In its bid to improve agriculture and food sufficiency in the Niger Delta region and also make life more comfortable to the physically challenged and other less privileged persons in the region, the Federal Government has flagged off free distribution of farming equipment, walking aides and other gadgets in Cross River State.
While distributing the equipment in Calabar on Monday, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani said the idea was to demonstrate the good intention of the Federal Government to take care of the downtrodden in the society.
“Every journey starts with a step, this is to demonstrate the good intention of government to take care of the downtrodden,” he stressed.
The Minister, announcing the distribution formula, said 120 Abgito Tillers would go to farmers in the farming communities of Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State, 28 wheel chairs and crutches to physically challenged persons, while 96 sewing machines were allocated to tailors, 5 computer sets for 5 youths and 77 wrappers to the less privileged women.
Pastor Usani reiterated that the gestures would bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in Cross River State and other States in the Niger Delta region, as more people in the region would soon benefit from such exercise.
The Minister added that modern farming equipment being given to the farmers would boost their morale and enhance improved food production and sufficiency in the area.
He charged the beneficiaries to reciprocate the good gestures by supporting the programmes and activities of the Federal Government towards improving their livelihoods.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Aliyu Aminu Bisalla, represented by the Director, Community Development and Education, Mrs Lauren Braide, said what the Ministry was doing was among many strategies it had recently adopted to reach out to the people at the grassroots in the Niger Delta region.
In his remarks, the Paramount Ruler, Calabar Municipality, His Royal Majesty, Ndidem Patrick Inok Oqua Agbo v, represented by His Royal Highness, Etiyin Francis Effiom commended the Federal Government saying the administration had impacted their lives positively.
In a related development, while commissioning the Ministry’s Housing Estate at Ekpiri Ikang, Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State yesterday, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani announced that 30 Units of Houses would be allocated to the displaced people of Bakassi whom he said could not afford building such houses for themselves, while undeveloped plots within the estate would be allocated to the traditional rulers and those who have been providing security for the estate over the years.
In his response, the. Chairman, Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council and Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, His Royal Majesty, Etim Okon Edet expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for giving succour to the Bakassi returnees.
He called for total re-settlement of the displaced people of Bakassi who according to him, left their ancestral homes not on their own volition, but due to the decision of the Federal Government at that time, saying total re-settlement would end their agitation once and for all.
Also in his remarks, a member representing Bakassi in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Hon. Ekpo Bassey commended the Federal Government and the leadership of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs which he said, recognised the importance of shelter in the lives of the people, by completing and alloccating the Housing Estate in the area.
Hon. Bassey called for equitable distribution of the houses to the beneficiaries.