The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani has disclosed in Benin City, Edo State during a working visit to the Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole (Comrade) that the Ministry has finalized arrangements in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture to empower the 130 Niger Delta youths trained in varied aspects of Agriculture in Israel in 2014 with loan.
Usani Uguru paid the working visit on the governor before declaring open a two -day workshop in Benin City for some beneficiaries in the Niger Delta region drawn from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States. He noted that the Ministry is collaborating with the Bank of Agriculture to provide the fund as loan to the beneficiaries, indicating that the loan is to empower the youths to practice the various skills that they have learnt in Agriculture in Israel.
“The Bank of Agriculture will provide the sum of Two Hundred Million Naira (N200m) for the empowerment programme and each beneficiary will receive a loan of One Million Naira (N1m) as start – off fund. The Bank of Agriculture would guide the beneficiaries on what to do before they could access the loan,” he said.
“The Ministry 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.”
He reiterated that the idea behind the youth empowerment programme was to ensure that the beneficiaries are properly guided to engage in what they had learnt profitably; adding that the Ministry wants people to benefit from the system in line with the accountability and transparency thrust of the present administration.
The Minister averred that Benin City in Edo State was chosen to host the sensitization programme for the workshop because of the reasonable atmosphere of peace. He said further 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 during the event, the Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole (Comrade) commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani for the youths empowerment programme, explaining that the programme would make the youths to be independent and employers of labour.
“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 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 hinted.
While thanking the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Danbala Danju for the loan facility, he solicited for more specialized funds to support the citizens, 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, Claudius Omoleye Daramola (Prof), the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Danbala Danju and directors of the Ministry.