As part of efforts aimed at building resilience against violent extremism through enhanced capacity and structures to check radicalisation, ActionAid Nigeria has handed over N35.5 million livelihood support factories to women and youths in Kogi State.
The Programme Manager, Humanitarianism and Resilience, Mr. Ipoade Omilaju, disclosed this yesterday in Lokaja, while handing over the factories to the nine communities.
He noted that the livelihood support became necessary after unemployment was identified as a top driving factor for violent extremism during a baseline assessment conducted by ActionAid.
He also explained that to a large extent, the objectives of the intervention had been achieved, stressing that the recent survey that was released two months revealed that Kogi State was the second most peaceful state in Nigeria.
On criteria used in selecting the communities, Omilaju said; “we use the poorest of the poor and we do the analysis from the Bureau of Statistics where you get which state is poor. It is not in every state that you have these kind of projects. We take through such analysis and when we get to a particular state we do a deeper analysis to identify which is the community that is very poor.”
The livelihood projects handed over include; Rice milling machine at Okpeji community, Garri processing factory and hand pump borehole at Okpapata at the cost of N3, 325,000, cassava processing and maize milling factory at Ofuloko community, Block, cassava pressing factory, Bread making factory and block moulding factory at Osaragada among others, amounting to N35.5 million.
The Chief of Staff to Kogi State Governor, Mr. Edward Onaja, said the governor through the ministry of Agriculture in the state had enhanced the farmers to be able to have higher yields from their farms.
According to him, “today Ayingba, the anchors borrowers project is being executed where farmers are collecting inputs and materials for their agricultural activities in the nine local government within Kogi east.”
He added that there was holistic plan by government to help in the product from the farm, and help farmers enhance these products by way of processing.
A cassava farmer in Osara community, Alabi Jimoh, said they were trained by ActionAid on how to tackle little problems being encountered by the community, adding that with the training, they now had the knowledge to harmonise different tribes and also overcome their challenges.
“Through this training also, we have the knowledge on how to link up with our stakeholders. 40 people are already direct beneficiary of the project. With the aim and objectives, if we achieve it within a short time, farmers will benefit from this factory because 1,213 farmers are here both women and men. We cultivate cassava but we don’t have external market. We believe that if the factory is working now, most of our raw materials will be processed here.”
He lamented that the lack of market to sell their products, saying often times, they sell on credit in Lokoja and the money would not be paid for a month
Contrary to what the Chief of Staff tolls journalists, he said they had never benefited from federal government or state funding
Jimoh noted: “It has never happened. In my house I have more than 10 forms that I have filled with FADAMA, FSPFS, ADP that money will come to our community for farming, we do all that is required of us but at the end, there is no money. We have never enjoyed that. We want government to grant us loan and link us with a major market outside our community or state.”