The British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) has been recognized as one of the organisations empowering National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members to develop a culture of self-reliance for sustainable job creation towards national development. This recognition was given at the 2021 NYSC Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) festival, which took place at the NAF Conference Centre and Suites, Abuja.

Other organisations that also received recognition at the festival include The Bank of Industry, Access Bank, Unity Bank, Enterprise Development Centre, Leventis Foundation Nigeria and Activate Success International Foundation.

The Director-General of the NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, while giving his welcome address said that the SAED programme came into being in 2012 as a platform for the NYSC to contribute towards tackling the challenge of unemployment among the teeming graduate youths. He also noted that since the institutionalization of the SAED programme, over 1.4 million corps members have been sensitized on the need for self-empowerment.

“We have continued in our strides for the success of the programme with the support of partners such as the Bank of Industry, British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation, Access Bank, Unity Bank, Leventis Foundation Nigeria and others too numerous to mention,” he said.

In her address, the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, who was represented by Mrs Dolapo Osinbanjo, wife of the Vice President, said that “the NYSC Scheme has continued to play a significant role in nation-building, especially in promoting national unity and integration of the country,” while adding that the current focus on youth entrepreneurship through the SAED has taken the scheme’s relevance to a higher level. The First Lady also urged individuals and corporate organisations to support the initiative by creating more entrepreneurs through access to funds and implored captains of industries and financial institutions to “grant more access to more credit facilities and venture capitals to Corps members.”

In a chat with the media team, the Executive Director of the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation, Ololade Johnson-Agiri, described the recognition as a testament to the Foundation’s continued support to sustainable agriculture development in Nigeria through the empowerment of young people to engage, upscale and thrive in agribusiness.

“This recognition will further drive home our message that wealth is here, thereby changing the narrative that young people can only make it outside Nigeria,” she added.

Since its inception in 2002, the BATN Foundation has made a huge impact in agriculture, especially among rural smallholder farmers who account for 70 per cent of agricultural produce in the country. The Foundation has invested a total of N2billion to support rural smallholder farmers across the 36 states, including the FCT, in sustainable agriculture engagement thereby improving their lives, and impacting their families and communities. It has also promoted youth engagement and provided access to technical support, employment and resources for young people to thrive in the agricultural sector.

To date, the BAT Nigeria Foundation has implemented over 250 projects in 36 states of the Federation, including the FCT, impacting over 1.2 million beneficiaries.

Published on Brandfit.