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Women urged to champion Imo palm programme By Chinasa Ogbonna

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has called on women to champion the state’s palm-to- palm programme.

The governor who made the appeal while addressing Imo women on a one-day sensitization workshop on “Kuo nu nkwu, Umu-nwanyi” organized for the Community Government Council (CGC) Women leaders in the state, said that palm is a rare gift from God.

He said that Ndigbo must make proper use of it to better their economy and described women as special creatures from God who determine to succeed in whatever they do.

He, therefore, urged them to take the palm business seriously, adding, that CGC and Ikuola Nkwu are the two biggest legacies of his administration.

He used the opportunity to speak on the Ebola virus Disease (EVD) ravaging West Africa and decreed that Ebola will not come to Imo.

The governor advised them to go more spiritual than physical in fighting off the disease and to avoid lying corpses in – state as well as to watch out for arrival of any person from the Africa countries in the state.

The governor, who acknowledged the role of women in nation building, stated that any nation that wants to move forward must recognize the women.

He noted that his administration is moving forward because women are supporting it, and that the growth and failure of any nation is in the hands of women.

Earlier in her keynote address, the Director General Women Development Centre, Imo State, Hon. Mrs Ndidi Noel Iheme, said that the ‘Ikuo-la Nkwu’ is one of the cardinal objectives and developmental programmes and economic policy thrust of the state government which underscores its benefits and relevances as a rural-based economic venture to be embarked upon by the rural communities.

She noted the importance of oil palm to the economy of Imo State when the policy becomes fully realized and recalled that the economy of the former Eastern Nigeria back in the days of the late Premier Michael Okpara was built around oil palm.

The Director said the cardinal objective of the centre is to develop and empower women of Imo State, especially rural women, through impartation of skills that will enable them engage meaningfully in small and medium scale businesses with little funding.

Igbo women, she said, are known to be industrious and enterprising and regretted that these rare qualities are slipping away from them due to rural-urban drift.

Mrs Iheme commended the governor for reviving and re-engineering the major palm plantation project in the state (Imo Palm Plantation), introducing and funding the Ikuola Nkwu project in the 637 autonomous communities in the 27 local governments of the state.

She assured that with efforts of the present rescue mission administration in Imo State to ensure provision of social amenities in the rural communities such as roads, hospitals, massive infrastructure vis-à-vis the CGC initiative, there is going to be a drastic change in the trend to urban-rural drift in the near future in the state.

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