Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha 

The lawmaker representing Onitsha North and South Federal Constituency of Anambra State in the House of Representatives, Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu, organised a two-day fish farming training for youths and women of the constituency recently.

The training was handled by the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Lagos. At the end of the training, the college issued certificates and N50,000 each to 150 participants from the lawmaker as take-off funds to start their own fish rearing or feed processing business. 

The participants were selected from various groups such as Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal churches, Muslims, Yoruba and Hausa communities as well as from different associations in the constituency. They were taught the fish value chain and fish feed formulation, production, packaging and marketing by a research scientist from the institute, Mr. Ibifubara Ayaobu-Cookey K.

Ayaobu-Cookey, who represented the executive director/CEO of the institute, Dr. Abiodun Sule, said the fish farming training was part of the Ikpeazu’s constituency projects to empower her people. He said it would create job opportunities for the youth as well as increase the GDP of the country. 

“I want to commend the lawmaker. When you empower the people, you curb unemployment, youth restiveness, poverty and so many other vices that come with idleness. They can also form a co-operative society to access Federal Government loans and grants,” he said.

Ikpeazu’s senior special adviser on political matters, Chief Frank Onuorah, who represented the lawmaker at the training, said the exercise was part of her empowerment programmes to constituents. He said she trained more than 500 people in December last year in fish farming.

“After the election in 2019, she organised many empowerment programmes and had in the past empowered many people, where she distributed items to the people of the constituency and also trained many in various skills,” he said.

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He advised the participants to adhere to what they were taught and put the training to practice.

The leader of the team of trainers, Mr. Stanley Power, said the training was for youths and women with the mandate to produce middle-level manpower equipped with technical knowledge and vocational skills in fisheries technology.

“Our expectation is that, after this training, they will take off where we stopped. For instance, they were trained in fish feed production. They are expected to produce this fish feed after we might have left, either for small-scale level or for commercial purposes. We also taught them how to produce fingerlings and fish value chain as an entrepreneur or trainer. It is either they produce it for their own farm or for commercial purpose,” Power said.

A senior legislative assistant to the lawmaker, Mr. Uche Okwi, said a similar training had been conducted last year where more than 120 youths participated and cash empowerment was given to them. He urged the participants to utilise the opportunity to be self-reliant and employers of labour.

“We select the participants based on the nature of our constituency, which comprises Onitsha North and South local governments, where we selected. We also selected from churches, in 32 wards in the constituency, non-governmental organisations, communities, indigenes and non-indigenes like the Hausa and Yourba, once you live in Onitsha.”

Okwi said that those trained by the lawmaker in various skills were currently doing well in their various businesses and had empowered others who were on their payroll. He said there would be more training and empowerment programmes for the constituents in November and December, especially in the installation of solar power and poultry.

Daily Sun spoke with some of the participants, including Alaboja Francis Ikoojo, Godwin Ejikeme, Amsat Fatai Adeniyi, Nonso Obi, Uchenna Mba and Abdul Fatai Abiola. They thanked the lawmaker for the free training and cash empowerment to start up their own fish farms.

They promised to establish their own fish farm, even as they urged other lawmakers and political leaders to emulate Lynda Ikpeazu.

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