The Federal Government says it has commenced a livelihood training for 1,200 women in Ogoniland as part of recommendations of the UN Environmental Report (UNEP) on the area in Rivers.
The Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar made this known at inauguration of a cassava processing factory in Korokoro community, Tai Local Government Area of Rivers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that UNEP in 2011 recommended the training of indigent Ogonis in various vocations to mitigate damage on their source of livelihood by decades-long oil spills.
Abubakar, who was represented by the Project Coordinator of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr Marvin Dekil, assured of Federal Government’s desire to fulfilling its promise to Ogoni people.
“So, the 1,200 Ogoni women will be trained in different agro-allied skills in feed formation, poultry, fish farming and cropping for six months.
“HYPREP has engaged United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to train the women. This means the women will get quality training at the end.
“The training marks a significant milestone in our continuous effort to provide alternative source of livelihood to people in the impacted Ogoni communities.
“Also, the exercise is further indication of President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to implement the UNEP report to better the lot of Ogoni people and Niger Delta at large,” he said.
The minister added that the cassava processing factory would be used to train Ogoni youths to process garri in commercial quantity for economic growth of the area.
He said that the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Stakeholders Democracy Network would supervise running of the factory for period of six months.
According to him, the bodies are expected to hand over the factory to pioneer graduates of the livelihood programme.
“We are committed to a post-training set-up that will see trainees put into use skills acquired for both their benefit and dependents.
“In addition, HYPREP has developed a plan to group Ogoni youths operating the factory, into cooperatives to enable them access funds and open their own businesses,” he added.
The Head of IITA, Onne, Dr Richardson Okechukwu said the factory could produce five tonnes of garri daily in full capacity.
He listed other food items to include, plantain, yam and coconut flour.
On his end, the Chairman, Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, King Godwin Gininwa thanked the Federal Government for the livelihood training and asdured the support of Ogoni people.