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Mt. Carmel Church Emekuku: Efforts to raise Mother Parish to Basilica status kicks-off



Mt. Carmel Church Emekuku: Efforts to raise Mother Parish to Basilica status kicks-off

Plans have reached an advanced stage to raise Mt. Carmel Church Emekuku (Mother Parish) to the status of a Catholic Basilica. To that effect, the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Dr. Alex Okoro and Christ’s faithful of the Church, have embarked on determined efforts to bring their dream to reality.

Already, the church premises are being cleared of whatever could constitute an obstacle to the inter-locking of the compound, including the felling of one of the big trees close to the church. Parishioners also demonstrated their seriousness with the Basilica project last Sunday, October 28 when they responded to appeal for funds,for this purpose during a second collection at the end of Mass Most prominent among those present were Chief Martin Agbaso (Ochudo) who pledged the sum of N10million towards the project.

Speaking at the occasion, Fr. Okoro stated that Mt. Carmel Chirch possesses all that is required to be raised to Basilica status. He assured the parishioners that he will submit an application to that effect to the Archbishop, His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony JV Obinna early next year.

Mt. Carmel Church Emekuku: Efforts to raise Mother Parish to Basilica status kicks-off

Fr Alex Okoro

According to him Mt. Carmel Parish which started in 1912 is the mother church of all the parishes in the Owerri Ecclesiastical province and even extended to Port Harcourt Diocese. The church qualifies to be raised to the statuis of a basilica because it possesses the required historical sites, as well as being a dedicated church.

Such historical sites include:

The graves of missionaries, old missionary houses, old bell tower and the Holy Rosary hospital, which the white missionaries built and also rich in Catholic tradition. Fr. Okoro disclosed that the parish has engaged the services of two current members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) solely for developing a website for the parish from, where all vital information about the parish can be- accessed. He revealed that all the documents of the Mt. Carmel Mother church dating back to the year 1912, were removed to St. Brendan church Amakohia Ikeduru for safety during the Nigerian Biafra war. “Every document, including the church’s sacred vessels were secured intact from ravages of the war, nothing was lost”. “By 2019, all Catholic families in Mt. Carmel parish will have their bi-metric data in the parish website for easy identifications”, assured the parish priest. Preaching the homily, Fr. Okoro called on Christians to always put their trust in God and to be optimistic because no much the challenge life brings, Christ never abandons those who have faith in him.

He said that the same consolation promised by Jeremiah for the remnant of Israel also reaches to all who fear the Lord. On the second reading, the homilist explained that Christ came from the line of King David and not from that of Aaron the priest and therefore his priesthood is superior to that of Old Testament priests.

At Holy Mass,a Catholic priests, as another Christ, re-enacts sacramentally the sacrifice offered by Christ: “Do this in memory of me” i.e. sacramental sacrifice. Drawing lesson from the gospel of blind Bartemeus, Fr. Okoro called on Christians to throw away everything that hinders them from worshipping God in spirit and truth “Lets remove the old cloth of sin and follow Christ. Any culture that is not in line with the word of God ought not to be practiced, he added.

By John Agbakwuru

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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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