Commissioner for Information and Acting Commissioner, Ministry of Economic and Human Capital Development in Ebonyi State, Barr. Uchenna Orji on Monday disclosed that people of the state have lost a about N5bn to fake empowerment operators otherwise known as Ponzi scheme in the state.
The commissioner who urged residents of the state not to fall victim of it in this 2020 described their business as economic sabotage and unacceptable.
Barr. Uchenna Orji disclosed this in Abakaliki while speaking with journalists after taking over the Ministry of Human Capital Development and Monitoring in acting capacity.
During the last Executive Council meeting in 2019, the Governor, Engr. David Umahi announced that the Ministry of Human Capital Development would be taken over from Dr. Steve Odoh by Barr. Orji
He also disclosed that the government had spent about N6bn on the empowerment of over 25,000 widows, unemployed youths, wives of security personnel and other women and he said more empowerment was underway.
The commissioner, however, warned fake empowerment operators in the state such as Shekinah, Genesis, Food on the Table and others to steer clear from the state or be ready to face the government and security agents.
He added that any empowerment agency that will come into the state to run a business must get accreditation and pay necessary taxes if need be.
He said, “Ebonyi people should know that we have lost over N5bn in the hands of these people, it is economic sabotage to the people of Ebonyi State.”
“We will ensure that we screen and allow only legitimate ones to operate. Before anybody comes into Ebonyi State to do any program, especially empowerment, they should come to the Ministry of Human Capital Development and Monitoring to register. The Governor has also given us approval of this to go ahead to document them.”
On the Governor Umahi’s empowerment programmes, Barr. Orji said 3,000 women here in Ebonyi State while he had empowered 520 people in Lagos.
He said, “So far, 3,000 women were empowered withN750 million. Then the Governor went to Lagos and saw our people there and empowered 520 of them after training them with the sum of N250,000 each and that is N130 million.”
“The Governor also went to Onitsha, Anambra State and saw our people who are wheel barrow pushers, okada riders, IPOB members, as were accused by Anambra State government. The Governor came back and rolled out tricycle empowerment programme and 400 tricycles were procured at the sum of N650,000 each which is about N260 million.”
“The Governor gave 140 numbers of the tricycle to our women, youths in Onitsha. Then the Governor gave 260 numbers to youths and women here in Ebonyi state.”
“The Governor also rolled out widow empowerment programme and got 4,300 numbers gave them N100,000 each which is over N400 million. The governor trained pastors in the state on Agricultural programme and empowered them with over N500million.”
“The Governor ensured the training of 403 numbers of wives of security officials across the state with six benefiting security outfits. They were given N200,000 each and that is over N80million. All these are grants.”