The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated the operational guidelines for the implementation of the Graduate and Youth Empowerment programme.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, while inaugurating the programme in Abuja, said it was an agricultural scheme for unemployed youths to contribute their quota to national development.
According to him, the greatest threat to the Nigerian economy is the army of unemployed youths roaming the streets.
Adamu said the Federal Government had realised that with optimised agriculture potential in all River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs), Nigeria could promote food security and socio-economic development.
“The highest threat to our nationhood today is the army of unemployed youths on the street.
“The Graduate and Youth Empowerment programme and the guidelines that we have inaugurated will therefore redirect the energy of the Nigerian youth positively to agricultural productivity and making them successful entrepreneurs.
“I, therefore, urge the RBDAs and all other stakeholders to abide by the guidelines and determined to make the programme a success,” he said.
He said it was the hope of the ministry to see that the scheme was extended to all 109 senatorial districts in the country.
He pointed out that the scheme, which began with the pilot river basin in Kampe Irrigation project in Kogi, has extended to eight other river basins with immense progress.
He said the beneficiaries had been mandated to establish their own agriculture ventures, thereby creating a multiplier effect for sustainability.
The minister said the objective of the scheme was to optimise the agricultural potential in each river basin to improve food production and the nation’s food security.
On the criteria for youth participation in the scheme, the Special Assistant, Technical to the Minister, Mr Taoheed Amusan, said participant should be able bodied, willing graduates of either universities or polytechnics, and must be interested in agriculture.
Amusan said the participants should also be interested in making a career in farming and becoming agricultural entrepreneurs.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Ministry of Water Resources has begun implementation of the Blueprint and Action Plan to revitalise the 12 River Basin Authorities.
One of the steps is the inauguration of the Graduate and Youth Empowerment Programme to create job opportunities through irrigation farming and aquaculture.