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Archbishop calls for Action to Avert Inferno at Assumpta Roundabout




For the past six months at least three petrol tankers coming into Owerri either from Port Harcourt or from Onitsha have fallen while trying to negotiate the roundabout at the Control Post, near the Assumpta Cathedral, causing panic and hours of traffic jam.  Each time, a fire has been narrowly averted. But the Archbishop of Owerri, His Grace Anthony J.V Bishop has warned that this should not be allowed to continue, as an inferno in the area could blow up the Cathedral, killing thousands and causing more problems for the state and country.  Speaking just as another petrol tanker fell last week, causing commotion and the near-lynching of a cripple suspected of trying to ignite a fire, the Archbishop appealed to Governor Rochas Okorocha to take a pre-emptive measure to prevent a disaster from occurring there. “Allowing the tankers to drive to the control post is just accident waiting to happen”. The Archbishop suggested that Government should create a bypass so that tankers, trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles coming into Owerri would no longer need to pass through the Control Post, which harbours two Secondary Schools, many businesses, petrol stations and a busy highway and, of course, one of the largest Cathedrals in Africa.


Speaking to The Leader, after a stampede which followed the fall of the tanker and smell of fuel, His Grace explained that the incident occurred while a Eucharistic celebration was going on.  ”While we were at Mass, we didn’t know a tanker fell but everybody in the church already perceived the fuel. God saved us, it could have meant fire burning us. The gas was coming through the air – God saved us. The second part was that they caught a crippled man rushing to the tanker trying to ignite the fuel so that we can burn. We do not know if it’s a planned thing or circumstantial. This is why I called the chief of Staff of the Imo-State Government – Hon. Jude Ejiogu to come and handle the matter,” he explained.  “God through his divine mercy prevented people from burning the disabled person caught with a lighter. I hear he’s from Taraba or Kogi state. This is somebody that has been helped severally by the church. Thanks be to God that the people who were ready to lynch and burn him were restrained. I appealed to them in the name of God to please don’t kill. Nigeria is in a deadly situation – I begged them not to kill, if they do, everything will be on my head. They will say the Archbishop has directed people to kill and to burn –no no! Today is Divine Mercy Sunday – the mercy of God has reached us.” The cripple who gave his name as Mr Destiny Ibrahim said he is a Christian Winners Chapel and not a member of Boko Haram sect as he has been alleged. He said he is from Taraba state and has lived in Owerri for over 15 years, wining medals for Imo State as a disabled weight lifter.  Destiny who was nearly lynched by irate youths for allegedly trying to set fire to the fallen petrol tanker, thereby blowing-up Assumpta Cathedral, said he had no such intention. Speaking to the Leader Newspaper he said he was climbing a dogonyaro tree beside the Assumpta Cathedral wall to fetch some of the stems when he was dragged down by the youths.  On the lighter found on him, Destiny who looked drunk and bemused said he uses it to light his cigarette. When questioned why he didn’t see the fallen petrol tanker, he said he was so drunk and did not see anything. Destiny said he has been on the streets, drinking, smoking “in fact I am useless that is why I am drunk”.


The Archbishop further called on the Government to decongest the area and also relocate the mammy market that is fast growing at the control post.

“I have also appealed to the Government through the Chief of staff about the dangers of this mammy market located here, with many people coming into the cathedral. It will be nice if the market can be relocated – to prevent anyone from causing mayhem and havoc around here, so that we don’t face the danger of blowing up this place because it will only cause more problems for the state and the nation,” he warned.

Speaking to The Leader Newspaper, the Chief of staff  to governor Okorocha,  Chief Ejiogu promised that control post are will be cleared of touts and motor parks very soon.

It could be recalled that government has made this promise several times but failed to keep to their wards, this makes some analysts believe either that the are inept to deal with the mess at the control post that some in government have interest in what the touts can do for them or the money they collect.



USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas



USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital



Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council



Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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