By Okeoghene Akubuike
Abuja – No fewer than 40 persons living with disabilities and 188 youths and women from the Niger Delta region have received N300,000 each as empowerment package from the Federal Government.
Mr Stephen Kilebi, Deputy Director, Press, Ministry Of Niger Delta Affairs, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.
Kilebi said a graduation ceremony was organised by the Ministry for the trainees in Edo, Delta and Akwa Ibom States, on Friday.
He said 104 youths and women who were trained on fishery and poultry farming graduated in Benin-City, Edo State while 84 trainees graduated in Asaba, Delta State
He added that 40 persons living with disabilities who were trained on bead-making, embroidery confectionery and entrepreneurship, had their graduation ceremony at Amayam Clan, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.
Mr Usani Usani, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, who spoke at the Benin-City event, urged the trainees to put the knowledge gained to good use.
Usani , represented by Mr Philip Ndiomu, Deputy Director, Economic Empowerment Department of the Ministry, said that the training programmes were aimed at equipping participants with practical and theoretical knowledge on poultry and fishery production.
He added that the programme would also give them the required knowledge in other business management skills that would make their individual businesses grow.
The Minister advised the beneficiaries to put the N300,000.00 starter pack they received to good use, and also help empower others to start their own businesses.
Usani enjoined the trainees to patiently grow their businesses, as immediate success or profit was not guaranteed.
The Minister said that the training and empowerment programme was continuous while assuring those clamouring for inclusion of being considered in subsequent ones.
He added that the programme would not be stopped now as it was the dream of government to see that youths and women of the Niger Delta region become self reliant and self- sustaining.
In his remarks, Sen. Mathew Urhoghide of Edo South Senatorial District, thanked the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for partnering Edo state and other stakeholders on the project .
Urhoghide advised the beneficiaries ” to utilise the opportunity to better their lots in life”, as it might never come to them again.
The Senator said the programme was very important to the Federal Government, as it was keen on attending to the yearnings of youths and women of the Niger Delta region.
He urged the trainees to be strategic on the businesses they do with their starter packs.
Sen. Sam Anyanwu of Imo state, who was also at the graduation ceremony in Benin-City, advised the trainees to make the best use of the knowledge acquired and the starter packs.
Akaninyene Isidore one of the physically challenged beneficiaries from the Akwa Ibom State event said:
“Before now, persons with disabilities were insignificant in the society as far as charity is concerned, but we are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for developing people with disabilities through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.”