•Refugees and widows at the distribution centre for the Federal Government’s largesse.
By Peter Okutu
Abakaliki – It was all happiness and joy as 88 displaced persons in Ebonyi State weekend received succour from the Federal government through the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally displaced persons . These category of persons including widows and youths were drawn from l1 villages including Ekpomaka, Alike Ikwo and Inyimagu in Ikwo Local Government Area of the state who were displaced following the menace of inter and intra communal clashes between Ebonyi and other neighbouring states.
They were given N10, 000 cash each and equipment ranging from Grain destoner, pre-cleaner, rice hauller, safety kits, fertilizers to layers mash to enable them become self reliant and settled to face the challenges of the present economic situation in the country.
Before the distribution of the empowerment kits and cash, these displaced persons were trained for 5 days in the area of rice processing and fertilizer production by experts in the State.
In a chat with South East Voice during a 5 day Skill Acquisition and Empowerment training on Rice Processing and Fertilizer Production for the displaced persons which took place at College of Education, Ikwo, the zonal Coordinator, South East Zone of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally displaced persons, Barr. Jane Molokwu who spoke on behalf of the Hon. Commissioner of the Commission, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq stated that the essence of the initiative was to give a sense of belonging to the affected persons and make them economically empowered to become self reliant not minding their present social status.
She called on the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the trainings and empowerment they had received as the federal government remains committed towards enhancing and improving the living standards of all Nigerians irrespective of State of origin and political affiliation.
X-raying the impact of the Federal government gesture, the Head of State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Pastor Ken Oziomaeze stated that the initiative would go beyond cushioning the negative impact of the crisis on the displaced persons as it has been designed to restore both hope and economic future of these rural dwellers.
“The Commission came as a result of the activities we carried out on the outbreak of crisis. We carried out a joint assessment of the crisis. Afikpo South, Ikwo and Izzi are the worst hit. Today is for Ikwo LGA. In Amagu community we have some villages, Ekpomaka, Alike Ikwo and Inyimagu.
“They are doing it through SEMA. Am particularly pleased with what is happening here. Other empowerment only cushion the effect but this initiative of the Federal government goes beyond that. These displaced persons were trained in Organic Fertilizer production and Rice processing. They placed in different groups as a result of the training.
“We will set up Mimi rice processing clusters. We want it to be sustained. 12 communities in 8 LGA in Ebonyi are suffering similar fate. In Abakaliki, Izzi, Ikwo and Afikpo South LGAs, we have disturbing cases of refugees. Am also concerned about those in Izzi and Abakaliki. I believe that very soon, they will receive succour. So we commend both Ebonyi state and federal government for the success of this exercise.
Supervising the distribution of the empowerment items, the Chief Executive officer of the Commission, Mr. Ifeanyi Dennis who explained that the husbands of the women died during the crisis appreciated the displaced persons for their cooperation and commitment during the 5 day programme.
“Because of the communal clashes, their husbands and wives dead. 88 of them are displayed. We want to make sure that only the affected persons received the package. We want them to take the empowerment seriously. FG is working and doesn’t believe in laziness.”
The displaced persons were filled with joy and appreciation for the federal government gesture.