Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has empowered more than 526 men and women from 20 local government areas of Bauchi Stateas part of the series of activities lined up to mark his 50th birthday.
The event, held at the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, hall in Bogoro local government area, Bauchi at the weekend, presented certificates and cheques of N100,000 start-up pack to each of the beneficiaries.
According to the organiser, the empowerment programme on building entrepreneurial skills, participants were taught how to add value to food crops such as beans and rice and how to package them properly for onward sale to earn income.
Some of the participants demonstrated the skills they learnt to the Speaker and all present at the event.
In a vote of thanks delivered on behalf of all the beneficiaries of the empowerment programme, Uwaliya Inuwa from Dass Local Government promised to apply the skills they acquired make judicious use of the opportunity granted them by Speaker to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
In his remarks, Mr Dogara said the programme was part of his efforts to reduce poverty at the grassroots, saying no democracy can succeed when poverty thrives.
He also disclosed that so far, through the support of his friends, N300 million has been raised from donations at a birthday charity football match and book launch for onward presentation to internally displaced persons in Nigeria.
“In that event, just for you to know we are not just blessings to you but from this constituency we are raising resources to address poverty and internal displacement in Nigeria.
“That event has generated about N300 million and I believe it will be more because people are still pledging more. The credit belongs to all of us because if you had not supported me this wouldn’t have been possible,” he noted.
Thanking them for supporting him to be able to make these happen by re-electing him, he assured them that he will provide support for all, irrespective of those who didn’t vote for him because he does not discriminate along any line.
The speaker said his goal is to raise people from the ashes of poverty to a glorious destiny, he therefore appealed to them to make good use of the money presented to them to do businesses that will provide income for them and their families.
“What we are doing here today is not politics. We are here to attend to those needs that have dire consequences on our nation. I have said it several times that poverty is a threat to our democracy and the only way we can address it is from the roots.
“Democracy should go with prosperity; we are not here to do any campaign. We are not here only for the training but to put resources in your hands and hope you won’t allow these resources to dry up,” Mr Dogara said.