The Federal Government has empowered 415 youths and women in Niger Delta states in agriculture, information communication technology (ICT) and entrepreneurship.
Minister of Niger Delta, Mr Umana Umana, made the disclosure at the graduation ceremony of the trainees of an empowerment programme in Uyo on Saturday.
Umana, who was represented by Director of Planning, Research and Statistics in the ministry, Mr Alfred Alber, said that the initiative was one of the many gestures by the federal government.
He said the training was aimed at diversifying the economy, reorienting values and generating employment for women, youths and other vulnerable groups in the Niger Delta region.
The minister also said that the training, expected to prepare the participants for the tasks ahead, lasted for five days and was held in Uyo, the state capital.
Umana said that each participant would collect the sum of N500,000, saying that the cash would be credited directly into the bank account details provided by the participants by the training consultant.
“The ministry is aware that training without support at the terminal point is an effort in futility.
“Hence, as part of the programme, an empowerment package has been put together by way of start-up capital,” Umana stated.
He further stated that the package was meant for the participants to commence micro or small enterprises on what they had been taught at the training.
The minister said that the empowerment initiative was a continuous exercise and would get better with time.
He commended the training consultants for the mature way the trainees were handled as well as the choice of the venue.
The minister noted that the programme was put together to impact theoretical and practical knowledge, provide skills in ICT and ensure self-reliance and ability to engage others.
Also speaking, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Uyo, Prof. Nyaudo Ndaeyo, urged the participants to put in their best in whatever they had learned from the consultants in order to be self-reliant.
He said that the institution’s management had given scholarship to 10 participants in the programme in the areas of fashion, designing, photography, make-over and ICT.
The vice-chancellor urged the participants to use the money given to them to better their lives.
Responding, one of the beneficiaries, Mr Eyo Essien from Cross River, commended the ministry for the initiative.
He pledged to put into use all the knowledge acquired from the training.
Another beneficiary, Mr Chris Oluchi, from Imo, said that the initiative would help turn the otherwise unemployed youths to employers of labour, in line with the vision of the federal government.
He urged fellow participants to invest the money given to them in enterprises that would engage other youths in the society.
Highlights of the event were presentation of certificates to the beneficiaries of the programme. nan