As the effect of the #EndSARS protests reverberate across the country, the leadership of Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State has initiated a special project that would benefit hundreds of youths in not less than 300 communities in the eleven wards that make up the council.

Chairman of the council, Hon Frank Ilaboya in a chat with NDV said he is setting up the Owan West Youth Foundation that would raise N100 million to cater for the needs of four categories of youths in the next three years.

Ilaboya said he has identified prominent sons and daughters of the council across the world that would contribute to the Fund.

According to him, a by-law would soon be enacted by the council to donate one per cent of its monthly allocation to the Fund just as a board of trustees would be set up to manage the Fund.

He said: “Owan West Youth Foundation is a divine response for a better tomorrow for our teeming youths in the local government. The recent youth agitation across the country is a wake-up call that the time to re-shape and reorder our priorities as it concerns the youths is now. With the recent #EndSARS protests, it is now clear that more attention will be paid to our teeming youths.

“This Foundation is to raise N100m in the next three years for the youths of Owan West for 2021, 2022, 2023 and this money would be used to better the future of the youths.

“The graduates who have finished service, we will send them to secondary schools to go and teach and those who cannot teach will act as administration officers or they will help us man our libraries. We are going to pay them from this Fund, the same amount that the Federal Government is paying its teachers that are working in the same category.

“Another category are those who have handwork like tailoring, barbing, welding and others; we will set them fully from this Fund and the third category are those who didn’t go to school but are ready to learn. If they have not learnt any skill, we will train them and ensure that they benefit, the fourth category are those who are currently in school and are having issues paying their fees, we will assist them by paying bursary to them.”

To raise the amount, Ilaboya said “we have identified 5000 indigenes of Owan West that are working and they are going to give us N5,000 per annum for the first year which will be N25m, the next year we project N35m and then the third year N40m.  At the local government level, we are making a by-law that will set aside one per cent of our monthly allocation that will go to that fund starting from January next year and from that, we will raise a minimum of N10m. We have also identified 500 people that can give us N20,000 per annum and that will give us N10m.”

We have identified people of value and trust to act as trustees. Ten of such people have been identified that will help us drive this process. Recipients are being profiled with the distribution of 50 forms per ward for 11 wards, then there is an online registration and we will formally launch the Fund virtually.”