The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has distributed deep freezers, generators and grinding machines to different women groups in Rivers State to assist them in setting up gainful economic ventures.
Presenting the business-support equipment yesterday at the Commission’s Rivers State office in Port Harcourt, the Director of the state office, Mr. Benson Udo-Asubop, stressed the need for women development and empowerment in the Niger Delta.
Mr. Udo-Asubop, who made the presentation on behalf of the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said that preference was given to women because they form the bedrock of families and constitute a very important segment of the society.
The director said that part of the mandate of the NDDC was to empower the people of the region and enhance the quality of their lives. He added: “This empowerment is a continuous process because we realize that our people need to be assisted now more than ever before. We have singled out our women for this empowerment programme because of the special role they play in the family unit.
“Our intention is to assist the women to be able to generate income on their own to support their families. In today’s harsh economic environment, the women need to support their husbands to be able to take care of their families. Women play a very key role in building the nation and that is why we have reached out to the representatives of the various women groups in Rivers State for this empowerment.”
Mr. Udo-Asubop said that the NDDC Chief Executive Officer thought it wise to support the empowerment of women to arm them to generate incomes for themselves and their families. “We need to encourage our women to be active and creative to contribute to the economic growth of our country. We do not just want to give them fish to eat, we are giving them the tools with which to fish,” he said.
He noted that the NDDC had tried in several ways to encourage women to excel, giving the example of the Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science, GEMS, programme, where the Commission awarded scholarships worth N5 million each to five female science students from Ondo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, to study in tertiary institutions in the country.
A leader of the Oroworokwo women group, Mrs. Gladys Ibe, thanked the NDDC for giving them the tools with which to earn a decent living and take care of their families.
Mr. Chinedum Samuel, a representative of the Rebisi Kingdom, commended the efforts of the NDDC towards fulfilling its mandate in the region. He observed that apart from providing infrastructure, the Commission was also impacting positively on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta through various human capacity development programmes. He thanked the Commission for assisting the women to boost their income.