FG empowers 64 Bakassi returnees in Bayelsa

Sixty-four Bakassi Returnees residing in Bayelsa State have benefitted from the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) empowerment scheme.

The beneficiaries were trained on Soap Making and Fish Processing and later given start-up kits and capital after the one week programme that held in Yenagoa.

While presenting the items, Mrs Sadiya Farouq, Federal Commissioner of NCFRMI assured the Bakassi returnees of federal government commitment to rehabilitating and resettling them.

Farouq said that the Commission was looking beyond supporting displaced persons with relief materials but lifting them out of their present challenges and rehabilitating them economically to be self-reliant.

Farouq who was represented by Mr Akintunde Oyesanya, South-South Zonal Coordinator NCFRMI noted that giving the displaced persons skills and start-up capital would make them be self-reliant and reintegrated into the society.

Oyesanya explained that the 64 beneficiaries many of whom had been at a make shift camp for more than 10 years were provided with soap making and fish processing kits as well as a take-off grant as capital.

He said that NCFRMI had extensive counselling sessions with the selected beneficiaries to discourage them from selling the start up equipment donated to them and resorting to dependence on hand outs.

According to him, the training curriculum included entrepreneurship education, marketing as well as small business management skills.

Oyesanya said that the trainees would be mentored, monitored and given further financial support to further expand their businesses and make them employers of labour.

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Mrs Esther Mike, one of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to the federal government and NCFRMI for the new approach to managing the welfare of displaced persons.

“I am glad to be selected for this pilot scheme, this approach of empowering people with skills, starter kits and capital is going to change the life of people who were dependants to being self-sustaining.

“I was trained for five days in soap making and the training was practical and I mastered it so much and with the kit provided and capital, I am ready to go into business, I believe I will now support my family,” She said.

Mr Jeremaih Jerry-Wemi, another beneficiary in Fish Processing and Leader of Bakassi Returnees in Bayelsa noted that the scheme would improve the standard of living of the displaced persons.

He appealed to the Commission to increase the skills areas covered to give displaced persons more choices and increase their chances of survival.

“We appeal to NCFRMI to enlarge the skills area to give people more choices, this is because when people choose to do what they love, it makes them more likely to succeed.

“We commend the Commission for this initiative, it is well thought out and I am very optimistic that most of the 64 beneficiaries, majority of who are women (37) would succeed and make it,” Jerry-Wemi said

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