in Nigeria offer academic programme in entrepreneurial studies and enjoined the participants to become employers of labour rather than job-seekers.
Earlier, the national coordinator of the organization, Rev. Elijah Chukwudi Emmanuel noted with delight that history has been made with the successful completion of the training programme declaring that the programme was timely and highly strategic especially as it took place during the vacation coupled with the ASUU strike.
In his speech, the Eze-elect of Umuohiagu, Chief Donatus Nzeribe Nwachukwu, on behalf of the traditional authorities in Onyeaghalanwanneya Court Area, applauded the organizers and participants for the success of the programme.
He prayed God to continue to strengthen and replenish the stock of the organization just as he charged the trainees to apply the knowledge acquired practically so as to impact the society positively.
Mr James Kabiri, Miss Chiamaka Igbokwe and Engr. Emma Nwachukwu, on behalf of the beneficiaries thanked Basilman, Open Arms Outreach Organization and the resource persons for the opportunity given them to learn new skills and vouched to utilize the skills to better the society.
Highlights of the occasion included display of products of the various departments, drama presentation, award of certificates and placing the Seal of Attestation on the programme by Pastor Cletus Desmond.