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Bombs still litter Igboland …43 Years After Civil War

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It has been revealed that no fewer than  50,000 latent bombs and landmines could be found in the South East and South-South Nigeria.  They are remnants of explosives deployed during the Biafra/Nigeria war. which lasted from July 1967-January 1970.

The disclosure came from the Media Director and Field Administrator of the Nigerian Mines Action Centre Owerri, Dr. Emeka Uhegbu, who spoke with The Leader recently. However he did not explain how they came about the number.

The spokesman of the centre explained that more than four decades after the war ended, the region that was the theatre of war then, have remained unsafe as unexploded bombs, landmines and other forms of explosives have continued to kill Ndigbo.

These lethal weapons of destruction, the Media Director further noted, are littered on farmlands, fields, public buildings, church premises, vast lands that served as battle field, and other facilities that served as military camps. “They must be removed for people to access their lands for industrial and agricultural purposes” said Dr. Uhegbu. He cautioned against tampering with any strange object, particularly metal, found on their farms, buildings or industrial sites however rusty it appears, as such explosives retain their potency as long as they are unexploded.

He disclosed that over 17,000 explosives including landmines have been removed by the Nigerian Mines Action Centre. He advised anyone sighting any strange metal object to report promptly to the Mine Action Centre for necessary action.

On why the explosives have not been cleared entirely 43 years after the war, Dr. Uhegbu blamed the government for their negligence and the lack of co-operation, and apathy, by the people.  He also said that there have been some instances of outright hostility towards the bomb disposal team by communities where the explosives are found. He also said his establishment is poorly funded and incapable of meeting with the challenges of their duties.

Asked to comment on the bomb discovered at Isiala Mbano, Imo State in 2012, Dr. Uhegbu said such discoveries should be reported to the Mines Centre for proper disposal. He cautioned against the Police meddling with explosives which the bomb expert described as “military ordinance”, saying, “Police do not produce or use bombs” and regretted that many policemen have lost their lives in the process and members of the public put at risk.

He announced that the Mine Action Centre has embarked on what he described as “Mine Education Campaign” with the view to dispersing the cloud of suspicion and ignorance among the affected communities, and to build better co-operation with the rescue teams.

Dr. Uhegbu explained that the Nigerian Mine Action Centre Owerri was mandated to cover the12 states in the South, including Imo, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi etc, states in the South-South including two states in North Central – Nassarawa and Benue states. His team he said  is an off-shoot of Ministry of Defence. He recalled that Mine Action centres all over the world are charged with the responsibility to control proliferation of arms and remove explosive remnants of wars.

After the civil war, Nigeria became a signatory to the OTTAWA (Canada) Treaty of the United Nations that placed a total ban on the use of landmines during wars all over the world. Consequently, the Federal Government of Nigeria ordered the destruction of all landmines on her military inventory. Nigerian Mines Action Centre was initiated by the late Shehu Yar’Adua Administration, but has received more support from the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

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USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

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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

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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

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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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