Youths of Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta Local Government Areas have been assured of equitable sharing of the N500 million economic empowerment fund given to youths of oil producing communities (ISOPADEC Youths) by the Imo State Government.
Rt. Rev. Cyril Okorocha, the Bishop of the diocese of Owerri Anglican Communion and Chairman of the five clergymen-committee appointed to handle the fund gave the assurance recently while addressing youths of the areas at St. James Anglican Church Mbaise Road, Owerri.
According to the prelate, the N500 million will be shared into two equal parts of N250 million per local government. He went further to promise them that no money will be taken from the empowerment fund for the purpose of settling allowances of his committee members or for any other purpose whatsoever.
Our correspondent, Paschal Amaghere reports that the youths of Ohaji/Egbema LGA had arrived St. James Anglican Church Mbaise Road, Owerri on September 24, 2013 to collect relevant forms for their economic empowerment, only to learn that their counterparts of Oguta LGA had since collected N250,000,000 being their own share of the fund, while the Funds Management Committee were still holding meetings on how to share the empowerment forms to youths of Ohaji-Egbema.
He reported that after six hours on the day in question, the clergymen could not reach any decision on the matter, thereby necessitating Rt. Rev. Okorocha to come out to address and apologize to the youths for the inconvenience caused them.
According to him, Ohaji-Egbema ISOPADEC youths were again invited to the same venue on October 10, 2013. Thousands of youths converged at the venue as early as 10am only to wait till 8pm for the five clergymen committee to come out with modalities for the sharing of the funds and disbursement of the Empowerment Fund. The only youth of the LGA allowed to represent the rest at the meeting was Mr. Odinaka Sixtus (Mayor).
Our correspondent disclosed that the tumultuous crowd (ISOPADEC youths) ran out of patience about 8pm as a result of exhaustion and hunger and started hauling stones at the louvers of the Women Ministry building, in an attempt to force the committee to end their meeting. The youths started chanting aggressive songs to the committee expressing their grievances that the clergymen had disappointed them.
This according to reports reaching us, continued until 9pm when security agents from Government House chased the youths out of the gate, leaving only few of them inside the premises. Some of the youths apprehended by security operatives received the whippings of their lives.
Addressing the youths after the meeting at 10pm, Bishop Okorocha lauded them for their patience and thanked God for the opportunity for a successful deliberation.
The prelate announced that the committee printed a total of 1,000 Empowerment Fund Forms out of which 300 had been given to the ISOPADEC Youth President and his executive, while the remaining 700 copies were given to the Ohaji/Egbema Community Government Council (CGC) youth presidents of each community in the LGA.
Our correspondent noted that the whereabouts of the forms were still unknown to the youths of the LGA as at the time of this report.