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Youths go berserk



Irate Youths around the bonfire with which they blocked traffic at World Bank-Umuguma Road, Thursday October 16.

… Protesting over deplorable state of Umuguma road

Dozens of angry youths from Umuguma, in Owerri West Local Government Area, took matters into their hands, Thursday October 16, mounted road blocks and burnt tyres, in protest against the deplorable condition of the Umuguma- Avu road.

According to the youths, that was the only way they could attract attention to the suffering and hardship which the entire community had been experiencing due to poor state of the road.

During the protest which lasted over three hours, the irate youths set up bonfires and barricaded the Umuguma-World Bank road, bringing traffic to a frustrating crawl.

Speaking to The Leader, some of the youths said their patience had been exhausted, following months of waiting and watching to see if the Government would come to their aid.

‘We cannot continue to die in silence, the hardship, suffering and embarrassment which Government’s neglect of our road is causing us is now unbearable. They are treating us as if we are not from Imo-State. Look at our road – the whole place is flooded and impassable. So we are using this protest, even though it is “peaceful” for now, to show that we are human beings and citizens of the state. We are angry,” one of them said.

“This is a wicked act of neglect by Government. We cannot take it any longer,” another said.

Youth Leader, Mr Okey Obiyor described the protest as an agitation in frustration, stressing that the only thing they wanted was for Government to provide access road to Umuguma. He regretted that although several top Government officials had properties in Umuguma, the community was still ignored and their only road allowed to decay.

“A lot of Government functionaries have businesses in this community, yet they have allowed things to rot. They will not fix roads but we supported the Government with our votes during the last election,” he explained.

Mr Obiyor noted that the road in question was not up to eight kilometres long but it had been neglected and the rainy season had further plunged the people into more agony. He pointed out that motorcycles ‘Okada’ were the easiest means of transport in the area but, then, they had become costly and out of the reach of many people in the community.

Reacting to the protest, Mr Paul Dike, former President General of the community town union, supported the youths’ action, urging them to continue until the Governor fixed the road, which he said was their only outlet from the community.

Mr Dike who claimed that the neglect was deliberate said it was done to cut off the community ‘from the rest of the world’.

He lamented that one could not approach Umuguma from Avu, Okuku, Irete or the World Bank Estate, all neighbouring communities.

‘The only road left is the World Bank road which the Rochas Government came and damaged in the pretext of trying to dualize it. He has rendered it impassable; hence our youths embarked on a peaceful demonstration. They should not allow anybody no matter who it is to discourage them until Government fixes the road. The Governor had been approached several times on account of this road only to learn that the contract has been allegedly awarded to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.

The former president-General noted that the neglected Umuguma- Avu road is the shortest road to Adapalm, a major revenue earner.

Mr Dike recalled the sacrifices which he said the people of Umuguma had made to the development of Imo State. He attributed the flooding of the road to the breakdown of a burrow pit at Umuomeka village where some heavy construction vehicles got stuck, and maintained that only the Government has capacity to fix the road.

Speaking on behalf of Government, the Chief of Staff, Chief Jude Ejiogu and the Umuguma CGC Secretary, Engr. Ken Osuagwu promised that Government would meet their need.

A Community leader told our reporter that Umuguma Community, apart from Owere Nchi Ise has been generous in donating land to the State Government.

They have had their land taken over by the government without anything to show for it.

“It smacks of injustice that Umuguma which is now part of the new Owerri and just a stone throw from Imo Government House is so neglected,” he regretted.

It is important to note that the road in question. Is Umuguma- Avu Road, which is an extension of the major Road from World Bank to Umuguma. The town has been completely split into two from the market square up to the road leading to Avu.



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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