By Yemi Itodo
In a bid to make the girl child self reliant and less vulnerable to RAPE, the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), Zaria, last week, alongside other experts, trained 100 girls on various skills in Benue State.
The one-week training was organized at the instance of Miss Idoma Ambassador, Queen Esther Ene Daniels.
The participants who were drawn from the 9 LGAs of Benue South, were trained from Monday 7th to Saturday 12th September, 2020 on skills such as, production of hand sanitizer, liquid soup, odour control, body spray/perfumes, shoes, hand bags, fascinator, carrot oil, cake baking, poultry rearing and makeup.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony at the weekend, the Special Assistant to the Director General of NARICT, Dr. Victor Ochigbo, said he led the team of trainers to Benue on the request of the Benue beauty Queen, whom he commended for her fervent campaign against RAPE.
Ochigbo assured the readiness of his agency and the commitment of the DG, Prof. Jeffrey Baminas to always partner with the Queen in her future activities.
In her welcome address, Miss Daniels said the skill acquisition training was part of her empowerment program for the Idoma girl child, stressing that the gesture would go a long way to reduce the menace of RAPE in Idoma land.
“It will be recalled that, in May this year, I launched an online awareness campaign against RAPE tagged ‘Give Her Pen, Not Penis’. This literary suggests that we should invest in the education/training of the Girl Child rather than causing her pains.
“Aside the awareness campaign which received massive support online by Idoma youth both home and abroad, I have also distributed exercise books to the Idoma Girl Child, including distribution of palliatives during the lockdown, while distributing customized Face Shields with my anti-RAPE slogan to various organizations during and after the lockdown.
“I have also visited virtually all our leaders and elders, both male and female from Benue South, to appeal to their sensitivity to join hands in this fight against RAPE, through a strong legislation, dependable judicial system, orientation of the male folks and a powerful neighborhood watch system.
“One of the ways too, that our leaders could assist in reducing the RAPE menace, is by supporting organizations and individuals who are committed to the empowerment of the Idoma Girl Child. It is believed that when they are empowered through skill acquisition trainings, they become economically viable, self-reliant and less vulnerable to RAPE”, she said.
The beauty Queen called on willing organizations and Benue political leaders to support her initiative so as to continue with the empowerment program every year.
“In as much as we intended to do more, we were however, constrained by unavailability of funds to prosecute our thought. Among the many Non-Governmental Organisations we wrote to, it was only Ojechema & Mercy Foundation and Ada Mark Foundation for Girls that have responded through financial and material support, respectively. We also visited and wrote to our leaders for support, but just a few of them answered our calls.
“I intend to make this program a yearly activity. Even long after I have handed over my crown, I would want to continue with this great initiative, through my yet-to-be registered Foundation and with partnership with Free Image Entertainment, the platform that provided me this opportunity to give my voice against RAPE.
“In this regard, I seek your kind support to enable me register and launch Queen Esther Foundation in a couple of weeks to come. I also seek your support to enable me sustain this legacy that I count as the biggest empowerment program ever in the history of Benue State”, the Queen added.
In their separate remarks, Member representing Ogbadibo at the Benue House of Assembly, Hon. Peter Enemari and the Paramount Ruler of Otukpa Chiefdom, HRH Sir Sunday Ekele, the Och’Otukpa, Leader, Ogbadibo Legislative Council, Hon. Jacob Idoko and Hon. Emmanuel Ogwuche, commended the initiative of the beauty Queen, while urging more support for her Foundation to make the empowerment more elaborate, subsequently.
Highlight of the program was exhibition of various products by the trainees and presentation of N20,000 takeoff capital to each of the participants by the beauty Queen, with the promise to monitor and mentor them for 2 months to ensure they are successful in their trades.