The Nigerian government says it is planning to set up a cassava processing centre in Ogoniland as an alternative source of livelihood for the people of the area. That was according to Dr. Marvin Dekil, Project Coordinator, Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), under the Ministry of Enviroment.
He was speaking at the graduation of 15 Ogonis from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Onne, Rivers state, South-south Nigeria.
According to Dekil, who was represented by HYPREP’s Head of Legal Services, Mrs. Grace Ekanem, the centre will be used to generate income and make Ogoniland become an economic hub for cassava processing in the Niger Delta region.
Dekil said the training is in line with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Report recommendation on Ogoniland.
According to him, the UNEP Report recommended that the Nigerian government should provide alternative source of livelihood for oil impacted communities of Ogoniland.
Dekil urged the trainees to leverage on the opportunities provided by the training to change their lives and become good ambassadors of their communities.
He commended the IITA and SDN for supporting the programme and assured the FG’s commitment to full implementation of the Ogoni clean-up exercise.
He added that no fewer than 400 women, 100 from each of the four local government areas that make up Ogoniland, would be trained on vocational skills in agriculture.
Dr. Richardson Okechukwu, Head of Station of IITA said the 15 trainees were taught how to fabricate basic processing machines for roasters, among others,.
SDN’s Senior Project Officer, Jesse-Martin Manufor said that cassava is a staple food for many Nigerians as well as important cash crop that produces garri, starch and flour.