By Zainab Yetunde Adam
The decade-old Boko Haram insurgency has caused nearly irreversible damage to the socio-economic lives of people in Borno state. Millions of citizens, both in displacement and crammed host communities, have lost their means of livelihood. Efforts being made by the government to restore normalcy have not guaranteed safety for full-scale productive economic activities.
Unlike in the past when such an atmosphere of idleness would surely breed an army of youth delinquents in the devil’s workshop, the youth in Borno are rather turning their energies to positive enterprises.
More interestingly, the youth are not only breaking the gender barriers to make an impact, but most of their business ideas and ventures are also in tune with the global call for a cleaner and pollution-free environment.
From the innovative angle of fabricating clean energy and fuel-efficient sources of power to the use of recyclable material to produce building blocks, the creative youth of Borno are gradually making a powerful statement about their endless potential.
Twenty-four years old Abdulrahman Abba-Goni is gradually taking the creative spotlight when he domesticated the technology that uses low-density polyethenes, dumped water sachets and other related materials into making bricks.
Abba-Goni looked beyond considering plastic containers and polythene bags and sachets as filthy wastes that litter streets and drainages, to channel them into positive ventures.
“Recycling used plastics is one of the ways to curb indiscriminate dumping of used plastics to reduce environmental and air pollution,” he said.
The young man said he is also researching yet another project that is aimed at extracting petrol sustainably using plastics.
The research is aimed at “curtailing the emission of greenhouse gases for sustainability….”
Abba-Goni isn’t alone in this innovative solutions to the climate change problems. Another young man Jidda Umar, a University of Maiduguri graduate of Agriculture and Fishery has created a self-less power generator that uses zero fuel in a bid to avert the emission of Greenhouse gases. “You can power your house to at least 7.5 KVA electricity capacity or more using the Self-less Power Generator.
Mr Umar believes that a self-less power generator will be cost-effective especially because of the rising cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the country.
“Like other entrepreneurs, one of the challenges I face in getting my ideas to fruition is lack of equipment, finance and support,” he said. Borno’s world of emerging creative minds is not all about the males. The women and girls are also accomplishing unprecedented feats.
Twenty-two years old Janet Jonathan wriggled herself out of the chains of barriers heaped upon the girl child by a patriarchal society to acquire a skill in the male-dominated mobile phone industry.
After her Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in 2017, Miss Jonathan enrolled at Razaki and Rafatu Youth Empowerment Foundation on mobile Phones Repairs and Maintenance. Janet said her passion was triggered by the quest to find out how things work.
“It all started with me opening phones to see what was inside,” she said.
The young woman, in her mid-20s, who now has her workshop and a couple of apprentices, said that if the Government can help them with equipment and capital, people will easily learn and build competencies to sustain a purposeful life.
“The profession is challenging especially when you don’t have all the equipment required for the job,” she said.
Miss Janet said she needs more working tools such as Laminating machine, screens and glasses separators.
The Humanitarian Times believes that Supporting Small scale businesses like this can build back Borno and create opportunities for entrepreneurship and skills acquisition among the young populace.
Human capital development is one of the important requirements needed for a post-conflict future in Borno in which every man, woman and child are given fair opportunities for self-development.