Port Harcourt — The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project HYPREP on Monday, flagged off the livelihoods training programme for Ogoni people, as part of the recommendation of UNEP to restore the livelihoods of communities impacted by oil pollution.
Flagging off the programme in Korokoro, Tai LGA of Rivers State, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, said President Buhari is committed to fulfil every promise made to Ogoni people in the implementation of every recommendations of UNEP in Ogoniland.
The Minister also commissioned a cassava processing factory built by its partners, the Stakeholders Democracy Network, SDN for the training of Ogoni youths on garri processing in commercial quantity, for economic growth.
Abubakar also disclosed that the factory after a three-month supervisory running of the factory by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, IITA and SDN, would be handed over for running by the pioneer graduates which HYPREP had trained at the IITA in 2019.
“This factory is the sustainability package for the training which we promised that on our own part, we have given you assurance and we want to restate it here that we are committed to a post-training setup that will enable you put into use the skills you have acquired for your benefit and of your dependents.
“Moving forward, HYPREP has developed a plan to group the operators of the factory being the Ogoni youths into co-operatives to enable them access funds to set up their own businesses, engage and train more youths.
“The multiplier effect of this facility on the local economy cannot be overemphasised as households and individuals farmers can come here to process their produce, while there will be increase in the availability of food and business activities.
“This factory will also serve as a hub for trainees from the Ogoni women livelihood training programme handled by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, UNITAR.”
The Minister, represented at the event by the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, tasked the beneficiaries to jointly protect and make good use of the facility, adding that the factory was one among several other facilities where its livelihood training would take place.
“Part of the livelihood programme is the training of 1,200 Ogoni women in different agro-allied skills in the areas of feed formation, poultry, fish farming and cropping for six months.
“HYPREP has engaged UNITAR to handle this training of women and that tells you the quality of training that the women will be receiving at the end of the day.
“This event does not only mark a significant milestone in our continuous effort to provide alternative source of livelihood for people in impacted communities of Ogoniland but a further indication of President Buhari’s resolve to implement the UNEP report and better the lot of Ogoni people and Niger Delta at large.”
Also speaking, the Chairman, Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, HRM King Godwin Giniwa, threw his weight in support of HYPREP for the implementation of UNEP Report in Ogoniland.
“I am happy that HYPREP is progressing, whatsoever you will need to make the project successful, we will be here to make it available. You have our support, go ahead, we are behind you.
“There will be peace for you in Ogoniland. I am grateful for what you are commissioning today. I pray the Almighty God to bless you (Dekil), your office and the Federal Ministry of Environment.”
Also speaking, the Head, IITA, Onne, Dr. Richardson Okechukwu, disclosed that the factory has the capacity to produce five tons of garri per day, as well as plantain, yam and coconut flour.