Daily Trust - - STAR FEATURE - From Ismail Adebayo & Hal­ima Musa in Kano

Owed sev­eral mil­lions by state gov­ern­ments, this cen­tre has al­most gone to sleep, but it has ca­pac­ity to turn around the lives of 6 mil­lion unemployed youth in the North West

It was cre­ated out of a de­sire to mo­bi­lize and re-di­rect the think­ing of the largest seg­ment of the Nige­rian youth to ac­quire the nec­es­sary skills that will en­able them be­come self-re­liant and use­ful mem­bers of the so­ci­ety, against the hith­erto pre­vail­ing sit­u­a­tion where they are be­com­ing agents of vi­o­lence, po­lit­i­cal thugs, area boys, yand­aba and vic­tims of drug abuse.

The In­sti­tute for Youth De­vel­op­ment, pop­u­larly known as Sani Abacha Cen­tre in Kano is ap­par­ently the big­gest and most cel­e­brated youth de­vel­op­ment Cen­tre in the North­ern part of Nige­ria. Within 30 years of its es­tab­lish­ment it has grad­u­ated over 50,000 youths from dif­fer­ent parts of Nige­ria and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries like Niger Re­pub­lic, Benin and Chad, in var­i­ous fields of tech­ni­cal, vocational, agri­cul­ture, re­me­dial and com­puter pro­grammes. Its founders are: Al­haji Abubakar Isa, Al­haji Aliyu Rumfa, Malam Umar Su­lenkuka, Al­haji Rabiu Bako who is presently serv­ing as Com­mis­sioner for Com­merce in Kano State, and oth­ers.

It was ob­vi­ous that founders of the in­sti­tute had noble ideas for set­ting up the place- go­ing by its mag­nif­i­cent state of the art struc­tures, con­ducive sur­round­ings and the qual­ity of the cour­ses at the Cen­tre, but their dreams and vi­sion may not take long to die, ex­cept gov­ern­ment and its rel­e­vant agen­cies quickly in­ter­vene to save their lofty idea of mas­sive youth em­pow­er­ment through vocational, tech­ni­cal, agri­cul­ture, re­me­dial and com­puter pro­grammes, which was the pri­mary essence and ob­jec­tive of the Cen­tre from be­com­ing an il­lu­sion.

When our cor­re­spon­dent vis­ited the fa­mous Abacha Youth Cen­tre it was shock­ing to find that de­spite it im­mense con­tri­bu­tions to the de­vel­op­ment of youths in the coun­try through its nu­mer­ous train­ing pro­grammes to pro­mote skilled and semi­skilled man­power, most of its teach­ing equip­ment have be­come ob­so­lete. Its fur­ni­ture, class­rooms, hos­tels and other teach­ing ma­te­ri­als were in a sorry-state due to lack of fund­ing, sup­port and a back­log of debts by gov­ern­ments and their youth em­pow­er­ment agen­cies.

Apart from the fact that many of the state gov­ern­ments in the North do not take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity that the Cen­tre of­fers to train their youths in var­i­ous skills that are avail­able at Sani Abacha Cen­tre, the few ones that took their youths there for train­ing, are yet to re­deem what they owe the in­sti­tute in the last four to six years now. It was gath­ered that Kano State gov­ern­ment alone owes the Cen­tre more than N40 mil­lion for the past four months now.

Speak­ing to our cor­re­spon­dent on the mis­sion of the in­sti­tute, its Di­rec­tor of Com­mer­cials, Mal­lam Ab­dul­samiu Musa said it was ini­tially the Kano State Youth Move­ment. “When we de­cided to have branches in other states and ac­quired a Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate by reg­is­ter­ing with the Cor­po­rate Af­fairs Com­mis­sion it be­came Youth Move­ment of Nige­ria. “Ini­tially, we were get­ting jobs for youths from the min­istries, agen­cies and other cor­po­rate bod­ies. The youths would come to us and we would write in­tro­duc­tory let­ters for them to take to the work places and they would be of­fered jobs. With time we re­al­ized those jobs were not forth­com­ing, so we de­cided that we should have a youth train­ing Cen­tre. For this to

An­other el­e­gant build­ing in the cen­tre.

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