The Ogun State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Afolabi Afuape, has called on youths to explore opportunities in agriculture and ICT to mitigate unemployment.
Afuape made the call at the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) swearing-in ceremony for the 2017 Batch ‘A’ Stream II corps members in Sagamu, Ogun.
He said the reality of global unemployment meant that not every graduate would have access to white-collar jobs, thereby prompting the need to be innovative.
Afuape said that government at the national and state levels had already accorded priority to agriculture by making it attractive to youths through capital investment waivers.
He called for massive public and private investments in agriculture, saying that it was the panacea to unemployment.
“We will continue to have a huge unemployment crisis unless we take advantage of agriculture, which will lead to industrialisation. The value chain agriculture offers would make the nation’s economy manufacture-based and address the service-based economy that we practice,” Afuape said.
The commissioner said that Nigeria’s problem was not about resources, but of having leaders with political will to address the various challenges facing it.
He urged unemployed graduates to engage themselves productively even though white-collar jobs were scarce and not forthcoming.
The commissioner said students must learn to make the best use of information technology for productive means, rather than just for amusement sake.
Afuape urged the newly sworn corps members to feel comfortable anywhere they were posted, assuring them that their security and welfare were guaranteed.
He also advised them to take advantage of the Ogun State agricultural initiative for youths, saying government was ready to give support where necessary.
Earlier,the state NYSC Coordinator, Mrs Ejiaka Mbachi, implored the corps members to be of good behaviour and be disciplined during the period of the orientation and service year.
Mbachi said the youths were being mobilised to bring their ideas and energy to bear in the effective development of the nation as patriotic citizens.
She commended the Ogun State Government for its support in ensuring the safety of the corps members and unwavering support in the area of inputs and logistics to the NYSC scheme.
Mbachi tasked employers not to reject corps members assigned to them and to give them challenging tasks which would make their service year rewarding.
Mbachi said that the orientation exercise, which commenced on Wednesday, July 26, had a total of 2,200 corps members registered in Ogun.
This she said comprised of 1,469 male and 731 female.