The Akwa Ibom House of Assembly has passed a bill for the creation of N3 billion fund for youth development in the state.
The bill, which was passed on March 19, was sponsored by the member representing Ini State Constituency, Emmanuel Ekpenyong, after it was proposed by Youth Alive Foundation, and other civil society organisations in the state.
The money would fund programmes that could create job opportunities for young people in the state when the bill is eventually signed into law by the state governor, Udom Emmanuel.
Apart from a deposit from the state government, other expected sources of money for the fund include grants, loans, and subventions from donor agencies and international organisations.
The bill stated that only indigenes of the state who are between the ages of 18 and 45 could “benefit from the fund or participate in any project or programme initiated by or co-sponsored by the fund”.
The state assembly presided over by the Speaker, Onofiok Luke, believes that the bill when signed into law would aide employment-creation in the state.
Akwa Ibom is among the states with the highest unemployment rates in the country, despite being one of Nigeria’s richest states because of the oil drilled in the state.
Mr Emmanuel, who has just won re-election for a second term as governor, has been on pushed efforts to industrialise the state with the hope of providing business and job opportunities for the growing population.
Hanson Johnson, an IT specialist and country mentor to Google developers in Nigeria, applauded the Akwa Ibom assembly for passing the bill which he said was a “vital tool” that could help Mr Emmanuel “finish well” in his second term as governor of the state.
Mr Johnson told PREMIUM TIMES that the bill, when signed into law, would certainly help to tackle crises associated with youth in the state.
“I am working directly with young people and I know a couple of them who have developed prototypes of their ideas but cannot launch out because of the challenges the AKYDF law is coming to solve.
“I see Akwa Ibom birthing many successful entrepreneurs in the coming years, I see sustainable growth and better well-being of our people if this is professionally handled,” Mr Johnson said.