- The Nigerian Air Force has ventured into agriculture for the sake of empowering youths
- The Force flagged off the scheme for youths in its Bases at Lagos and Kaduna states
- The scheme is aimed at creating gainful employment for youths as well as helping to develop the agricultural sector
The Nigerian Air Force on Wednesday, April 25, flagged-off a fish farming scheme for youths at the Sam Ethnan NAF Base, Lagos.
This is in continuation of efforts at empowering dependants of NAF personnel through a programme dubbed ‘Base Youths Empowerment Through Agriculture’ (BYETA).
The programme, which is an initiative of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, was instituted in 2016, as part of efforts at empowering barrack youths in all NAF Bases across the nation by training them in different aspects of agriculture so as to be positively engaged in productive enterprises while their parents are away on security operations across the country.
The special guest of honour at the ceremony, commissioner for agriculture, Lagos state, Oluwatoyin Suara, who was represented by the director of fisheries, Lagos state ministry of agriculture, Tokunbo Emokpae, noted that BYETA was in line with the vision of the Lagos state government on food security and job creation in the state.
She congratulated the CAS on the initiative and drive towards empowering youths as well as contributing to food sufficiency in the country. She also assured the gathering of the readiness of the Lagos state government to render necessary assistance to interested youths and women by training them in various aspects of agricultural activities.
In his remarks, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Nnamdi Ekeh, posited that the BYETA programme was carefully instituted to gainfully engage the youths residing in NAF Bases in productive ventures, such as fish farming, to help curb the proliferation of social vices in barracks.
“This programme is a deliberate effort by the CAS to key into the federal government’s agricultural plan, which is targeted at creating gainful employment for youths as well as helping to develop the agricultural sector of country,” he added.
The AOC lauded the CAS for the initiative and thereafter called on the beneficiaries to make the best use of the opportunity.
Earlier in his welcome Address, the Commander, 651 Base Services Group, Ikeja, Air Commodore Musibau Olatunji, disclosed that the BYETA programme has been well received by the Base community.
According to him, a total of 96 barrack youths had since shown interest and had been trained and empowered to commence the fish farming business.
“The youths have also come together to form an agricultural cooperative society so as to make it possible for them to access loans and other benefits from banks. He added that the BYETA programme at the Sam Ethnan Base would not be limited to only fish farming but would also explore piggery, poultry, snail rearing, goat rearing and others,” he said.
In a related development, on Tuesday, April 24, the Headquarters Air Training Command (ATC), flagged off a comprehensive fish farming scheme, as part of the BYETA programme, to engage youths at the premier NAF Base Kaduna in a gainful enterprise, so as empower them and make crime less attractive.
While speaking during the commissioning, the AOC Air Training Command, AVM Muhammed Idris, expressed his gratitude to the CAS for such a life transforming initiative.
Furthermore, the Commander 453 Base Services Group Kaduna, Air Commodore Ismaila Yahaya, explained that the programme was intended for barrack youths but might accommodate wives of personnel who are interested in farming.
He disclosed that all BYETA members in the Base, 70 in number, had formed cooperative societies to enable them have access to federal government agricultural loans.
“As a pilot project, two big ponds containing 1000 post-jumbo fingerlings were constructed and commissioned while more ponds will be commissioned in the nearest future,” he added.
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It would be recalled that BYETA programme was first launched in the NAF in 2016 and only recently, the crop farming season was flagged off at the NAF Base Port Harcourt.
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