IFAD Coordinators visit Imo House of Assembly, received by Rt.Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu

The coordinators of IFAD-assisted community Based Natural Resources

management Programme – Niger Delta (CBN RMP –ND) on Monday the 10th

of October 2011 paid a courtesy visit to the Imo State House of Assembly.

They were received by the Honourable members led by the Speaker of

IMHA, Rt. Hon. Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu.

The leader of the delegation and National Programme Coordinator

IFAD/FGN/NDDC, CBNRMP-ND, Dr. (Mrs) Irene Jumbo-Ibeakuze described

the IFAD programme as a proactive agency of the Federal Government

modeled to assist the rural dwellers.

Dr. (Mrs) Irene said that she led her team to visit the Imo Assembly

in Order to explain the true picture of the IFAD programme, bearing in

mind that the current legislature in the state led by the ebullient

speaker Uwajumogu have proved itself worthy to be trusted with

developmental initiatives of donor agencies. According to her,

IFAD/FGN/NDDC – CBN RMP-ND is an integrated agriculture and

development programme aimed at the improvement of the livelihood and

living conditions of at least 400,000 rural poor households with

emphasis on women and youths in Niger Delta region. Mrs. Irene Jumbo

revealed that the programme is jointly funded by the International

Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Federal Government of

Nigeria (FGN), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nine (9)

participating states of Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta,

Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.

Hear Dr. (Mrs) Irene Jumbo,

“This programme became effective on the 7th of July 2006 and would be

completed on the 30th of September 2013 while the closing date is 31st

September 2014. Our programme goals,  objectives and specific components

include the following

(1) To improve the standard of living and quality of life of rural

poor households

(2) To build the capacity of rural dwellers and their service providers to

intervene in their own developmental initiatives.

(3) To establish an effectively disbursable community development fund

to be managed by the community members.

Our specific components is subdivided into two, namely

(1) Institutional Strengthening and

(2) Community Development

Institutional strengthening is further subdivided into (1) Capacity

building and training (2) Communication and linkage. While Community

Development is achieved through (a) sustainable livelihood improvement

(b) Small Scale Rural infrastructure (c) Sustainable Natural Resources

Management. Dr. (Mrs) Irene Jumbo continued,

“Mr. Speaker Sir, the target of IFAD/FGN/NDDC/CBNRMP-ND is women

because they are known  to be care givers and home makers. We are also

focusing on nutrition as a  major item or ingredient of development and

assessing the role of nutrition in pregnant women, nursing mothers,

pregnant teenagers, toddlers, adolescents and children below five years of

age. We equally plan, implement and monitor the disbursement of funds in

the rural areas. Everything must not be government.

In his contribution, Dr. Ferdinand C. Okorowu, the Imo State programme

Officer of IFAD said that Nigeria’s funding is 10% which is the

availability of land and provision of human labour. There are funds to

be drawn from the donor agency, but the problem here is the

counterpart funding from Imo state. You cannot draw this funds without

the counterpart funding. We signed an agreement in Rome so as to be

able to draw this funds, but we have not effectively utilized the

opportunity. Imo State have been owing N409million per year since

2006. No local government area in Imo State has paid. When you pay,

you also received equal amount. In Ondo state, they find it cheaper to

implement rural programme because they are forthcoming in their

counterpart funding. Cross-river state is another state that is

forthcoming in counterpart funding. But in Imo State, we have a great

burden because we are lagging behind. The truth is that once the rural

areas are developed, there is no need to go to urban towns to look for

greener pastures. Agriculture should put food on our table and money

in our pockets. “Unquote”.

However, Dr. Ferdinand Okorowu went further, “We explained all these to

the Commissioner for Agriculture when our team visited in July 2011. If we

pay the arrears, all the   funds due to Imo State since 2007 would be paid.

Imo state is theleast performing state in terms of payments. It has been

there since 2006. But the Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, from what we

know about him, is rural friendly.

The honourable member representing Ikeduru state constituency, Hon.

Chief Sam Daddy Anyanwu in his reaction asked whether the Programme

has facilities to train individuals for rural development. Dr. (Mrs)

Irene Jumbo – Ibeakuze responded by saying that training of

individuals has been an on-going programme of IFAD, noting that “We

trained a man from Akabo in Ikeduru LGA who is now a fish magnet. We

have also built school blocks, constructed boreholes etc. All these

are verifiable”. Unquote

Responding, the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon.

Benjamin Uwajumogu thanked the IFAD coordinators for the visit and

praised them for the efforts they have so far made to bring

development in our rural areas. He stated that Agriculture has

remained the lowest sector in Africa (in terms of productivity) even

though it is the main stay of most economies like INDIA and THAILAND

whose production of ordinary onions has continued to amaze people

globally. He however pleaded that FADAMA, ADC and other Agricultural

agencies in the country should assist Nigeria in making food to be

sufficient in the country.

Hear the vibrant legislator,

“When I see people and groups like you, I become motivated and encouraged to assist in this kind of programme. Most Honourable members in this State House of Assembly are involved in Agriculture, so what you have told us is not actually new but it has really motivated and spurred us into more legislative actions. We are considering the amendment of local government law to assist in rural Agricultural development. Meanwhile, let us have a MEMO on the things you need so that we would know from what stand point to assist.

Luckily, we have a government that is rural friendly and this simply means that we are going to partner with your group to bring agricultural development to our rural areas and of course empowerment to our rural dwellers. Please help us increase our food security”.

The IFAD coordinators who accompanied Dr. (Mrs) Irena-Jumbo Ibeakuze

to visit Imo State House of Assembly include (1) Dame Elsie – Tagbo

RBK Okafor (2) Dr. Jones Lemchi – IFAD land consultant (3) Chief Anayo

A. Alozie, Managing Director ,ISOPADEC (4) Dr. Ferdinand C. Okoronwu –

Imo State programme Officer of IFAD (5) Engr. Abiodun Sanni – IFAD

Programme Engineer (6) Mr. Ojiaka Obinna, Monitoring and Evaluation

Specialist Imo State CBN RMP.

While other honorable members who joined Rt. Hon. Ben Uwajumogu to

receive the IFAD coordinators include (1) The Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon.

Donatus Ozoemena (2) Hon. Emeka Nwafor (3) Hon. Sam Daddy Nnaemeka

Anyanwu (4) Hon. Obinna Okwara (5) Hon. Chino Obioha (6) Hon. Innocent

Eke (7) Hon. Eudora Igwe (8) Hon. Ikechukwu Amuka (9) Hon. Victor

Ndunagu (10) The Clerk of the House, Chief Bar. Chris Duru J. P. (11)

The Chief of Staff IMHA, Hon. Chief Kodichi Anamekwe, amongst others.

Signed

Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha

Special Adviser on Media To the

Rt.Hon. Speaker.

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