By NBF News
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The Federal Governmenth as charged Niger Delta young men and women who benefited from its skills acquisition programme to maintain peace in the region. The youths had returned from extensive training in all aspects of Agriculture at the Songhai Farms, Port Novo, Benin Republic, on Sunday.

Receiving the trainees, in Lagos , the Minister of State, Dr. Samuel Ode, advised them to utilise their new knowledge positively so that they could become self-reliant and create wealth and thereby contributing to national growth and development.

He recalled that the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was created in September, 2008 by the Yar'adua/Jonathan administration in fulfillment of their campaign promise to resolve the crisis in the region and youth restiveness, in particular. It was in the light of this, according to the minister, that the skills acquisition programme for youths and women was introduced as one of the several initiatives being pursued by the ministry in its efforts to achieving its statutory mandate.

He said other areas of training included oil and gas, maritime, information and communication technology (ICT), etc. Ode restated his ministry's determination to commence a micro finance scheme that would enable the trainees, cooperative societies and individuals in the Niger Delta to access soft loans to finance their businesses.

He emphasised that the training programme was meant for the beneficiaries not only to be self-employed but to also become employers of labour. The minster seized the opportunity to pay tribute to Mr. Canice Ukpeliye, a trainee, who took ill during the training but unfortunately died before the end of the exercise. He prayed for the peaceful repose of his soul and later presented all his allowances and entitlements, as was due to each of the trainees, to his family, represented by Paul Ayade, who profusely thanked the minister for this show of compassion.

In their several testimonies, the trainees earnestly thanked the ministry for giving them the opportunity to broaden their horizon and exposing them to the diverse aspects of agricultural production and management; promising to apply the newly acquired knowledge.