Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
In a move aimed at boosting palm oil production and getting youths meaningfully engaged, the Embassy of the Republic of Ireland in Nigeria has donated a well-equipped Vocational Training Centre and a palm oil mill to the youths of Ugbaike community in Igboeze North local government area of Enugu state.
While the vocational training centre was equipped with sewing machines and hair dressing machines worth millions of naira, the oil mill was equipped with palm oil extracting machines.
The projects were facilitated by the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Africa and funded by the Irish Embassy in Nigeria.
In his speech at the handing over ceremony of the projects at the community, the Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Sean Hoy said the embassy which he said was established in Nigeria in 1960, was delighted to support projects that add value to the lives of people living in the communities in Nigeria.
The Irish Ambassador, who was represented by the Charge d’Affairs at the embassy, Mr. Eoghan McSwiney, stated that his country had embarked on similar projects in many states in Nigeria.
“We have been in Nigeria since 1960, the Embassy, and we have a long partnership and trust relationship with the country. We are also an agricultural country. So when CBN Africa came with this project to help people to empower themselves in this community in the northern part of Enugu state, in the agricultural field particularly in palm oil and also in sewing, we were very happy to be able to provide a small sum of money to support the project and to help this community to empower themselves.
“Also the women in the community who will be learning to make garments and hairdressing, will also be in a position to provide livelihood for themselves and for their family. So we thought it was a very worthwhile project and therefore useful partnership project we are doing with CBN Africa and also with the local community who have been very supportive of the initiative.
Also in a remark, the Regional Director, CBN Africa, Dr. Felix Oisamoje stated that his organisation was motivated by the need to help people.
“We are a Christian organisation and while we believe in our Christian value and the things we want to do to point people to Christ, but we feel it is useless if people have needs and you do not meet the needs… And that’s why because we don’t have the resources that’s why we approach embassies like the Irish Embassy for grant to enable us to do that,” he said.
The traditional ruler of Ugbaike community, HRH Igwe Onoja Simon Uwakwe, and the Town Union President General, Chief Simon Ujah, expressed gratitude to the Irish Embassy and CBN, which is also sponsored by the embassy.
Igwe Uwakwe stated that the community by its geographical location at the extreme end of both the local government area and the state lacks essential amenities such as potable drinking water, electricity and roads.
“We cannot thank you enough for this your gesture, but like Oliver Twist, we shall continue to ask for more. We need the expansion of the project in view of the size of the community and our neighbouring communities,” he said.