The ongoing Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises Project for the Niger Delta has been denied the benefits of empowerment for 1,3500 women and youth in three states because the Niger Delta Development Commission did not release its $30 million counterpart financing.
The Federal Government launched LIFE-ND, a program that trains youth in the Niger Delta in agricultural skills and entrepreneurship, with assistance from the International Fund for Agricultural Development, in 2019. The program’s goals are to reduce youth unrest by creating jobs, improve food security, and spur economic growth thanks to the livelihoods it offers.
This was announced by the LIFE-ND National Coordinator, Abiodun Sanni, during the Port Harcourt, Rivers State, unveiling of the Nirsal Micro Finance Bank’s certification of the project as an institute for entrepreneurship development.
Sanni claimed that while six other states have benefited greatly, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, and Imo states have yet to join because the NDDC defaulted.
Says Sanni, “With the launch the project as an Entrepreneurship Development Institute by the NMFB, we are set to catalyze the LIFE-ND of training youths and women of the Niger Delta with the benefit of certification and access to finance through NMFB.
“We are supposed to interface with nine states in the region, but currently running in six. NDDC is expected to pay a counterpart fund of $30 million within a span of six years, just as IFAD is promptly putting in $60 million for Abia, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Edo, Delta and Ondo states.
“Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Imo are yet to come on board because the NDDC is yet to pay their counterpart funds required to enlist these three states.
“The project targets 38,750 beneficiaries, but nonpayment by NDDC has reduced beneficiaries to 25,250 which is not commendable.
“This has lingered for over three years. We have done all we can to ensure NDDC lives up to its responsibility, but up till now, we have not been able to get the commitment needed from the commission.
“So what we have achieved so far is for the six states being funded by IFAD.
“A project that could have ensured that youths in these three states have tremendously benefited from this goodwill has not manifested because the commission has failed to meet up its responsibility.”
He added, “The project is supposed to end 2025. We are hitting the third year mark and a lot have been achieved in respect of the six states currently onboard.”