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Women, youths benefit from NALDA intervention

As the scourge of drug abuse continues to bite harder in Nigeria, the National Agriculture Land Development Authority (NALDA) as part of its empowerment programmes has empowered 300 women and youths as well as rehabilitated drug addicts in Kano with livestock.

Under this intervention, an additional two hundred are expected to be empowered in the second phase of the programme.

The Authority in collaboration with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Salamah Youth Empowerment and Enlightenment Initiative gave out cattle and goals to 300 men and women on Tuesday at Central Abattoir, Kofarmazugal, Kano.

The beneficiaries would be trained on Animal husbandry and financial capacity to enhance their ability to manage the business.

Speaking during the presentation ceremony, NALDA Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Prince Paul Ikonne, said the first phase of the programme in Kano State will witness 500 rehabilitated men and women being empowered.

He said the NALDA empowerment programme has been ongoing as the integrated farm’s estates embarked on by the Authority is part of the empowerment programmes of the Federal Government but that is why the Kano programme is especial in the way and those it’s being organized for.

“An organisation that has been rehabilitating children from drugs is organizing them for empowerment, if they are left without empowerment, they would go back to drug-taking. And it is President Muhammadu Buhari’s interest to ensure that we reduce drug addiction and create employment in the country. So, this is a way of keeping them out of drugs and engaging them meaningfully.

“We have empowered the first 300, the remaining 200 will be done soon in the first phase in Kano by March. This will be done in different states, and we want to encourage other organisations to reach out to these drug addicts in order to rehabilitate them and NALDA will engage them in meaningful means of income through agricultural value chains.

On supervision of the empowered men and women, Ikonne said since they are registered with the organisation, it makes it easier for monitoring, “the organisation becomes our watchdogs, and the NDLEA that have rehabilitated the beneficiaries are also part of the process, that makes the monitoring easier because there are organisations on the ground working with us.

“In the next three months, they would have sold the cows and the money put in the poll, and another set of cows will be given to them, so the profit goes to them and the capital is re-invested. That is why doing it in a cluster with an organisation is the best.

“Now this is done in an abattoir, and inside the abattoir, they have an association, then supervised by these organisations, so it makes it easier for us to monitor. As they keep evolving the fund, it makes it easier for us to empower more people. And encourage more people not to go into drugs.

“But for women given goats, will rear it for six months to one year depending on the size of the goat but our key interest is on those that have been rehabilitated, that is the youths from the abattoir, they are the ones we are looking at three months.

Best intervention by any parastatal in Kano

Also, the initiator of Salamah Youth Empowerment and Enlightenment Initiative, Senator Naja’atu Muhammed representing Kano Central Senatorial District, while commending NALDA intervention said the intervention is the best any parastatal have ever done in Kano.

According to her, “I have spoken a lot against this government of President Buhari but I realise that there is the need for me to also start the change I crave for. Then I initiated this programme with the NDLEA to rehabilitate our youth who were drug addicts, but we realized that if we must give them hope, we must show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel by meaningfully engaging them.

“They underwent training after which I empower them with the little fund we have but thank God that the President has finally seen into this by introducing us to NALDA. I must say that NALDA as far as the people of Kano are concerned is the best parastatal in the country, we have never seen parastatals in Nigeria with such a direct impact on the masses.

“The beneficiaries will be trained by a Professor and they would be monitored for the next three months as they give them training on husbandry and finances,” she said.

Youth idleness one of the major causes of drug abuse

The NDLEA Commandant in Kano, Alhaji Isah Mahammed, commending NALDA for the initiative said it has been discovered that youth idleness is one of the major causes of drug abuse.

“Anybody that does not have a source of income will certainly look for something that would make him forget his lack of vocation and most times, they turn to drugs. This initiative by NALDA with the support of the president and the Salamah Foundation has seen youths being given means of livelihood, their focus will now be on the means of survival given to them.

“With this, they would now face their business while turning away from drugs, that is why NDLEA is happy to associate with the Authority to ensure that drug abuse is alleviated from among the youth.
“It is our hope that NALDA continues to assist because the intention is to empower 500 and since it is like a loan, they would be pressure to succeed, then others can be encouraged to benefit,” he said.

One of the beneficiaries, Alima Adamu, who spoke in Hausa appreciated NALDA and the foundation for the initiative, saying with the cow, he can now enjoy a new lease of financial life.

He, however, called for more organisations to emulate the gesture as more youth need such empowerment to enable them to earn a living and discard drug abuse.

Reporting by Zaccheaus Babalola; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino