By Sumaila Ogbaje
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, on Thursday announced scholarship for the best male and best female trainees who graduated from the Nigerian Army Officers Wives’ Association (NAOWA) training institute.
Yahaya made the announcement at the graduation of the third batch of 264 barrack youths in the NAOWA Youth Development Project in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NAOWA graduated 232 youths in the first batch of trainees and 231 youths in the second batch.
Mr Sanusi Abubakar was announced as the best male trainee in the third batch that graduated on Thursday, while Miss Jennifer Okechukwu was announced as the best in the female category.
Gen. Yahaya said the scholarship offer would cover academic expenses in any institution of higher learning of the choice of the beneficiary.
The Nigerian Army, he said, would fund the scholarship as a way of encouraging barrack youths to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.
He said the Nigerian army had always emphasised the need to guide youths towards realising their dreams and ambitions, adding that the report of their conduct from the first batch to the present was encouraging.
“What you have just done was to graduate another batch of youths from our barracks trained in various skills in four areas of computer and Information Technology management.
“Then there are those who have acquired skills in tailoring and fashion designing. There are 32 of them in fashion designing and they have all been given starter packs.
“So, as they leave now, they are already established to start businesses and have been empowered in various skills of their interests.
“We have also given scholarships to the best two. That is the best male and best female to further their education anywhere they want and we will support them.
“Youth development is of importance for the Nigerian army and we will continue to support it.
“We have abundance of youths in the barracks with a lot of skills and competencies that we will continue to harness so that we can make them better people,’’ he said.
Yahaya said the army remained committed to supporting and giving back to the society, adding that NAOWA had continued to ensure that barrack children and indeed the society was empowered.
He said that efforts would be made to extend the youth project to all army formations and units across the country to support the youths.
He commended NAOWA for the initiative and challenged the association to explore more areas of need that would be of great support for the future development of youths.
Yahaya advised the trainees to put in more efforts and tenacity to ensure that the skills acquired did not go to waste, urging them to make the skills the good currency that they could leverage on.
In her remarks, President of NAOWA and wife of the Chief of Army Staff, Mrs Salamatu Yahaya, said the project was initiated to positively engage youths within the barracks community.
This, she explained was done by committing the youths to learning in the fields of ICT and vocational and entrepreneurial skills that would enhance their academic and career pursuits and their productivity.
Mrs Yahaya said the third batch had 32 youths that participated in a three-month intensive training in fashion designing and tailoring in addition to the ICT trainees.
She said the introduction of fashion designing and tailoring expanded the earlier training module which was limited to ICT.
According to her, the ICT segment of the training is conducted by Unites Cisco Networking Academy, technical facilitators of the programme.
The fashion designing and tailoring trainings were carried out by instructors at the NAOWA Institute of Management and Technology, she added.
“In continuation of what we did during the first and second graduation ceremonies, we shall present brand new laptop computers to the best three graduating trainees in each of the five ICT courses.
“Additionally, we shall be presenting starter packs, comprising of brand new industrial sewing and weaving machines to all the 32 graduating trainees of fashion designing and tailoring.
“The laptops would be issued to 17 ICT trainees, who distinguished themselves by their conduct and outstanding performance as a mark of recognition of excellence and encouragement for continuous learning for the recipients.
“The sewing and weaving machines that would be issued to the graduating trainees of fashion designing and tailoring are our way of actualising their wants and zeal for learning and self-empowerment.
“It is our hope that these machines would enable the beneficiaries to begin work immediately with their acquired skills, and would enable them to generate funds to cater to their needs,” she said.
In her intervention, a former president of NAOWA, Mrs Hadiza Dambazzau, commended the association for upholding and improving on the objectives of NAOWA.
She urged the current leadership to continue to build on the legacy of the founding mothers of the association and urged barracks youths to take advantage of the opportunities to better their future.
The best graduating trainee, Miss Jennifer Okechukwu, thanked the NAOWA president for her thoughtfulness towards barracks youths to bring out the best in them.
Okechukwu said the training had exposed her to a lot of skills in ICT and pledged to make use of the skills to actualise her dreams and aspirations. (NAN)