The National Agriculture Land Development Authority (NALDA) has begun the distribution of cows and goats to 500 rehabilitated drug addicts and women in Kano to enable them to set up livestock farms.
So far, 100 women got 300 goats while 200 men got cows and the agency said an additional 200 will be given before the end of March.
They are expected to be trained on animal husbandry and financial capacity to enhance their ability to manage the business.
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Speaking at the presentation ceremony in Kano, NALDA Executive Secretary, Prince Paul Ikonne, said the first phase of the programme in Kano State will benefit a total of 500 men and women.
“An organisation that has been rehabilitating children from drugs is organising them for empowerment, if they are left without empowerment, they would go back to drug-taking.
“And it is President Muhammadu Buhari’s interest to ensure that we reduce drug addiction and create employment in the country.
“So, this is a way of keeping them out of drug and engaging them meaningfully.
“We have empowered the first 300; the remaining 200 will be done soon in the first phase in Kano by March.
“This will be done in different states, and we want to encourage other organisations to reach out to these drug addicts in order to rehabilitate them and NALDA will engage them in meaningful means of income through agricultural value chains,” he said.
The Executive Secretary said since the beneficiaries are registered with an organisation, it makes it easier for monitoring and the organisation becomes watchdogs.
Explaining what is expected of the beneficiaries, he said: “In the next three months, they would have sold the cows and the money put in the poll, and another set of cows will be given to them, so the profit goes to them and the capital is re-invested. That is why doing it in a cluster with an organisation is the best.”
Also, the initiator of Salamah Youth Empowerment and Enlightenment Initiative, Senator Naja’tu Bala Muhammed, representing Kano Central Senatorial District, commended NALDA for the intervention.
According to her, “I have spoken a lot against this government of President Buhari but I realise that there is the need for me to also start the change I crave for.
“Then I initiated this programme with the NDLEA to rehabilitate our youth who were drug addicts, but we realized that if we must give them hope, we must show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel by meaningfully engaging them.”
The NDLEA Commandant in Kano, Alhaji Isah Mahammed, commending NALDA for the initiative said idleness is one of the major causes of drug abuse.
“Anybody that does not have a source of income will certainly look for something that would make him forget his lack of vocation and most times, they turn to drugs.
“This initiative by NALDA with the support of the President and the Salamah Foundation that has seen youths being given means of livelihood, their focus will now be on the means of survival given to them,” he said.