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.