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New Dawn: Ndi Eze Ngor Okpala abolish female circumcision

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The campaign against female genital mutilation, otherwise known as female circumcision, received a boost following the unanimous public declaration of abandonment of the barbaric and harmful practice by the 28 traditional rulers of Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State, on 21st November 2018.

The epoch making event held at the Local Government Area Headquarters, Umuneke, was made possible by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) with support from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).

In his address at the occasion, the Chairman of Council of traditional rulers in Ngor Okpala, HRH Eze Geofrry Okoro(Oko 1 of Upe), explained that following the massive campaign and sensitization by NOA and UNICEF in the area, the traditional rulers in consideration of the dangers inherent in the practice and in consultation with their people resolved to abandon the age long practice.

“To the great people of Ngor Okpala, today we celebrate our liberation from fear and superstition, Ndi eze and elders of the 28 autonomous communities in Ngor Okpala raised their voices and instrument of traditional authority to say goodbye to female genital mutilation,” he said while commending the effort of development partners for bringing the campaign to the area .

The Director of National Orientation Agency Imo State, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha in his remark gave a breakdown of the efforts, activities and programs by the agency in pushing this course. He said: “Since this year NOA with support from UNICEF has facilitated community dialogue session, held consensus building meeting, advocacy meeting with the traditional rulers, August meeting with women home and abroad in Ngor Okpala. Today the readiness of the community towards public declaration is the outcome of that efforts. The name, Ngor Okpala, has gone down in history as the first local government area in Imo State to publicly declare abandonment of female genital mutilation.”

Honourable Commissioner of Gender and Social Development, Mrs. Edna Okorie, who represented the first Lady of the state, Her Excellency Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha, condemned in strong terms the practice of female genital mutilation, while commending the people of Ngor Okpala for taking the bull by the horn in denouncing the practice, thereby setting the pace for other local government areas in the state to follow suit.
Mrs Okorie pledged government continued intensification of the fight against female genital mutilation, and government support to communities who are sincerely willing to put a stop to the practice.

High point of the event which was attended by government officials, religious leaders, students and traditional rulers with their subjects were the public declaration of abandonment of female genital mutilation by the ezes in company of their people and the unveiling of the marble plaque to commemorate the event. The plaque reads: “At this ground: The Council Of Traditional Rulers in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area backed by Ndi Nze and the Presidents-General of the 28 communities in Ngor Okpala LGA, publicly declared abandonment of all forms of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Ngor-Okpala on Wednesday, 21st November 2018…”

Dr. Ibrahim Konta, Head of UNICEF Nigeria who spoke at the event disclosed that Imo state ranks high among states in the country with prevalence of female genital mutilation. He however lauded the local government area for the giant stride, while calling on law enforcement agencies to be on guard in bringing to book all violators of female genital mutilation prohibition law.

It should be recalled that the Imo state House of Assembly on March 6, 2017 passed a bill prohibiting the obnoxious practice in the state. The law proscribe 14 years imprisonment, fine of N250,000 or both to offenders.

Dignitaries who witnessed the event are the local government area chairman, Evangelist Chinwe Obinna, commissioner for gender and social development, Mrs Edna Okorie and High Chief Ume Njoku.

By: Theodore Opara

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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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