General Overseer of the church, Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview that the farm produce would be used to feed the repentant militants and their family members.
Chinyere also said that the move was to make the repentant militants as well as repentant commercial sex workers to be self-reliant as far as food production was concerned.
He said that the farm land which occupied about 150 plots would be used for the cultivation of tomatoes, yam, onions and so on.
He also said that no fewer than 500 ex-militants and ex-kidnappers would benefit from the project.
“We have already acquired modern farm implements for this project which started in early 2020 when COVID-19 led to the shutting down of churches and other activities and as such funds were not coming as expected.
“So, we created this as alternative source of income to help sustain the OPM rehabilitation centre.
“In fact, the okro I eat is from the farm. The harvests are bountiful, so they bring some for me to cook and they sell the rest; bananas, vegetables are among what they harvest.
“They also bring eggs to me because they also do poultry farming especially chickens,” Chinyere said.
According to Apostle Chinyere, a consultant who is the number one farmer in Abia, has been engaged to train the ex-militants and ex-commercial sex workers on the use of modern farm implements for easy farming.
“Most of these people are selling and making money and that has also reduced for the church the cost of feeding them.
“The church has large expanse of land so we gave about one plot to each individual to farm and make money; we also provide all they need to do the farming.
“So going forward, I engaged a consultant who is the number farmer in Abia State to teach them how to farm because farming is not just about bending down and putting something in the soil.
“The consultant taught them how to plant, apply fertiliser and weeding, and most of them are doing well, harvesting and selling the proceeds.
“This is another skill they have learnt in addition to other skills such as carpentry, pipeline welding, scaffolding and so on.
“The consultant is 77-year-old and he schooled in Russia and sometime the Vice President visited his farm in Abia.
“I don’t collect any of the proceeds from the farm; they sell them and keep the money,” Chinyere added.
The OPM General Overseer said that his target was to have the farming initiative duplicated in every state of the federation especially now that the current government paid more attention to agriculture.
Chinyere also said that the church had used farming as a means of empowering the youth, to ensure that those that were idle were well engaged.
“You know that an idle man is the devils workshop.”
NAN reports that the repented militants and their family members had been living in OPM free estate, while Apostle Chinyere took over their feeding which was funded from tithes and offerings from church members.
Apart from being farmers, some of the repentant militants have been enrolled in OPM free skills acquisition centre to learn various skills in oil and gas, welding and tailoring.
The church also has about 15 schools located in Abia, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Lagos States, where the children of less privileged are trained.
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