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War in Enugu Catholic Church – Youths invade Catholic Church with masquerades, destroy altar, crucifix



Uneasy calm reigns in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Ogugu in Awgu Catholic Diocese, Enugu State, following an attack on worshippers by some youths during an evening programme held as part of this year’s Easter celebration.

The parishioners had been working hard to rehabilitate the Church that was recently handed back to the Catholic Church by the Governor Sullivan Chime administration before hell was let loose by the dissident youth allegedly sponsored by three prominent members of the community.

The youths who allegedly refused to acknowledge the leadership of the town union, Ogugu Progressive General Assembly (OPGA), were said to have placed the town under siege for some months.

“They have organized themselves to ensure there is no peace and have frustrated several attempts to install a new traditional ruler since the last one died in the 2007”, said a source.

Narrating the ordeal of the church to journalists, the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Anugwuo, stated that the attack was because the church has remained on the path of truth.  He said “What we do is to preach peace.  That’s why they see us as an enemy”.

The St. Mary Primary School, which also houses the Catholic Church, was recently returned to the church by the state government.  The priest alleged that some prominent members of the community sponsored the youths who he said, have issues with the church over the time they play football in the field located inside the church premises.

“We don’t want people to play ball in the field at all times especially when we are celebrating our masses  in the morning, but they always insist that it is the community field”.

He recalled that the face-off with the youths started on March 31, which was Easter Sunday, when the youths disrupted the church progamme.  “That evening, they invaded the premises and disrupted the evening programme of the church and vowed to return the next day.

“The following day, Monday, they stormed the premises again with masquerades, machetes and threatened to kill me.  They said I can’t stop them from playing football in their community field.  They started attacking our church members, wounding so many in the process.

“We later reported to the DPO at the Owelli Police Station but the DPO was supporting the youth that they should be allowed to use the field so we went to the Area Police Command who sent his men to the town and invited both parties.

“On April 18 when we went to report at the Area Command Oji, they wrote a petition to the Commissioner of Police who ordered that the invitation to Oji should not be honoured.  That day they blocked the entrance to the premises and held us hostage; we didn’t leave there till night.  The CP later invited us to Enugu.

“Not satisfied with the police in the state, we reported the matter to the Zone 9 in Umuahia; the AIG invited us and urged us to make peace.  But on our way returning to the community we got news that fighting had returned at the premises.

“It was on that day, May 2nd that they destroyed the altar, broke the crucifix, the 14 Stations of the Cross, chairs; they also removed the church sign post.  The chapel was also damaged, the priest’s seat, altar cloth were also destroyed.

“What they do now is to take on individuals, church women are being flogged anywhere they are found within the community.

“They decided to desecrate the house of God, some of them said there is no God, they are fighting the church because we tell them the truth, they want to silence the church and have their way”.

Corroborating Rev. Fr. Anugwuo’s story, the President of the Catholic Women Organization (CWO), Lady Eunice Uchemue, noted that since the parish house was completed, the dissident youths had always warned that no priest would live there permanently.

She recalled that the 14 Stations of the Cross destroyed were bought by some of the women way back in 1971.

“We were 18 of us who went on a carol to raise money with which they were bought.  That altar they destroyed was built in 2006 at the cost of N329,000.  It’s surprising that they are doing all these because of a football field.  I have never seen or heard of a thing like this all my life, and they are not showing any remorse.  At least eight persons were injured including the choirmaster”, she said.

An official of the town union, Comrade Orji Simon, who spoke to journalists, explained that not all the youths of the community were involved in the despicable act.  According to him, some idle ones who allowed themselves to be used by their sponsors carried out the attack.

He condemned the act in its entirety, and assured that the Ogugu Progressive General Assembly would do everything within its powers to bring the culprits to book.



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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