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Fubara’s wife present N10m cheques to 20 Rivers farmers

Wife of Rivers State Governor, Lady Valerie Siminalayi Fubara, has presented cheques of N10million to 20 women farmers in the State who are the first batch of beneficiaries of the Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI) Women Agricultural Support Programme.

Lady Fubara handed over the dummy cheques at an event organised at the Banquet Hall of Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday where the beneficiaries were told to commit the money to boosting their agricultural yields.

Wife of the State Governor explained that the exercise was to flag-off another critical phase of the Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI) in Rivers State, which is a pet project of Her Excellency, First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Oluremi Tinubu.

She said, “I, therefore, bring you the felicitations of the Founder of this initiative, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who is working assiduously to bring smiles to the faces of families in our dear nation.

“In the recent past, the Renewed Hope Initiative, through its Rivers State Office, has flagged-off its support for the elderly; presented exercise books to school children, through the Ministry of Education and State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB); and some measures of support to ease the burden of families.

“A son of the State has also benefited from the Belarus RHI International Scholarship. This gesture, no matter how little, has been greatly appreciated by the recipients, and I cannot thank Her Excellency, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, enough for her foresight and commitment to this vision.”

Lady Fubara, noted that aside the cheques presented to the first batch of 20 beneficiaries of the Renewed Hope Initiative Women in Agriculture Support Programme, 80 more beneficiaries will be accommodated in subsequent phases of the programme as directed by the board. 

She reminded the beneficiaries that the money given to them now may not represent all they needed to boost their investments in the sector but added that it represented the efforts of a genuinely caring mother who did not want to sit back and allow her children suffer.

She said, “It is a seed investment in your agricultural businesses that is backed by the prayers of the founder for you to succeed. So, I urge you to make the best use of it”.

Lady Fubara further said: “You owe it as a sacred duty to ensure that these investments lead to increased and improved harvests from our farms in the next few months.

“I urge you to be frugal in the use of this seed money, and see it as a call from the Wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, to assist in building a strong support base for the agricultural revolution in Nigeria.”

Lady Fubara said the administration of Governor Siminalayi Fubara has commenced the review of agricultural policies to mitigate the challenges experienced in the sector.

She emphasised that the State Government is also committed to reviving State-owned agricultural intervention schemes such as the Songhai Integrated Farms, with encouragement to private investors to participate in the ongoing transformation in the sector.

The First Lady added, “I, therefore, urge you to also be agents of this transformative process in your little way. I am aware that you are facing challenging times but I urge you not to yield to any pressure that will make you invest this seed money into other ventures.

“As a believer, I am convinced that this money is only a sign of better things to come your way in 2024, and the years ahead.

“Do the women proud by making this seed investment to have multiplier effects in the government agro-economic transformation,” she emphasised.

In her goodwill speech, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof Ngozi Odu, said Rivers women are blessed to have Lady Fubara, who has continued to champion causes that are geared towards improving the living condition and economic status of women in the State on an all-inclusive basis.

She noted that if the beneficiaries commit the money into their agro- businesses, they will eventually impact the State positively while their personal lives, families and communities will greatly benefit also.

Also speaking, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the Rivers State University, retired Justice Mary Odili (JSC), commended the wife of the Rivers State Governor for linking up and working cordially with the First Lady of Nigeria, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who has vast experience, to attract diverse benefits to women and youths in the State.

Justice Odili also advised the beneficiaries to ensure that they deployed the grant given to them in agricultural ventures in order to improve their stakes, while also ensuring that when evaluations are made, Rivers State will not be scored as having misused the privileged support that it got for women farmers.

Delivering her welcome address, Rivers State Coordinator of the Renewed Hope Initiative, Mrs Tonye Briggs Oniyide, said the presentation of the cheques marked another milestone in the actualisation of the vision of the initiative.

Mrs Oniyide stated that the financial grant is targeted to the not-too-privileged persons in the society, adding that 20 women have been lucky for the first phase to mitigate the challenges that they faced in growing their agricultural yields for lack of funds.

She charged Rivers women to continue to support the First Lady of the State and the Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, to propel thd State to greater heights in prosperity and progress for the benefit of the people of the State.

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