Six communities in Akwa Ibom and the Cross River states are to benefit from micro projects funded by the European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The benefiting communities in Akwa Ibom State are Otoro Obong, Ikpe Anang in Etim Ekpo local government area and Ikot Akpan Afaha in Ukanafun local government area, while Cross River has Ipong in Obudu, Bojie/Borom in Boki and Akpab Okon Ene Ita in Bakassi local government areas of Cross River State as beneficiaries.
The projects to be implemented in the various communities include the provision of borehole, renovation of town hall, construction of abattoir, restoration and rehabilitation of electricity supply.
The intervention comes under Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) action aimed at building and maintaining peace, security, and stability in the West African sub region.
Besides, the action is a key component of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) to augment its efforts at preventing further the proliferation of illicit trafficking and flow of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
The executive director of Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE) –Africa, Dr Joel Bisina, the implementing non-governmental organisation, who visited the communities for assessments, underscored the overall objective of the action, disclosing that the state governments, EU and ECOWAS, were able to mop up some arms from these states and destroyed them in December 2019.
He added that about 300 youth from the two states in the South-South geopolitical zone have been trained on vocational and agricultural skills and that the beneficiaries would soon be empowered with starter packs, explaining that the micro-projects were “rewards and incentives for the communities.”
‘’In Nigeria, we are working in seven states including, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto, Kadun and Jigawa states. It is my hope and prayer that we will have the necessary cooperation of everyone in the community. While the work is going on, we will be coming from time to time to do the inspection. One thing especially, our young ones is that development cannot come to an environment where there is conflict’’, Bisnia said.
Earlier, former chairman, Etim Ekpo, Hon Udeme Eduo briefed the leaders, youth and women at Otoro Obong and Ikpe Annang on the mission of the LITE-Africa’s team in their respective domains, and recalled that the entire area was deserted because of youth restiveness and appealed to them to ensure the success of the projects.