From: Joe Effiong, Uyo

Akwa Ibom State Governor Pastor Umo Eno has commended First Lady of Nigeria and National Chairman of the Renewed Hope Initiative, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, for the strides and impact recorded by the organisation.

Governor Eno gave the commendation at the launch of the Renewed Hope Initiative Women Agriculture Support Programme for the South-South geo-political zone of Nigeria, held at the Government House Banquet Hall in Uyo. He expressed delight at the inclusion of a support programme for people with special needs.

“I understand that during this event, about a hundred persons living with special needs will receive financial empowerment through the Renewed Hope Initiative Business Recapitalisation Grant,” he said. “Let me specifically commend Her Excellency, the First Lady, for the Humanitarian disposition of the Renewed Hope Initiative.”

Eno recalled the First Lady’s previous empowerment programme in the state, where 250 elders received N100,000 each. “We told her we will support and adopt that initiative by launching the Arise Initiative for the Elders, which is now in operation,” he said. “Every month, elders, especially the vulnerable ones, from the 369 wards in all the Local Government Areas in the State are given fifty thousand naira each to take care of their needs, especially food and medicine.”

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The Governor emphasised the importance of the programme in supporting farming populations and ensuring food security. “As our nation grapples with this challenging economic environment that has led to high prices of food items, this programme will help support our farming populations to ensure that we get back to the farm,” he said.

Eno also highlighted the state’s commitment to supporting people with disabilities. “One of the very first appointments I made was that of an assistant to the Governor on students living with disabilities, as well as another with other people with special needs,” he said. “We have gone ahead to institute a N100 million grant for students living with disabilities. So far, we have paid N250,000 and N350,000 respectively to undergraduates and Postgraduates. Students living with special needs.”

Inaugurating the RHI Women Agricultural Support Programme, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, represented by the wife of the Vice President, Hajia Nana Shettima, disclosed that the programme aims to empower 20 women each from the six states in the South-South region with the sum of N500,000 per beneficiary. She explained that 75% of the beneficiaries are young females mainly involved in agriculture.

The First Lady further announced that 100 persons living with disabilities who are in small-scale businesses would each receive the sum of N100,000 to boost their businesses.

Akwa Ibom State First Lady, Mrs. Patience Umo Eno, acknowledged the challenges women in agriculture often face and expressed appreciation for the opportunity provided by the programme.