By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Defence and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA) has trained and empowered 40 persons in different skills and trade at the Defence Skill Acquisition Centre (DSAC) in Abuja.
At the Graduation Ceremony of the Batch Seven of the DSAC on Monday, President of DEPOWA, Mrs Omobolanle Olanisakin, said the training was to help beneficiaries support their families.
Olanisakin said the programme was part of DEPOWA’s efforts at ensuring the welfare and wellbeing of widows and wards of fallen heroes, as well as the needy of the society.
She disclosed that 16 of the beneficiaries were widows of fallen soldiers, while five were selected vulnerable youths.
According to her, a total of 228 students, out of which 112 of them are widows, have graduated from the centre and are performing commendably well in their trades of choice.
“We have groomed you to help secure your future and in the process be an employer of labour and give livelihood to others too.
“Go forth and shine like the stars that you truly are.
“As it is our custom since the inception of this empowerment programme, that widows and vulnerable youths amongst you be given trade starter packs and financial assistance to secure a shop,” she said.
Mrs Olanisakin commended the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Inspector General of Police, and all the military chiefs for their support for DEPOWA’s skill acquisition programme.
She, however, urged beneficiaries to make the best out of the skills they had acquired to enable them contribute to national development.
The CDS, represented by the Chief of Defence Administration, Rear Admiral A.O Suleiman, urged recipients to show commitment in utilising the skills.
He said support for wards and dependents of personnel and fallen heroes was paramount to the armed forces of Nigeria.
“The trainees are quality products of DEPOWA programme designed to contribute to the nation’s economic development.
“This is an important day for you; and as a natural cause for any graduation, is a day you are to applaud yourself, reflect on your accomplishments and think about your future.
“The conferment today is one of the many successes that you are after.
There is no doubt too that your accomplishments today have earned you the respect of your class teachers and families alike,” he said.
Also, the Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) Dr Dikko Umaru-Radda, represented by a Deputy Director, Mr Ibrahim Abdulmalik, said the DEPOWA initiative was in line with the objectives of SMEDAN.
Umaru-Radda urged the recipients to work towards expanding their scope of businesses, advising them to shelve the idea of selling the tools they had been empowered with.
He also called on them to take advantage of the various programmes of SMEDAN to improve economically.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the recipients were trained in about seven areas of trade.
Eleven were trained in catering and hotel management, 13 in fashion designing and three in cosmetology.
Others are five in production of cosmetics and detergent, seven in computer studies and one in bead making and craft.