NDDC enrols 1m youths for Project HOPE initiative – MD

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The Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Samuel Ogbuku, says the commission has registered over one million youths for its new empowerment programme.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the commission recently launched the Holistic Opportunity Project of Engagement (Project HOPE) for youths of the region.

Speaking at the launch of the second phase of Project HOPE in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Ogbuku said that the initiative was designed to assist unemployed Niger Delta youths.

He described the programme as a sustainable development initiative that focuses on registering, identifying, developing and offering empowerment opportunities and jobs to the region’s youths.

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He said: “The project aims to restore hope to the people of the Niger Delta in alignment with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

“The initial phase involved the registration of more than 470,000 youths, which has now expanded to over one million youths collated so far.

“This initiative is designed to promote transparency, accountability and equal opportunities for everyone to benefit from NDDC’s empowerment schemes,” he said.

Ogbuku said that the programme had eliminated political influence and interference, “which previously prevented youths from benefitting from NDDC interventions.

“Today, we are launching the second phase of the project, meaning that henceforth the selection of beneficiaries for our programmes will be from the database.

“This approach ends the previous practice, where opportunities meant for deserving youths were shared to stakeholders, friends and relatives, who did not merit the opportunity,” he said.

He said that the second phase of the project would officially commence in June, while the onboarding of communities that donated over 100 hectares of land for agriculture purposes shall begin on May 15.

He said that residents would be enrolled in various quick impact programmes, including technology, entrepreneurship, maritime, music and arts as well as internship schemes.

“We encourage the youths to seize this opportunity, which not only provides hope but also engage them in programmes that would enable them to become self-employed.

“Our goal is for our youths to become self-sustained, so that they can create job opportunities for themselves and take others off the streets,” Ogbuku said.

He further said that the commission planned to use Project HOPE to transition the Niger Delta from a focus on crude oil to becoming the technology hub in the country.

He said that the commission recently organised the first Niger Delta Tech Expo that assembled local and international tech experts to expose youths to technology.

According to him, the commission is dedicated to establishing the region as a hub for tech experts, with Project HOPE expected to turn the vision into reality.

Mr Blessing Fubara, the Resource Consultant for the project, said that the initiative would kick off immediately with the inauguration of the music and arts project, strategic communications and engagement of beneficiaries across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.

“It is time for a comprehensive development model to drive both infrastructure and socio-economic progress in the Niger Delta region,” Fubara said. (NAN)

By Desmond Ejibas

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