The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has finalised arrangements in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture to empower 130 Niger Delta Youths it trained in various aspects of Agriculture in Israel in 2014 with loan.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani made the disclosure in Benin City, Edo State during a working visit to the Executive Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Pastor Usani paid the working visit on the governor before declaring open a two -day workshop in Benin City for the beneficiaries drawn from the States in the Niger Delta region: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.
The minister disclosed that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was collaborating with the Bank of Agriculture to provide the fund as loan to the beneficiaries. He added that the loan is to empower the youths to practice the various skills they learnt in Agriculture in Israel.
Bank of Agriculture will provide the sum of Two Hundred Million Naira (N200m) for the empowerment programme. Each beneficiary will receive a loan of One Million Naira (N1m) as start off fund.
Pastor Usani disclosed that Bank of Agriculture would guide the beneficiaries on what to do before they could access the loan.
He said that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Bank of Agriculture would co-ordinate, supervise and provide extension services for the beneficiaries and the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Scheme would provide insurance cover for them.
Pastor Usani reiterated that the idea behind the youth empowerment programme was to ensure that the beneficiaries were properly guided to engage in the what they had learnt profitably.
In the words of the minister: ’’We want our people to benefit from the system in line with the accountability and transparency thrust of the present administration,’’
The minister added that Benin City, Edo State was chosen to host the sensitisation programme for the workshop because of the reasonable atmosphere of peace. He added that the ministry would continue to partner with the government and people of Edo State in its policies and programmes because it would get the best from there.
In view of the fact that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was paying huge amount of money for renting office accommodations for its state offices in all the nine Niger Delta States the minister requested for allocation of land from the Edo State Government to build its state office in Benin City this year.
In his remarks, the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani for the youths empowerment programme.
Comrade Oshiomhole said that the programme would make the youths to be independent and employers of labour.
In the words of the governor: ‘’ The loan is not given out of pity but to challenge the youths to put on their thinking caps to succeed. This is the way it should be. I would like to commend you for packaging the programme.’’
The Governor assured that Edo State Government would continue to give the needed support and cooperation for the successful implementation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs programmes , projects and policies in the state.
The governor thanked the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Prof. Danbala Danju for the loan facility and solicited for more specialised funds to support Nigerians who are interested in Agriculture.
He also advised that genuine Nigerian farmers should be identified by the bank to benefit from such special funds.
On the minister’s entourage was the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola, the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Prof. Danbala Danju and directors of the ministry.
Marshal H. Gundu