By; SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri
The Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum has on Monday, declared open a 3-week ARC-P Training Programme for 968 Youth Facilitators selected from the 27 local government areas (LGAs) of the state.
Declaring open the training Programme at Sir Kashim Ibrahim College of Education Conference Hall Maiduguri, Zulum said the programme and other federal government social investment programmes are in line with his administration’s 25-year Development Plan.
Represented by the Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo, he commended President Muhammadu Buhari for introducing various social investment programmes geared towards the betterment of the lives of the citizens of the country, particularly, the vulnerable youth, women and children affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The governor said the social investment programme is about investing in people, which is part of the 10-year agenda of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government in the state, stressing that his government has already executed many projects which are towards strengthening the resilience of the people affected by insurgency.
Zulum also reaffirmed his government’s support, continued partnership and collaboration with the federal government and other international donor agencies, while advising the trainee youth facilitators to concentrate on the training in order to acquire proper knowledge to change the future of the children in the state.
The Assistant Director Federal Ministry of Finance and Research Consultant, Mrs Grace Obi Okpabio as a resource person and coordinator of the programme, said that it was organized and coordinated by the federal government under the At Risks Children Programme (ARC-P) and is expected to train 968 youth, selected across the 27 LGAs as facilitators to train at least 50,000 vulnerable children in their communities within a period of 90 days.
She added that the 968 youth facilitators are expected to mentor selected vulnerable children in their communities as beneficiaries of government’s efforts to address the high number of out-of-school children on the streets in the state and the North East region.
According to her, the training programme has aims and objectives which the youth facilitators must abide by and ensure success is achieved at the end of the training period.
She noted also that ARC-P is an ambitious and strategically designed initiative of the federal government under the office of the Vice President and led by the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Hajiya Maryam Uwais.
Opkabio further explained that the programme is a solution to the prolonged and well-documented vulnerability of children who lack social protection and the luxury of basic formal education.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Hajiya Maryam Uwais represented by Ms Titlayo Adeyomo, her Special Assistant, said that the federal government is concerned about the plight of the At Risks Children, especially the out-of-school children, who are more than 20.5 million, hence the introduction of ARC-P to reduce the number of the vulnerable children and women.
Represented by the Deputy Director, Budget and Planing, Mrs Grace Akpabio said the main objective of the programme is geared towards reducing risks associated with youth, children and other vulnerable women through education, health and empowerment of youth and children.
“This 3-week training in Borno is an opportunity to familiarize the youth with ARC-P, provide basic tools on mentoring and guidance, recognize the different skills of the trainees and areas of comparative advantage, standard training syllables as well as serve as feedback mechanism,” she said.
On his part, Alhaji Lawan Wakilbe, the Commissioner for Education, said that out of the 20.5 million children that are out of school across the country, 1.8 per cent are in Borno State and the state has 56,000 orphans, while the number of the widowes are yet to be ascertained, including the physically challenged persons, attributing the high figure to the 13 years old Boko Haram insurgency.
The State Coordinator of ARC-P Borno State, Hajiya Inna Galadima who was a former Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, appreciated the federal and state governments for their initiatives and support, while commending the efforts and concern of the coordinating federal ministry and resource persons as facilitators of the training programme.
She assured of support and cooperation of the selected youth as facilitators or trainees, adding that the 968 youth were selected from each of the 27 LGAs of the state and the training programme will take a span of three weeks, thereafter, the youth trainees will in turn, catch and ensure 50,000 children benefit from the programme which is expected to be successfully executed within 90 days for each of the trainees.
Hajiya Galadima further noted that the training programme is a continuous one and another set of youth will be engaged for same exercise with the support of the state government which Professor Babagana Zulum is already in the right track towards alleviating the suffering and hardship of the most vulnerable in the society.