By Agaba Igoche
When Governor Samuel Ortom took over office, he highlighted specific areas of concern which included youth empowerment, unemployment and security on his priority list, the latter being a direct consequence of the former two.
In keeping with this resolve the government introduced the amnesty programme which aimed at luring youth away from criminal activities and engaging them gainfully, however this was marred with serial hitches and couldn’t fully create the needed impact.
There was the constant encouragement and advertisement of Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and Bank of Industry (BOI) loan offers but these also failed to cause the desired turn around.
With the dwindling state resources and inability to raise the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to provide for salaries due to new recruits (if the state intended to employ), youth empowerment remained a mirage with no plausible end in sight.
However when the Governor in August 2019, announced the appointment of Mr. Andrew Ayabam as the Executive Chairman, Benue Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) not very few youth knew their fortunes were to turn around as they began trooping to the headquarters of BIRS, with Curriculum Vitae in hand even as there was yet to be an official announcement for recruitment of new staff.
Already in his previous outing as Executive chairman, Mr. Ayabam had already employed over 2000 young graduates into BIRS, who were later absorbed into the state civil service.
This recruitment was a landmark achievement in the life of the previous administration as the recruitment was recorded as the only recruitment exercise in the said period.
With this hindsight came the pressure and the flood of Curriculum Vitae.
On his return, BIRS has already offered casual employment to 417 youth graduates to add to the already employed youth force of the Internal Revenue Service, bringing the total of youth working for BIRS to an average of 800 youth empowered by this process.
Already this has become a model worthy of emulation as over 80% of the board’s constitution is youth driven and has proven that if like BIRS, other state agencies are proper positioned there is a strong likelihood to put a lasting end to youth unemployment.
Agaba Igoche writes from Ojira, Otukpo Local Government of Benue Sate.