From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Japanese government is planning to expend N320 million to equip Benue youths with practical skills and to support Internally Displaced Persons, (IDPs) in the state.
UNDP Resident Representative Mr Muhammed Yahaya disclosed this during a courtesy call on Governor Samuel Ortom at the Government House in Makurdi on Tuesday.
Yahaya explained that N200 million has been earmarked for skills acquisition while N120 million would be invested to scale up access to livelihoods to communities affected by conflict including IDPs.
According to him, when released, the fund would also help Benue youths to acquire the requisite technology in all the agriculture value chain with the aim of promoting participation in the sector that has the capacity to transform lives.
He said the gesture was to give youths the opportunity to find innovative solutions to address challenges in the agriculture value chain, to ameliorate the risk of food insecurity, create jobs and justify Benue as the food basket of the nation.
Yahaya lamented that for the first time since its introduction in 1990, the Human Development Index is declining globally with a corresponding rise in unemployment among other challenges.
The UNDP Representative acknowledged the damage caused to the global economy and Nigeria in particular by the coronavirus pandemic.
Responding, Governor Ortom thanked the UNDP Resident Representative for particularly taking a special interest in the condition of IDPs in the state, just as he restated his administration’s readiness to continually provide the needs of IDPs and Cameroonian refugees who are being camped in Kwande Local Government Area.
He informed the UNDP representative that the state government has embraced the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP) of the federal government with the hope that the policy would end the farmer-herder conflict.