…As Death toll rises to 6 in South Africa coal mine gas explosion***
The Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), may have empowered about 500 persons through training in various skill acquisition, in the Nsukka/Igboeze-South Federal Constituency as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goal.
Mrs Hadiza Usman, Managing Director indicated this on Thursday in Nsukka during a one-day empowerment training organised for women and youths on how to grow ginger spice, prepare ginger powder, ginger juice and starch.
”We will monitor the beneficiaries and will be ready to assist those who invested the start-up capital into what they learnt”, Hadiza said, stressing that the scheme was to empower women and youths towards self help, as well as to also reduce unemployment.
”NPA wants you to invest this start-up capital in what you have learnt today, so that you will become job creators in future,” the Managing Director who was represented by Mr David Eze, a Senior Auditor in NPA, adding that what the authority had done was to compliment Federal Government’s efforts in empowering youths and women in the country.
“The training and provision of start-up capital to 500 beneficiaries is part of our corporate social responsibility.
“The empowerment is meant to assist women and youths so that they will earn a living as well as assist their families.
”This start up capital given to beneficiaries is not refundable because is not loan, but a grant to help them start business, I advise them to make judicious use of the money,” she said.
Usman commended Dr Pat Asadu, the House of Representatives member and the House Committee Chairman on Ports, Harbour and Waterways, for the manner his committee had been discharging its duties.
She told the beneficiaries that, ”It’s the good working relationship between NPA and Asadu who represents Nsukka/Igboeze-South that made this empowerment programme possible.”
In a remark, Asadu urged the women and youths in the area to make good use of the opportunity, adding that some of them would become successful business men and women in future.
”Some successful business men and women in the world started like this, but because of their hard work, they are today millionaire and billionaire.
”I attracted this empowerment to assist youths and women in the constituency as well as reduce the problem of unemployment in the state.
“My promise to those who did not benefit from this current empowerment programme is that in subsequent ones in future, they will benefit,” he said.
The lawmaker urged people of the constituency to ensure that they participate in the forthcoming general elections in order to move the country forward.
In the meantime, the number of people killed by a gas explosion in an unused coal mine in South Africa has risen to six, and several others remain trapped, an official at the mine said on Thursday.
The gas explosion occurred in South Africa’s eastern province of Mpumalanga.
The representative of the creditor protection team at the mine, Michael Elliot, said more than 20 people were still stuck underground at the mine in Middelburg and were presumed dead.
“As I’ve been informed, there are six deceased people at this point in time that have been taken to the mortuary,” Elliot said.
Rescue efforts were hampered by dangerously high levels of toxic gas underground, Elliot said.
“We first have to restore power to the mine and we have to restore ventilation to make it safe and once it’s safe… then we will go and recover these people that are missing,” he said.
The mine is owned by Tegeta Resources and Exploration, which is undergoing creditor protection after its owners, the Gupta brothers, found it difficult to continue doing business in South Africa following corruption allegations against them.
Several people had entered the mine on Wednesday afternoon to steal copper wires that supply electricity for lighting and ventilation when a gas pipe exploded, Police spokesman, Leonard Hlati, said.
“The mine is wired with copper. They were going for copper,” Hlati said.
Copper is often stolen from disused mines in South Africa and sold for scrap.
The Gupta brothers, their lawyers and officials from their firms and family representatives could not be reached for comment about the mine incident.
The brothers – who headed what was one of the country’s biggest conglomerates – were accused of unduly influencing former President, Jacob Zuma, over political appointments and winning contracts.
Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.