NALDA Recruits Rehabilitated Drug Addicts and Others into Cattle Breeding in Kano
James Emejo in Abuja
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has enrolled 500 rehabilitated drug addicts in its breeding program in Kano State.
NALDA Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer Prince Paul Ikonne said under the program 100 women got three goats each while 200 youths got one cow for every two people, adding that they will also undergo training in animal husbandry and financial management to improve their ability to run the business.
The empowerment program is in collaboration with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Salamah Youth Empowerment and Enlightenment Initiative.
Over 300 beneficiaries received cattle in a ceremony at the central slaughterhouse in Kofarmazugal, Kano.
Ikonne, further assured that the first phase of the exercise would be completed later in March with a total of 500 rehabilitated men and women expected to be empowered.
The development came at a critical time when the threat of drug abuse is on the rise among the nation’s youth.
The empowerment initiative is part of the NALDA integrated farms project currently being established in the six geopolitical zones to, among other things, revive the rural economy, empower youth through agriculture and strengthen the diversification program of the current administration.
Ikonne said, “An organization that rehabilitates children from drugs organizes them for empowerment. If they are left without clearance, they will revert to drug use. And it is in President Muhammadu Buhari’s interest to ensure that we reduce drug addiction and create jobs in the country.
“So that’s a way to keep them off drugs and meaningfully involved. We’ve empowered the first 300, the remaining 200 will soon be completed in phase one in Kano by March. It will be done in different states, and we want to encourage other organizations to reach out to these addicts in order to rehabilitate them and NALDA will engage them in meaningful livelihood opportunities through agricultural value chains.
Shedding light on the initiative, the NALDA boss said:
“Over the next three months they would have sold the cows and the money put into the pool, and another set of cows would be given to them – so the profit goes to them and the capital is reinvested. That’s why, doing it in a cluster with an organization is best.
“Now it’s done in a slaughterhouse, and inside the slaughterhouse, they have an association, then supervised by these organizations, so it makes it easier for us to control. As they scale the fund, it’s easier for us to empower more people. And encourage more people not to use drugs.
“But for the women to whom we give goats, we will raise them between six months and a year depending on the size of the goat, but our main interest is in those who have been rehabilitated, that is to say the youngsters of the slaughterhouse, they’re the ones we’re looking at three months.
However, the NDLEA Commander in Kano, Alhaji Isah Mahammed, commended NALDA for the initiative to address youth idleness which is one of the major causes of drug addiction.
He said: “Anyone who does not have a source of income will definitely look for something that will make them forget their lack of vocation and most of the time they turn to drugs. This initiative of NALDA with the support of the President and the Salamah Foundation, which has provided young people with the means of subsistence – the focus will now be on the means of survival given to them.
Furthermore, the initiator of the Salamah Youth Empowerment and Enlightenment Initiative, Senator Naja’tu Bala Muhammed, representing Kano Central Senatorial District, while commending the intervention of NALDA, said that ‘she remained the best any parastatal government had done in the state.
She said, “I have spoken a lot against this government of President Buhari, but I realize that it is necessary that I also start the change I long for. Then I initiated this program with the NDLEA to rehabilitate our young people who were drug addicts, but we realized that if we are to give them hope, we have to show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel by engaging them in a meaningful way.