Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Friday, said that his administration would address the growing youth unemployment in the state by engaging a teeming number of them through a direct labour system for public works and infrastructure.
This step, he noted, will reduce the number of unemployed youths and keep them occupied and able to make ends meet.
The governor stated this while inspecting an ongoing road project at Jankata-Bembow-Apata Road, via Akala Express, Ibadan, saying the government needs to engage the youths, as, according to him, an idle hand is a devil’s workshop.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor made the position against the backdrop of youth restiveness in the last few days, stating that his government has heard the youths and that it will design a sustainable way to engage them so as to make them self-reliant.
He said: “Well, I will still say to the people of Oyo State that we have listened to the youths. We are designing a sustainable way to engage them, because I will continue to say that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. We have to engage our youths. We will design means.
“One of the things we are currently considering is a direct labour agency that can absorb some of the youths, even if it is just for fixing our roads, putting our drainages in place. We just have to engage them one way or the other.
“Also, from the agriculture standpoint, we want as many of them as possible to be attracted to agribusiness.”
While inspecting the road, which has been abandoned since 2011, but was re-started by his administration, Governor Makinde said that the road is quite strategic, adding that when it is completed, it will help to decongest roads and ease vehicular movement in the areas.
He added that despite the fact that the contractor handling the road has not been mobilized, he has demonstrated the readiness to do the work.
The governor said: “This project has been abandoned since 2011. It was started during Governor [Adebayo] Alao-Akala’s time and it is very strategic, because people going to Lagos from Abeokuta and vice-versa, can bypass Ring Road.
“If you are coming from Lagos and you want to go to Apata, you also don’t need to go through Ring Road anymore if this road is completed.
“The contractor has mobilised but we are still putting together the paper works for their payment. But, at least, even without payment, they have demonstrated readiness to do the work. I think we are on course with that road project,” he added.
Addressing the pockets of violence and youth restiveness in some parts of Ibadan, the state capital, in the last few days, Governor Makinde stated that the situation has been brought under control, saying that things had become better as people could move peacefully and do their business activities without any hindrance.
“Things are getting better. We passed through Beere, Yemetu, Challenge and we saw that people were just eager to carry on with their lives and go on with their business activities. I believe we are doing better,” he said.