Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) has concluded its latest batch of training in various areas of agriculture and fashion designing at the University of Uyo for 415 non-militant youths drawn from across the Niger Delta region. The youths received training in fashion designing, horticulture, poultry, fishing and their respective value chain.
“Each of the trainees received cash support ranging from N300,000 to N500,000 and starter-packs. Materials delivered to the trainees included tractors, tricycles, sewing, grinding and hair-dressing machines…among the trainees were 3,864 non-militant youths and women who were trained in agriculture and its value chain, while 224 motorized tillers were delivered to the farmers.”
At the graduation ceremony for the latest batch of trainees in Uyo during the weekend, Umana said government would continue to provide the necessary support and direction to non-militant youths in different agriculture programmes and other life skills to create wealth and fight food insecurity in the region and the country at large.
Youth and women empowerment has been a key focus of the MNDA and its parastatal, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), since the institutions were established. In his 2022 scorecard for government development intervention in the Niger Delta region under the Buhari administration, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, reported that “6, 293 women and youths were trained and empowered with cash and equipment worth N5.5 billion.
Represented at the event by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS) of the Ministry, Mr. Alfred Abah, the Minister noted that the programme, which is hosted by the Economic and Empowerment Department of the Ministry, has trained thousands of people from the Niger Delta region and helped them to start their own small scale businesses since 2013. He explained that changes in the economy demanded more support for farming and food production. He observed that for the life skills given to the trainees to have practical meaning, they must be given material support to set up in businesses and put those skills to use.
The Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo, Prof. Nyaudoh Ndaeyo, represented by Dr. Mildred Ekot, said the training was of utmost importance given the preeminent place of agriculture in human life.
The Director, Economic Empowerment Department, Mr. Philip Ndiomu emphasized the importance of human capacity development in nation building, and expressed the appreciation of the Ministry for government’s commitment to continuing training and support for capacity building.