Chidi Okoye is the President General of Enugwu-Agidi Brotherly Union (EBU). He spoke to UCHE KALU on the state of his community and some challenges currently facing the community. Excerpt:
WHO is Chidi Okoye?
My name is Hon Chidi Okoye, the President General, Enugwu-Agidi Brotherly Union (EBU)
Anambra State Govt is commencing the third phase of the community-choose- your project initiative, how has the project affected your community and at what phase is your community?
My community has completed the first project which is a skill acquisition center but the building is not yet furnished but what we were able to achieve was the construction of the building but it has not been equipped and may be the town union will do it.
The second phase of the project is a health center which has not been fully funded. So we are still waiting on govt to give us the second trench of the money to enable us complete the project so we can go for the third phase.
Who are the targets of the skill acquisition centre?
The skill acquisition centre is targeted at the youths, both boys and girls in the community. What we intended to do in the centre was a computer training center, business center and internet based services to train our youths and also provide employment for the youths of Enugwu- Agidi.
There is ongoing construction of intra roads in the community. What is the source of the project?
The intra road construction you see is the project of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. It is a federal govt project. The ministry is doing quite a good number of projects in my community.
Also, Federal Ministry of Works is equally constructing one or two other roads in the community.
But Anambra State Govt promised us some time ago that it will construct the Enugwu-Agidi-Isuaniocha community road to ease traffic from the conventional road to Awka and also provide access to other communities like Isuaniocha, Ukwulu, Mgbakwu and all other communities that are on the other side of Enugwu-Agidi.
This Achalla village road linking Isuaniocha is a very important road to the economic growth of the state and for ease of transportation .
We are begging His Excellency to please look into that road and consider commencing the project as it will really help out.
I noticed in some areas that the intra road construction work has stopped. What is the cause?
Well, the one I know that the contract has stopped is the proposed building of dormitories for technical college in the community.
They brought some equipment and bags of cement but they later came back to carry them and when I enquired why they took back those equipment, they said that government has not funded them.
This put to stop the fencing of the school, exposing the students to the herdsmen menace. Also in the Community Secondary School, the fence fell for a longtime and through the dilapidated fence;
the herdsmen come into the premises and walk through the classrooms, even when classes are in session. We have held meetings with the committee in charge of herdsmen menace in the state but nothing has changed.
If you realise what happened in my community last Saturday, my people went into the bush because herdsmen kidnapped a lecturer from Anambra State University, Igbariam, some days ago along Enugwu-Agidi –Nawgu Road and not only did they kidnap that night; the following night, they continued to shoot their guns, causing panic in the community.
So we felt it’s high time we went into the bush ourselves because we can’t run away from our home. We reported the matter to the Commissioner of Police and the operatives of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) came. On getting into the bush, we recovered pistols which have been handed over to the SARS.
This community really needs government attention in all areas- infrastructural and security wise. Though there has not been any attack yet on the school, but what they do is harassment.
They harass the female students because they usually go to the bush to ease themselves as the toilets were not functional but however, the community has managed to construct one but what the herdsmen do is to chase them into the school compound, harassing them.
As the new President General of Enugwu-Agidi, what new things do you intend to achieve?
Well! What we intend to do is to get the youths occupied. The first step is to get a well secured environment as security is the key.
Then after security, one talks about youth empowerment and skill acquisition. This is meant to get our youths off the streets to avoid wondering about like nomads. We have started sensitizing them.
Last week, we had a youth seminar which was well attended and the resource persons were drawn from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Police and HIV/AIDS Control Agency. The awareness was on HIV, drug abuse and criminality.
So the youths are beginning to get reformed and we believe that more of such seminars will expose and enlighten our youths further and in the process, also provide them with skills that will make them employable or even be self-dependent.
What is the level of your community’s participation in Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme?
Well, we are kind of being plunged in primary health activities because of one of our own, Dr Mrs Obiageli Uchebo, who is also a staff of the state’s Ministry of Health.
Through her and also awareness programmes on radio and TV, my people are very much aware and our health centers are not doing badly, although more is desired but then, we are in tune with what is happening in the state medically.
What are you doing to rid your community off the activities of cultists?
The seminar held last week dwelt much on that and that was why the Anti Cult Police was present at the seminar to educate our people on the negative implications and effects of cultism.
Enugwu-Agidi community is not an exception in the nefarious activities of cultists but since my assumption of office, we have tried to talk to our youths to give up cultism and make meaningful and gainful use of their youths now that they are in their prime and I think some of them are beginning to have a rethink.
We will not relent in encouraging them and those who insist and continue with cultism, if they are caught, they will be handed over to the appropriate authorities.