DG of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Dr. Nasir Mohammed Ladan, said one of the directorate’s goals in 2020 towards creating employment and mitigating poverty is empowerment of Nigerians at the grassroots, thereby discouraging the mass migration to urban areas.
What are your plans for 2020?
When I came to NDE in 2017, we targeted the federal government, in 2018 we targeted states, in 2019 we targeted local governments, in 2020 we are targeting wards, because we think unemployment and poverty, if we can curb them at the rural areas, then it would be easier to mitigate them in the urban areas.
People from the rural areas troop to the urban areas in search for jobs and greener pasture, but when they have what to do, they prefer to remain in their communities, that was why we first targeted federal level, states, local governments; and now is time for the ward level.
At the LGA stage, we picked 50 people from each local government. For example, we picked 10 carpenters, 10 plumbers, 10 phone experts, 10 electricians, and a host of others, and they are engaged.
Now at the ward level, we are targeting 10 persons from each ward across the country. It is something achievable; we can do it. We have the support of the government.
In 2020, as I have always said, white-collar jobs are not there and you cannot depend on your parents because for you to receive today, tomorrow, it only comes from God, one day they will get tired of you. Let them keep their pride aside, degree or no degree; use your brain, your hands, and skills so that you can have something doing. I am advising them to go forward, we can train them on the trade they want to be trained on, so that they can have their own income and be independent.
How are you working with the International Labour Organisation to integrate the returning migrants?
We have been attending a lot of meetings in Geneva as far as ILO is concerned and we had a lot of deliberations. We are even pushing that ILO should recognize certificates from NDE. That aside, for the returnees from South Africa and from Italy, the last time we were in Edo State we went to their shelter with Governor Godwin Obaseki. We met the young women there and we had several meetings with them. We are in collaboration with NEMA to bring them back home, put them in a shelter and then they come to us for training based on what they want to be trained on. We train them and settle them so that they can be on their own.
One other issue disturbing stakeholders is that of IDPs. We have them in the North East, even the North Central, is your intervention reaching them?
In 2018 we had 76,000 people across the country; 2000 within the states. For states like Katsina, Kano, Lagos and Rivers we gave 4000 raining slots each. There was a special training we gave the IDPs. We took about 11,300 of them, we trained them on various things that we placed priority on. We have already sent all that were registered to the various states in terms of logistics.
How are you collaborating with the NYSC, and do you think young graduates looking for white-collar jobs will be willing to key into your initiative and become self-reliant?
Government policies sometimes are very difficult to change, but left for me some of the state of the art equipment I saw in most science universities and polytechnics I think government should not just award degrees only based on character and learning, there should be a situation where at least you train in one trade before you graduate so that when you come out of the university, and white collar job isn’t there, you will have something to fall back on.
So, in this regard, there is a programme in the NDE called GAP (Graduate Attachment Programme) for those of them that feel that they can learn from artisans or craftsmen. We look for bigger companies and attach them so they can learn something.
Even those that studied law but are sitting at home doing nothing, we look for credible law firms within their locality and attach them, and pay them N15,000 monthly.
There is also an initiative called Graduate Teaching Scheme where we employ graduates to teach people who are not graduates and we pay them N10,000 monthly so we are virtually everywhere. The aim is to ensure no one is idle because we believe crimes like kidnapping, insurgency etc are part of idleness.
NDE has been in a rented apartment for 32 years, under your stewardship it now has its own permanent office, how did you achieve that?
It is all about the issue of interest. I believe there is no difference between me and the past directors general. Almost all of them are older than me, but the issue is commitment and interest. The fact is that of commitment. As I said earlier, wherever we need to talk, wherever we need to beg, wherever we need to collaborate we try and do that and, this is part of it, our efforts have paid off.
We have been engaging with EFCC, there was a time the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, paid a courtesy visit and I told him the reason I invited him, was to see where we were staying. We have been there for the past 32 years in a rented apartment. He assured us and continuously we engaged him and as God will have it we now have our own building and it is a final forfeiture, it is like we have taken over. What is left now is for us to put it in shape.