Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has announced a financial assistance of N35m to the two hundred and thirty five fish farmers operating at the Camp 74 fish farm in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The Governor made the announcement shortly after undertaking an inspection tour of the very vast farm ravaged by flood last week Wednesday.
Governor Okowa accompanied by members of the state executive council sympathised with owners of the vast fish farm stating “I have heard a lot about Camp 74 Fish Farm before now but, unfortunately my first visit is coming at a time that you all were involved in a flood disaster, it is rather unfortunate especially, with the fact that we are still expecting flood.
“We should be prepared for the flood and those living along the River Niger, those affected by the last flood should relocate to safe areas while measures should be taken to protect investments, fish farms and others,” he said, adding, “I was briefed on the events that happened and I have also been informed that the Ministry of Environment has taken actions by bringing in swamp buggies for the desilting of the river.
” The Governor commended the fish farmers for their tenacity and zeal for hard work, stating “In the first instance I must appreciate all of you here for demonstrating that as young people either from school, out of school or even from within the communities that it is possible for a young man to work hard to fend for himself and that it is possible to start, small and grow.
“You have built a business community and effectively you have been able to run it on your own in such a manner that you can claim total ownership of what you have here, I must say that we are quite impressed and we must congratulate you because you are a role model for all other upcoming youths”.
He added, “whatever that has happened, I thank God that seeing you today I can see a lot of zeal in you, the tenacity in you and the fact that you are convinced that through fish farming that you are able to make a living because this kind of incident, [the flood] can discourage a lot of people from continuing with the fish farming but going through the farm, I can see the efforts you are making in various ponds to salvage the little that you can.
“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to our youths that it is possible to work hard and gradually build yourself to make money and have your family sustained through hard work, it is an honest living and because it is an honest living God will always find a way to bless and sustain you because most of our youths believe that the way out is to look for fast money and that is why we find all kinds of things going on in our society like kidnapping, armed robbery, and such money do not lead us anywhere,” he emphasised.
The Governor disclosed that Delta State was capable of providing fish for local consumption and for export and called for more persons to be involved in fish farming saying, “some years ago, I visited the Ekpan fish farm and I was glad that we had such a fish farm in that area, today you have replicated another fish farm here in the state capital and we are glad about it and we hope and pray that we are able to groom more youths who can actually continue to fend for themselves along the river banks as you have done.
“We have a terrain in Delta State where we can truly develop aqua-culture and be known for it throughout Nigeria, we will make all necessary arrangements to offer support, as you do know our first programme is creation of wealth and jobs for our people.
” The Chairman of Camp 74 Fish Farmers Association, Mr Nwanneka Upright, who commended Governor Okowa for the state government’s prompt response to their plight, informed the Governor that the flood which ravaged the fish farm made the farmers to lose more than N250 million worth of fish disclosing that they have about 1,000 fish ponds producing over eighty tonnes of fish monthly.
– Omos Oyinbode, Asaba