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By NBF News
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With the opening of a world class pipe and plate welding training institute in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, there are hopes that Nigerian youths, especially repentant Niger Delta militants, can now be trained by foreign experts in the country.

The institute, which is run by Inspection and Tests Limited (ITL) in partnership with renowned welding training academy, TWI, is also planning to offer scholarships to selected youths from the Niger Delta by way of training in the academy, according to the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Sam Azoka.

He said youths stood the chance of benefiting immensely from the new institute as they would be trained and given assistance for job placement in the oil industry. 'Training in the fields of professional pipe or plate welding would take lots of Nigerian unemployed youths off the streets, out of militant camps and out of kidnappers' dens. Nigerians are good people, hard-working people, looking for opportunities to express their initiatives.

'It is when opportunities for positive expressions are not available that you find the negative expressions of today, leading to insecurity of lives and property. I recall that a study was said to list Nigerians as the happiest people on earth and that may not be far from the truth, because the late Fela sang of us long time ago as a people always smiling in the midst of suffering.

'All Nigerians need to bring those smiles back to their faces is to create opportunities for self-expression. Rivers State and indeed Niger Delta should have received appreciably from the natural blessings God deposited on their soil, but unfortunately that has not been the case. So, in our own little way, we have pitched tent with Niger Deltans to contribute our mite to alleviating the prolonged problems of government neglect of the good and neighbourly people of the Niger Delta,' Mr. Azoka said.

He added that, 'There will be bonded scholarship schemes in our welding training school, which will aim at giving life-saving skills to Niger Deltans in particular and Nigerians generally, who may not be in a position to afford the training, but would be willing to pay the costs for their training when they begin to earn an income. To ensure they are able to do this, we will assist in securing jobs for them upon graduation. We are here to make an impact.'