The chairman of Ogun state House of Assembly committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Akeem Balogun popularly known as Baloo Spero, in collaboration with First City Monument Bank(FCMB) has trained Ogun Waterside women on skill acquisition.

While speaking during his visit to the venue of the skill acquisition programme in Iwopin recently, the lawmaker said he was particularly concerned with capacity building during his campaign.

He expressed the belief that empowering women and youth through necessary skill acquisition remained the engine room for any nation to develop.

“The two weeks training has given Ogun Waterside women the opportunity to engage in various skill acquisition programmes such as how to use water hyacinth popularly called Gbeborun in local parlance to weave bag, chair,mat, slippers ,etc,”he said.

He noted that countries the world over are developing because of skill acquisition and small and medium scale entrepreneurship, urging the participants to utilise the opportunity and continue to put into real practice the skills acquired.

The Zonal Head, Business Development Retail Banking, South West of FCMB, Mr Oluwatosin Adegbenle explained that the training was meant to take the participants through the nitty-gritty of how to turn waste to wealth by leveraging on water hyacinth to make chairs, bags, wigs, slippers and other valuable materials.

“FCMB’s decision to sponsor this economic empowerment project is part of our environmental sustainability, economic empowerment and poverty alleviation efforts to curb the menace of water hyacinth as well as other challenges in the environment.

“With the new skills learnt under our Community Social Responsibility (CSR) mantra of ” teach a man to fish”, residents of Iwopin and nearby communities have been empowered to turn a disadvantage into source of income . Indeed , we have been able to preserve the environment and at the same time empower people thereby reducing poverty,” Adegbenle stated.

Faces of beneficiaries at the event

A leading facilitator of the skill acquisition programme, Mr. Nurudeen Onaniyi stated that he was happy with what they(participants) have been able to do with water hyacinth which he said was hitherto known to be useless and harmful.

“Water Hyacinth(Gbeborun) has been a curse to us in Ogun Waterside especially to the fishermen and travelers on the waterways. It was known for destructions and uselessness.

“Today, God has used me and the people of like minds to change the rhyme. Water hyacinth is now a money making plant.

“I am extremely happy to be part of the team that find solution to this hydra headed and dreadful water plant locally called Gbeborun,” Onaniyi, an indigene of Ogun Waterside, said.

He added that best eight of the trained participants have been selected for further training and exposure to sophisticated machines and modern methods of processing and crafting water hyacinth.

One of the participants , Mrs. Sanni Adijat, lauded the organisers of the programme for bringing such an impactful programme to Ogun Waterside.

Another participant, Mrs. Owoseni Tawakalitu said, “I didn’t believe anything tangible can come out of Gbeborun. Some people were making jest of us when we reluctantly join the training. Today, I thank God that I am part of this success story.”

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