No fewer than 100 girls from nine local government areas of Benue South have been empowered with skills to become self-sufficient and less susceptible to rape.
This is contained in a statement on Monday in Abuja by Queen Esther Daniels, the facilitator of the training and Miss Idoma Ambassador.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Daniels said that the training was conducted by the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology, Zaria.
According to her, participants are trained on areas such as production of hand sanitiser, liquid soap, odour control, body spray/perfumes, shoes, hand bags, fascinator, carrot oil, cake baking, poultry and makeup.
Daniels said the skills acquisition training was part of her empowerment programme for the Idoma girl-child, stressing that the gesture would go a long way to reduce the menace of rape in the land.
“It will be recalled that in May this year, I launched an online awareness campaign against rape tagged ‘Give Her Pen, Not Penis’’.
“This literary suggests that we should invest in the education/training of the girl-child rather than cause her pains.
“Aside from the awareness campaign, I have also distributed exercise books to the Idoma Girl-Child and also shared palliatives and customised face masks during the coronavirus lockdown.
“I have also visited many of our leaders and elders, both male and female from Benue South, to appeal to their sensitivity to join hands in this fight against rape.
“One of the ways that our leaders can assist in reducing the menace of rape is by supporting organisations and individuals who are committed to the empowerment of the Idoma Girl-Child,” she said.
She expressed optimism that when girls were empowered through skills acquisition trainings, they would become economically viable, self-reliant and less vulnerable to rape.
The beauty queen called on willing organisations and Benue political leaders to support her initiative so as to continue with the empowerment programme every year.
She noted that poor funding hampered the extent to which she could have handled the programme.
“I intend to make this programme a yearly activity.
“Even long after I would have handed over my crown, I will want to continue with this great initiative through my yet-to-be registered foundation.
“I will be doing this in partnership with Free Image Entertainment, the platform that provided me this opportunity to give my voice against rape.
“In this regard, I seek your kind support to enable me to register and launch Queen Esther Foundation in a couple of weeks. I also seek your support to enable me to sustain this legacy.
“I count on this as the biggest empowerment programme ever in the history of Benue State,” the Queen added.
Daniels in the statement quoted the Special Assistant to the Director-General of NARICT, Dr Victor Ochigbo, as commending the Beauty Queen during the graduation of trainees for the initiative to guard against rape.
Ochigbo assured of the readiness of his agency and the commitment of the D-G, Prof. Jeffrey Baminas, to always partner the Queen in her future activities.