Agribusiness: Youths trained by Oyo government in Nasarawa allege neglect

By Our Reporter

A GROUP of unemployed youths trained in Agribusiness by the Oyo State government has expressed frustration over the neglect its members suffered two years after attending the programme.

Some trainees who spoke to The ICIR in Ibadan, the state capital, called on Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration to fulfil its promise to the scores of unemployed youths who participated in the training programme in Nasarawa State.

In 2021, Makinde, during a stakeholders consultative meeting on the 2022 budget, said he had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the CSS Global Integrated Farms in Nasarawa State to train 3,300 youths from the state on agriculture and agribusiness.

“I am happy to tell you that we just signed an MoU with CSS Farms in Nasarawa State to assist us in training 3,300 youths in agriculture and agribusiness. The training will last two weeks. The first set will start on August 1, with 150 participants for every batch. By the end of August, we would have trained 600 of them,” Makinde said.

During his first term in office, the governor had said he would reduce youth unemployment by training them in the agricultural value chain. 

Makinde then came up with the Youth Entrepreneurship In Agribusiness Program (YEAP) initiative to achieve his goal.

It was gathered that two years later, most of the trained youths are still waiting to receive the empowerment package promised by the governor after their training. 

The ICIR found out that most of them are unemployed or underemployed youths who applied for YEAP in 2021.

They were trained in various aspects of agriculture over two weeks and had about a dozen facilitators.

Sharing his experience, one trainee, Olasunkanmi Afolabi, said nothing had happened since he concluded the training.

“We were lied to. They did not give us anything. We went there to risk our lives. We did the necessary things before we left Nasarawa. They promised to give us money, but they did not give us anything”, he alleged.

“Since the very day we left Nasarawa, we did not hear anything from them again.

“We believe they heard about us planning to see the governor. Along the line, they called back some people and took them to Fashola’s Farm to show them some land, but they returned everyone to their local government that their chairman would get land for them and they would give them huge money, but still, nothing has happened.

“We are still discussing maybe we should see him, but we are being told we can’t see him (the governor). We decided to go to the media to talk because we don’t know if people have received the money from the government but have refused to disburse it,” Afolabi said.

Another trainee, Segun Olosunde, who said he was in Batch B, observed that the government promised to give them money after the training, and they were given forms to fill in with their details, including Bank Verification Number (BVN), which they submitted, along with the name of a guarantor.

He said a facilitator at the training told participants that the money was a grant but did not disclose the total amount, and nothing came out of it since then.

Olosunde, selected from the Oluyole Local Government Area, said he expected the government to make good its promise.

Samson Olayinka, another beneficiary of the training, shared the same experience. He said they had great hopes after the training in Nasarawa, which he described as robust.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the state government, Debo Akande, the Executive Assistant to Governor Makinde on Agribusiness, said the government had started to engage the youths trained in Nasarawa.

He said about half of the 3,000 youths trained had been empowered.

“We have started engaging YEAP members trained at CSS FARMS Nasarawa state-sponsored by OYSG,” he stated.

“They have started benefitting from OYOCARES Projects from August last year (2022), majorly on agric inputs services such as cassava cuttings, maize deeds, NPK 20-10-10 fertilizer, urea fertilizer, rice seeds, tomatoes, and herbicides.

“Some YEAP members also benefited from assets-based-farm activities such as pump machines and accessories, knapsacks and PPE, mechanical weeders, battery cages, cassava graters and pressers, rice threshers and maize threshers,” Akande said.

He noted that a demand-driven approach was used in sharing the implements, that is, “ask for what you need”, and if it’s within our reach or among the activities we have, then you shall be given.

“We have empowered so far 1,450 YEAP members. Another round of 410 YEAP members would benefit from assets-based equipment on or before December.

Akande said, however, that some of these YEAP members were told to go to the LGAs for registration with NCARES facilitators, but they didn’t go.

Responding to Akande’s claims, Olayinka said Akande wasn’t forthcoming with the truth. He said those who reported at their LGAs were taken to Fasola’s Farm and attached to a company that used them like labourers. He said they were told they would be paid after the harvest sale.

“That was how those who went to Fasola came back disappointed because that was not the orientation and idea they got from the training in Nasarawa and the promise made by Governor Makinde at the training,” Olayinka said.

Another youth who participated in the programme but chose to remain anonymous also faulted Akande’s claim.




     

     

    “So if they have empowered 50 per cent batch by batch, at least they start from batch A, Batch B, So why did they jumped batch B?

    “Why haven’t I heard of anything?” he asked.

     He said the government would have just informed them of an opportunity to train them instead of telling them they wanted to empower them.

    “So what’s the essence of raising people’s hopes without doing anything about it?” he reiterated. 

    A reporter with the ICIR
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    4 COMMENTS

    1. Honestly am part of the yeap beneficiary, nothing is done up till now.i wonder the kind of leader we have in our country.what is the purpose of training and moving us down to nasarawa without empower us. I have loose hope in this government already.its well with us.

    2. We please with our beloved Governor to fulfill his promise towards YEAP program thanks and God bless our beloved State.

    3. We please the government of Our state to fulfill the promise they make. God will help and blesses our beloved Governor.

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