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Nursing mothers go into hiding in Imo – As kidnappers target babies, shoot parents of victims

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Families with new born babies in Imo State now live in fear, as the incidence of abduction of such babies and shooting of parents continues to rise.

The latest incident was that of five-month-old Chidiogu, daughter of Mr. Kingsley Igwegbe and Mrs. Ugochi Igwegbu of Umuzike Orlu, who was snatched at gun point from her mother, as the woman was about to enter the family house.  They had shot Mrs. Igwegbe on the thigh.  Consequently, she is now lying critically ill at the Imo State University Teaching Hospital  IMSUTH Orlu while the whereabouts of the abducted baby remains unknown.

It would be recalled that a similar incident took place at Durukwu Umuebele in Okporo Orlu about two weeks earlier, where a little baby was forcefully snatched from the father, Mr. Ebere Chikodi who was equally shot and injured by the hoodlums before making good their escape to unknown destination with their principal victim.

THE LEADER team that went to IMSUTH, Wednesday, March 19, 2014 to investigate the kidnap cases found out that Mr. Ebere Chikodi, who was earlier admitted into the hospital, had since recovered from the bullet wounds and discharged.  Doctors and hospital authorities declined to comment on the state of health of Mrs. Igwegbe, the injured mother of the recently kidnapped baby, saying that she was undergoing surgical operation to extract the kidnappers bullets.  Latest reports reaching us however say that she has been amputated, lying critically.

The closest relative of the woman who spoke to our reporters in the absence of her husband was the brother of Mrs. Igwegbe, Bro. Ben Ozor.

According to him, the three kidnappers who unknown to his sister, were trailing her at about 7.30pm on the fateful evening (as she returned from their neighbourhood where she had gone to purchase some kerosene), suddenly ordered her to “stop there”, as she was about to enter the house carrying her baby.  She raised alarm in an effort to prevent the men from snatching the baby.  To scare the woman’s neighbours from coming to her rescue, the kidnappers fired into the air and finally released some shots on the helpless woman’s thigh before escaping in the direction of Okwudor-Nkume axis.

Mr. Ozor who hails from Okwu Orlu in Owerre Ebeiri in answer to a question disclosed that his in-laws promptly reported the incident to the Orlu Police Station but no arrest has been made.  Both their traditional ruler and other members of Umuzike Orlu community have visited the injured woman at the hospital and condemned the dastardly act.  The abducted baby’s uncle said that the family is not suspecting anyone they know, as masterminding the kidnap of the baby.

Following the reoccurrence of baby snatching and shooting of their father or mother; families with babies now live in fear and consequently put every security measure in place to shield their infants from strangers.

The incident of abduction of young children is not new.  It would be recalled that Master Ikechukwu, a pupil of St. Patrick’s International Primary School Umuezeala-Owerre in Mbano was kidnapped on his way from school sometime ago, taken to Port Harcourt by his abductors where he miraculously escaped into a crusade ground after a harrowing experience.

Master Chinedu, a three-year nursery pupil of the Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy (DMMM) was also abducted at his school gate sometime ago.

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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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