Government of Ebonyi state has commenced the registration and data capturing of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, living in the state. The government said the youth ”were misled to join the agitation of the group.”
The State Commissioner for Economic Empowerment and Job Creation, Uchenna Orji, said this in Abakaliki.
He said the exercise was going on simultaneously in the 13 local government areas of the state.
He said the initiative by the state government would make the IPOB members economically independent and help in reducing social vices and other forms of criminality currently plaguing the society.
The commissioner, who said that the state government had extended its empowerment schemes to Ebonyi youth in other states of the federation including Sokoto, Kaduna, Anambra and Lagos, added that over 3000 youths had so far been empowered in the State.
According to him, the state government was set to create 12,000 jobs through the empowerment of these youths, including women as they are currently being given N250, 000 each to start up any business of their choice so that they will become economically self-sufficient.
Mr. Orji further added that the reason for the numerous empowerment programmes of the Governor David Umahi-administration was to increase the per capital income of Ebonyi citizens and ensure the boosting of the economic status of the state.
“Those of them that have taken to the streets due to lack of job will be empowered so that they can be usefully and meaningful to the society. Those who are living and staying outside the state are equally undergoing our empowerment programmes.”
IPOB, a group seeking for a secession from the rest of the country, is led by Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabout is currently unknown after a military onslaught on his community in Abia last month.
The group had clashed sporadically with soldiers who were there on an exercise tagged Python Dance.
The Federal Government later declared the group a terrorist organisation while the South-east governors also banned the group.
Also, the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, on Wednesday warned Nigerians from the South-east to prepare adequately for a day when allocations from the federal government will dry up.
He also warned that, with the calls for restructuring of Nigeria, that day may come sooner than expected.
Mr. Umahi, who is also the Chairman of South-east Governors’ Forum, said only adequate preparations will enable the zone to cope with the challenges that may occur if restructuring of Nigeria was achieved.
The governor spoke at government house Abakaliki when he received a women group, Ebonyi Women Movement for Akabaraoha.
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“Very soon, there will be no more money coming from Abuja, it will happen just suddenly. If they just say okay let us do restructuring and of course the North is doing greatly very well, how do we survive? North has a lot of opportunities, they are moving into agriculture”, he said.
“And so some people see restructuring as a dream that may not come to pass. If they say we must restructure and let every region harness its resources and keep it, bring 50% of it to the centre, 30% to common pocket to be redistributed and 20% to the federal government.”
“The question is, what are we going to bring to the centre? But this is one of the aspects of restructuring and so we must wake up. I will continue to shout it, we must hear that and I am happy the President commended Ebonyi State in agriculture and fertiliser.
“One of my fights in this state is that Abakaliki rice is not dimmed because it is known all over the world. But we have to do different things if we must excel. We have improved in agriculture actually but we have not reached our destination and we must get to the destination in rice production in this country.”
He called on women of the state to key into his empowerment programmes and promised more appointment of women into his administration.