Loan attracts little interest
From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
In a bid to empower youths, eradicate poverty, create job and improve the welfare of the people, the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano has earmarked over N1 billion for loan to small scale entrepreneurs in the state.
The loan was part of Governor Obiano’s poverty alleviation programme in the state for petter traders, cottage industrialists, artisans, and those in the Agricultural sector.
Preparatory to the assessment of the loan, the state through its agency, the Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) organized an empowerment workshop for all small entrepreneurs in Idemili North Local Government Area of the state.
Obiano who was represented by his deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke at the workshop while addressing the expectants beneficiaries of the loans told the people of the state to exercise patience as his administration would make sure that development reaches to every nook and cranny of the state.
He noted that no part of the state would be given attention more than others and urged those that have interest for the loan scheme to feel free to access it with little interest and a surety.
The Chairman on the occasion and APGA chieftain in Idemili Local Government Area, Mr Raphael Asha Nnabuife, who was once a transitional chairman of the council commended Governor Obiano for rolling out huge amount of money as loan for small scale enttrepreneurs in the state.
He urged the petty traders, artisans, farmers and industrialists in the area to embrace the micro loan scheme and promised to provide N15 million for those that would access the loan from the council area as their surety.
Okeke commended the developmental initiatives of the state governor whom he noted had introduced various programmes to improve the welfare of the masses.
He also urged the members of the public to support the administration that has a human face.
He noted that the sensitization workshop organized by Anambra State Small Business Agency in conjunction with Idemili North Chapter of APGA was in the magnanimity of Governor Obiano to eradicate poverty in the area and urged the people to avail themselves of the opportunity.
Nnabuife explained that he was guaranteeing N5million for small scale loan seekers who are petty traders, house wives, and artisans who wanted to collect loan ranging from N50,000 to N500,000 and an additional N10million for people who wanted to invest in small scale industries who could employ about two to 10 people, but don’t have collateral for such loans.
Other APGA chieftains who donated money to surety interested beneficiaries included Chief Ifeanyi Ibezi, the party candidate for Idemili North and South constituency who pledged N5million; Chief Ifeanyi Udokwu, former deputy chairman of APGA in the state N2million; Chief Tochukwu Megbuanaeze, member representing Idemili North Local Government Area in the Anambra State House of Assembly who donated part of his salaries, among others.
The Managing Director of ASBA, Mr Clem Chukwuka in his remarks explained the modalities for the loan scheme and the importance for the people to access it, noting that the state government had put up the loan scheme to ameliorate the suffering of the people, as well as improve the welfare of the poor.
Chukwuka noted that the loan would be repaid at the end of the year with little interest depending on the amount one wanted to access and thanked the governor for the opportunity given to the people of the state to be self-reliant.
Also in his remarks, Chairman of APGA in Idemili North, Chief Kentus Chukwurah, called on the people of the Local Government Area to embrace the loan scheme, stressing that the loan was a kernel for empowerment of the poor and the less privileged.
He noted that the party in the Local Government Area has decided to rise up to the challenge by alerting everybody in the council irrespective of party affiliations to embrace the loan scheme.
Imo-born scientist makes wine from yeast
…Wants to partner with state govt on mass production
From Okey Sampson, Aba
Onyema Chima is from Amata, Avuvu in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.
He studied Biological Sciences in his first degree, Animal Science in his second (Masters) degree and had a minor in Chemistry all between 1980 and 1982 at Tennessee State University, Nashville, United States of America.
After his academic sojourn in the United States, Chima now 70, answered the clarion call by the then Federal Government for those outside the shores of the land to come back home and help in the development of the country.
On returning to Nigeria, to be precise, in 1984, Chima went into research on yeast; zeroing in on how to use yeast fermented from fruits to make wine.
After about 22 years of intense research, the researcher said thet he made a headway when in 2006, “I was told in a dream how I could go about the yeast, it was impressed in my mind to use purple starter and I used it with Paw-paw fruit in getting the first attempt of using yeast to make wine”.
The Imo-born researcher said he started making wine from yeast in 2006, applying the Purple starter method, a subjective method which wine makers use to test the viability of wine before inoculating it into a soft strength or culture medium. “When I found out that I could get yeast from Paw-paw, I used it to produce wine. After that, I tested the yeast to see it was a quality one; I used it to produce sparkling wine. As I succeeded in doing that, I then went for the cocoanut yeast and then obtained it and I used it equally to produce wine. But cocoanut being a tranquilizer which means it neutralizes medicine; I didn’t go ahead producing that wine in large quantity. The name of the wine I produced is ‘Chrispeters’ wine with NAFDAC number 2266 which I obtained in 2007.
“The fruits I use to produce wine are usually pasteurized to kill whatever organism that is in them and then you inoculate the yeast that you have gotten into it and that will get the juice fermented. We could have produced the wine in large quantity, but we are still dealing with sediments because the wine we are making is from natural fruits, there is nothing artificial in it. But for us to do the home method or home brew style of making Champagne which is secondary fermentation within the bottle it has to produce sediment of yeast which our people do not understand, they see it as particle rather than the yeast. So, how to remove that has been our headache,” he said.
Like the Igbo would say, when you miss your way, you find a new one in the process. In the attempt to remove the sediment, the Tennessee State University trained researcher veered into how to get yeast from plants and in doing that, he has got over 200 types of yeasts isolated from different plants and has already patented 18 of the ones he said are very medicinal.
Breaking new ground
While researching on yeast, Chima appears to have delved into new area unknown to scientists.
Hear him: “Generally, scientists do not believe that you can get yeast from plants because yeast is part of the fungus which is made up of yeast and modes. Some scientists also do not believe that fungus can come from plants; they say they do not have evolutionary relationship that they come from different evolutionary parts. Again, that the mitosis and meiosis in plants and animals which are eukaryotic organisms is different from that of fungus and as such they shouldn’t have that and again they say the nature of spindle fibre or spindle apparatus in those eukaryotic organisms is different from that found in fungus”.
But he has proved them wrong by getting yeast from plant and fruits and has patented 18, and still looking forward to patent more.
Lack of funds
Chima received patent right certificate from the Federal Government for his efforts in yeast research, in August 2014.
Despite this, he has not been able to produce wine in commercial quantity for export and for domestic consumption due to lack of funds.
“We have written to a commercial agency like Raw Materials, Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Abuja, for assistance and they asked us to send in proposal in 2012. They said we are runner-up out of 15 people selected. Later on, they sent us an E-mail saying that our name was removed due to lack of funds and they asked us to send another. We sent another one when we got patent after the analysis of the table yeast produced from Moringa after an analysis by National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NRICT) in Zaria they endorsed it and stated that the yeast contains multi vitamins. After that we have not heard from them until today,” he said.
Appeal to the Imo State government
The Imo-born scientist said he was disappointed by some Federal Government agencies and about 30 pharmaceutical companies he had contacted for funding.
Even the attempt he made for partnership couldn’t work out, as according to him, “I have gone to universities like Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike for partnership in this research. They requested for samples of the yeast I produced, but unfortunately the person handling the test result died so the result was not gotten by the university and that became the end of the move.”
With all these disappointments to a good course, Chima said the only option left for him was to re-appeal to the Imo State government under Owelle Rochas Okoroacha to come to his aid.
“I have written to the Imo state government in 2013 concerning setting up an institution where this knowledge can be exposed or setting up a factory where there will be mass production, but I did not get any reply. I am optimistic that this time around, the governor will listen to me; even if it will be in the form of partnership. We need about N20million to get good stainless steel tanks and mass production will start,” he said.
Chima who on July 10, 2013 received an award from the then Federal Ministry of Technology, called Presidential Standing Committee and Innovation award informed that the yeast he produces is not only for wine making as it could be used as fertilizer to plants if the right proportion is added just as the fungus from them could also cure a lot diseases.
Midnight fire hits Abakpa residents, razes down 7 shops
From Chukwudera Eze, Enugu
It was a day of sorrow and gnashing of teeth for the occupants of No1 Udi Street, Ogwuaga in the suburb of Abakpa in Enugu State as fire gutted part of the building they are doing business, destroying their property and goods worth millions of naira.
The fire outbreak which affected about seven shops was said to have started at about 12:00a.m on Saturday, when the electricity distribution company gave a high voltage of light which caused a spark in one of the meters in the shops.
When Oriental News visited the scene in the morning, all the property in the shops had been burnt to ashes by the fire.
People were seen gathered in small numbers to help the victims evacuate the damaged remains and also sympathize with them.
Residents blamed the fire disaster on the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) who they claimed received report for more than two weeks about some electrical malfunctions in the area, but failed to address the problem.
The people, therefore, blamed the company for the fire outbreak.
One of the victims of the tragic disaster, Mrs Grace, was said to have fainted after receiving the shocking news from her son.
Her daughter, Miss Chioma confirmed to Oriental News that her mother fainted immediately she got the sad news.
Her words: “My mother fainted when my brother called her on phone to tell her that everything in our shop has burnt down. She has been taken out from this place. We cannot go back to school again because our source of livelihood is gone. The government should please help my family,” she pleaded crying.
Also speaking with Oriental News, a 72-year-old tailor, Mr Linus Ozomah whose house he also used as shop was also affected, lamented that the fire destroyed everything he had worked for in life.
Hear him: “When this fire started, I took my family out because this is where we live and use as our shop. Immediately I took my family out, the fire destroyed everything. Nothing was picked out from the shop. Property worth millions of naira was in the shop. That means I will start life all over again.”
He, therefore, called on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwanyi to come to his aid.
“Please I don’t know where to start, I don’t have a home as it stands now, because I used this place as my home, the governor should please help me let me start all over again because that is what it means now,” he cried out.
Another trader who was affected, Mrs Ifeoma Nwoye, who deals in food stuff, cried that the fire also destroyed N7 million worth of goods in her shop.
“Thirty minutes I came back from the shop, people came and was knocking at my door saying that my shop was on fire. I rushed immediately, but when I got there, I couldn’t enter because of the smoke. Nothing was picked from the shop, the fire destroyed everything,” she said.