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Gunmen abduct baby, shoot dad, at Emekuku



Olachi Ibe, the snatched baby

Olachi Ibe, the snatched baby

Once again TEARS, GRIEF AND HORROR mingled, at Ubowalla, Emekuku in Owerri North Local Government Area, following the kidnap of another baby from her home, at gun point.

It seemed like a nightmare for the Ibe family, but actually it was real.

Baby Olachi, the 11-month-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eustace Ibe of Umuololo was snatched away while sleeping, at night, by kidnappers who first shot and wounded her father, after he tried to restrain them from entering his home.

This is the second time a baby has been abducted from the community. The first one was a one-year-old baby boy, son of Mr Jude Ihedoro from Umunoha,Ubowalla. Neither baby has been found.

Narrating the latest incident, which occurred on Monday, June 30, to The Leader, the grieving Mr. Ibe said the hoodlums came into their compound about 1.44 a.m. According to him, they first knocked on his elder brother, EmmanueI’s door and then an unidentified voice among them told them it was not the house they were looking for and directing them to the “next door” – his own!

Getting there, the gunmen hit hard on his door and warned that they would shoot him if he continued to ask; ”who is that?” Before Mr. Ibe could get to his front door with his matchet, the kidnappers blinded him with their powerful torchlight and then shot him on the left thigh. He fell backwards with a bleeding and shattered leg.

Ibe felt that the gunshot probably scared his neighbours as they didn’t come to his aid until about 10 minutes.

It was after sometime that one of his children realized and shouted that the gunmen had snatched the sleeping baby from her bed and escaped, he also recalled.

Aggrieved youths from Ubowalla, Okwu Emeke and Umuakuru villages, trooped out about 2 am that night, shared themselves into groups and combed the bushes around the community in search of the kidnappers and their victim, and found nothing.

Answering our reporter’s question, Mr. Ibe, a teacher, said that he suspected nobody and that his family had not received any threats from anywhere.

He, however, disclosed that the matter had been reported to the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Nigeria Police. According to him, 10 Anti-Kidnapping Cops led by their boss and his assistant came to the community supposedly to assist the youths in combing the surrounding bushes. But they did no such thing.

”Instead, the Anti-Kidnapping Squad asked me to mention just the name of any suspect so as to provide them with a launching pad to start their investigations”, said Mr. Ibe.

THE LEAEDR sought the reaction of the Traditional Ruler of Acharaubo Autonomous Community, HRH. Eze Chris Nwamara. The Royal Father said he was sad when the village head of Ubowalla, Mr. Dustan Ihejienye, informed him about the kidnap.

He immediately summoned other village heads as well as his cabinet and charged them to take necessary steps to secure their villages. Eze Nwamara said he reminded them of the State Governor’s emphasis on ”Neighbourhood Watch” as it concerns their neighbouring Communities of Enyiogugu-Mbaise and Uzoagba in Ikeduru.

He further explained that why Acharaubo youths combed the pathway from Umuololo to Uzoagba was because there was no other route through which the kidnappers could escape since there was heavy security along Umuakuru, Emekuku.

He took the opportunity to urge his subjects not to relax efforts in security matters but, to be very conscious of their safety and to monitor the activities of strange elements as well as those of their own youths.



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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