By Ikechukwu Iweajunwa
The Nigerian Government says it is poised to reduce poverty in the oil-rich Niger Delta region through agricultural empowerment, Minister of state, Niger Delta Affairs Prof. Claudius Omoleye says.
Omoleye said this on Friday in Ikeduru, when he inaugurated an Integrated Oil Palm Processing Plant built by Federal Government and sited at Okwu Ikeduru Local Government in Imo of the state.
He said the project was in line with the federal government’spolicy on diversification and job creation.
The minister said the nine states that constitute the Niger Delta region had been ”hugely enriched” by the Federal Government, through numerous projects, to show its serious commitment in developing the region.
“Our goal is to promote economic development and to generate employment through enhancement of farmers’ capacity,’’ he said.
Omoleye, who assured that Federal Government would replicate projects built in the region to promote equity and balance, called on the beneficiaries of the project to make maximum use of it.
Gov. Rochas Okorocha, in his speech, expressed optimism that the project would reduce poverty in the area and enhance farmers’ capacity.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Ugochi Okoro, commended Federal Government for sitting the huge project in Imo.
“Federal Government has done well, especially now that we are trying to diversify our economy, the choice of the project is superb because it will promote agriculture,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Head of Service of the Federation, Mr Marcel Osuji, said the project was laudable and timely, adding that it would reduce unemployment and promote mechanised oil production in the area.
Osuji,also an indigene of the area, said his community had been yearning for such project, adding that the people of the community were front liners in oil production in the state. (NAN)