Agatu Resource & Innovation Centre (ARIC), a Non-Governmental Organization, recently reached out to the less-privileged in some communities in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State.
The gesture was made possible by one of ARICs friend, Mr Dominic Sputo, based in the USA. This is part of the organization’s yearly gesture to put smile on the faces of the needy, especially widows and orphans in Agatu community.
The latest empowerment programme touched over 12 villages with 150 beneficiaries from different communities.
Among the communities that benefited from the gesture were, Obagaji, Ayele, Oshugbudu, Ogbangede, Ekwo, Okpanchenyi, Ikpele, Ogwule Kaduna, Ogwule Ogbaulu, Ogwule Ankpa, Ohelefu as well Okpokpolo.
Speaking with IDOMA VOICE, Ngbede Oyishoma, a board member of ARIC said food items were distributed in the first phase.
He added that the second phase would include skills acquisition & vocational training will commence in the first quarter of 2022.
In his words, “A total of 150 orphans from 44 households were identified across 12 villages in Agatu, this was preceded by Community mapping and meeting with relevant stakeholders, so as to ensure the right beneficiaries were targeted and reached.
“Foodstuff were procured and distributed to these households as a way of supporting families to have healthy nutrition.
“One of the highpoints of the event was the identification of a child who heads a household of 4 siblings, oldest child is 14 and youngest 8 years old, as their parents were killed by the herdsmen.
“A total of 60 young persons (already identified) will participate in the next round of support, skills acquisition and support to establish their small businesses.”
Before now, the organisation had done free Medical outreach, trained and empowered widows by donating sewing machines to women. Leadership training for youths and food distribution to widows of men killed by herdsmen in Agatu.
The flag-off of the food distribution to orphans at the Agatu Local Government Secretariat was witnessed by the Ada Agatu, Chief Godwin Onah, Chiefs from all over the LG, the Education Secretary among others.
Mr Ngbede added that, “ARIC, which commenced in 2018, is a development driven organization with the passion of creating peaceful, sustainable development and livelihood for the Agatu people of Benue and Nasarawa States of Nigeria.
“ARIC is set to end the paradox of Agatu people living in abject poverty without basic social amenities in the midst of plenty. Agatu is a land of unrealized potentials, rich in land, water and untapped human capital resources. ARIC plans to train and empower women and youths using available resources to convert the enormous agricultural produce into finished and semi-finished goods. Agatu has dormant hundreds of kilometres of paddy and arable land that if properly harnessed through dry season farming will turn around the economic fortunes of the people and play significant role in the provision of food security in Nigeria.
“ARIC is engaging the youths through skills acquisition and mentoring to help them discover themselves, opportunities and maximize their potentials. ARIC is raising future leaders of integrity and values that will transform the communities and eradicate youth dependence on politicians for ‘hand-outs’.
“ARIC is committed in the conservation of the flora and fauna of Agatu fish ponds and their surrounding environments. These ponds have been threatened and depleted by climatic conditions and nefarious fishing and economic activities. It is hoped that this will boost the economy of the locals and improve nutrition especially protein intake.
“ARIC has been involved in engaging various stake holders towards the rebuilding and reconstruction of destroyed Agatu towns and villages. She is committed to a peaceful Agatu where language, ethnicity and religion will not be recipe for violence.
ARIC advocates for peaceful and sustainable development, building effective leadership and followership by partnering with organizations and individuals within and outside Nigeria.
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