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Vanguard Newspaper 14 February 2018

28— Vanguard,

28— Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018 Ezeife advises Igbos to think home C M Y K VOL. 2 NO. 18 ABAKALIKI-IT was indeed a show of patriotism, dedication to duty and call to secure the future of the younger generation that compelled Ebonyi State Government in collaboration with the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force and Department of Security Services, DSS, Wednesday, to clamp down on the activities of illegal miners in the state. These categories of persons had over the years, before the coming on board of the Governor David Umahi-led administration, been ripping off the state illegally by making huge financial gains without recourse to the law governing such operations in the state. Ebonyi, without mincing words, is rich in granite, zinc, lead, salt, limestone, oxide, among other natural deposits and because of its richness and naivety before Engr. David Umahi resumed office as governor of the state, many disgruntled elements who only think about their personal gains without the collective interest of Ebonyi people decided to go on rampage, making earnings without the noticeable inputs of state government. Reacting to this ugly trend, the Governor had threatened to stop the salaries of any traditional ruler who failed to furnish the state government with the location and records of its mining sites in the state. Some traditional rulers and stakeholders in some local government areas of the state, including Abakaliki, Izzi, Onicha, Ivo, among others, are allegedly collecting revenues from illegal miners without the consent of the state government. The governor who handed down the warning during the handing over of staffs of office to some traditional rulers in three local government areas of the state and swearing in of liaison officers at the Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre, Abakaliki, stressed that his administration would not WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018 IGR: How security operatives clamped down on 16 illegal miners, 6 expatriates in Ebonyi •a soldier told me if I go near, he will shoot me – SA on Solid minerals •it could be someone wearing military camouflage, not a soldier – Cantonment commander By Peter Okutu *Arrested illegal miners mortgage the future of Ebonyi children on the platter of greed and selfishness. He said: “We have been having battles with those who are mining in Ebonyi State without paying their levies to us; these people are working under the cover of the traditional rulers. We want to let you know that I mean business. I want the chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council to note that in the month of February, any traditional ruler that fails to give me all the mining points in his community, I will stop the person’s salary and I will be moving towards his staff of office. “We can’t eat the future of our children. If we continue like this, the future of our children will be eroded. We can’t allow that. So let me warn the traditional rulers; you have to submit all the mining points in your communities. “Commissioner for Local Government, Okoronkwo; will have to hold a meeting with them and let them know of my warning, because in February, I will stop their salaries and then in March, I will be moving towards their — Pg. 29 Site of illegal minning staffs of office. This is very important; all the mining sites with their phone numbers and locations must be made available to us.” Those arrested in connection with the dastardly act in the recent raid coordinated by security operatives at Echara Unuhu in Abakaliki Local Government Area of the state included six Chinese and 16 other persons suspected to be responsible for the illegal operations in the area. Speaking with South-East Voice, the Senior Special Adviser, SSA, to Governor David Umahi on Internal Security, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala who condemned the activities of illegal miners across the state noted that the state government would no longer fold its arms and allow the fortunes of the state to end up in private pockets. “The future of this state is at stake because of the activities of these illegal miners. I have the privilege of being in China and Chinese don’t tamper with their environment no matter what the problem may be. With the type of problem created here in the name of mining, it is possible that this tunnel they created must have passed underground to Excitement in Anambra as work begins on abandoned Otuocha- Anam – Kogi federal road BY VINCENT UJUMADU AWKA -THERE was excitement in Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State following the return to site of the contractor handling the Otuocha-Anam- Kogi federal road abandoned several years ago. Before the project was abandoned in 2009, a whopping N2.5 billion was said to have been spent on the road with nothing to show for it. However, following the efforts of the member representing Anambra East and West in the House of Representatives, Dr. Tony Nwoye, who facilitated the release of funds to the contractor by the executive arm of government, work has resumed in earnest. Nwoye, who inspected the project with officials of the Federal Ministry of Works and community leaders in the area said the National Assembly has approved N1.8 billion to be spent on the road this fiscal year, with assurance that funds would continue to be released to ensure that work would continue ceaselessly until it was completed. When South-East Voice visited the area, the contractor, Nigercat Ltd, was working on a major bridge along the road. It is expected that when completed, journey from Anambra State to Abuja would be reduced to about three hours, instead of about seven hours which it presently takes from Anambra, through Enugu to Benue and then Kogi to Abuja. Hon. Nwoye said he decided to make the road his constituency priority project because the people of the area, who are mainly farmers, were suffering so much as they often found it difficult to transport their produce to the cities at the end of every farming season due to bad roads. Nwoye said: “This is not a political matter. It is something that is very dear to me because I remember the support the people of Anambra West gave me when I contested election. “I have been meeting stakeholders to find a solution to the road as I am determined to ensure its completion and I am very happy that the contractors have moved to site. “We inspected this road on Continues on Page 29 Government House and every other place that Ebonyi people are living. “So, what do we expect? A total collapse! When we are living up, another road is underground in the name of mining and there is no society or environment or state that this type of thing is seen. It is not as if they pay IGR and when you come to IGR, what type of IGR will even be more important than the future of our children and the entire people of the state? We will make sure that we fish out all these people. As SSA on internal security, I am seeing this thing for the first time. It is a threat to our environment,” he said. On her part, Special Adviser to Governor Umahi on Solid Mineral Development, Mrs. Nwakaego Nworie said she had visited the site with geological experts and that the miners allowed them to enter only the premises but prevented them from carrying out a holistic overview of their activities. “I became very curious and insisted that I must see the whole site. As I moved inside the site, I got to a place and a soldier blocked me and threatened to shoot me if I moved any further. The soldier told me, 'don’t go to that extreme.' That day, I saw the tunnel even though I was prevented from going close to it. “Today, I am overwhelmed that I have seen the tunnel of mining for the first time in my life. I made investigation to know if our office is aware of this tunnel and no one could give me information. Before an underground mining can take place, there must be a bye-law and mutual agreement between the host state and investor. But now, we are not aware of underground here and it is worrisome,” she said. One of the suspects, Nnamdi Peter who hails from Enugu said he has worked in the mining tunnel for three months. “In the first place, I don’t know this is illegal mining. If it is illegal, I wouldn’t have been working here. The company should have carried out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with NESRA before embarking on this type of mining.”

Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018 —29 Ezeife advises Igbos to think home *Miss Chinyere Maria Okparauzoma from Ezinifite, winner of Miss Mbanese 2018 receiving her certificate from organisers of the beauty pageant. By Chimaobi Nwaiwu Nnewi: First Executive Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeke Ezeife, has called on the people of South-East Region and Igbo people in general, to revitalise the 'think home' philosophy that seem to be dwindling among them. Speaking during the Miss Ada Mbanese 2018 Beauty Pageant organised by a Lagos-based entertainment and event promotion company, Elephant Town Entertainment, Dr Ezeife also called on the Igbos to ensure that no aspect of their culture and tradition is allowed to go into extinction. He also warned the Igbos against neglecting the Igbo language for foreign languages, saying that such situations can make the Igbo race lose respect in the committee of tribes in Nigeria and in the Diaspora. Ezeife, who was the Special Guest of honour during the occasion, told South-East Voice, SEV that some of the cultures, traditions and other social activities that are associated with the Igbo like, New yam festival, Ofala Festival, August meeting, Mass returning ceremonies, beauty contests etc., must be THE TEAM SUPERVISING EDITOR: Chioma Gabriel, Lagos (08052201257) EDITOR: Emeka Mamah, Enugu email: Anayo Okoli, Umuahia Vincent Ujumadu, Awka Chidi Nkwopara, Owerri Peter Okutu, Abakaliki Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Nnewi Nwabueze Okonkwo, Onitsha Ugochukwu Alaribe, Aba Enyim Enyim, Onitsha Chinoso Alozie, Owerri Chinenye Ozor, Nsukka Eric Ugbor, Aba promoted by the people of South-EastRegion and Igbos in general. Emphasizing on maintaining the 'think home' philosophy, Dr Ezeife said, “Many decades ago, I told our people of the need to maintain the 'think home' philosophy in anything they are doing, and when I was being sworn in as Governor of Anambra State, the address I presented, the title was Think Home, Invest at home. “You can invest in Port Excitement in Anambra as work begins on abandoned Otuocha- Anam – Kogi Federal road Continues from Page 28 December 7, 2017 with officials of the Federal Ministry of Works because I am very much worried about its condition. The people of this local government are the most marginalised in the state and I believe that opening up this road will help to boost the economy of the people of the area. “Through my efforts, N800 million was approved in the 2017 budget and N1 billion in the 2018 budget for the road and by God’s grace, more money will be injected into the project once the N1.8 billion is exhausted. “The assurance we have got is that funds will continue to be released on regular basis until the work is completed. Part of the reason I am determined to see this project through is that the people gave me maximum support even when one of their sons contested election with me. “My happiness is that people of this area will be providing the materials needed by the contractors and this will help the affected families one way or the other. “Once this road is completed, this area will open up to commercial activities. I commend the Minister of Works, the permanent secretary and the chairman of the works committee in the House of Representatives, Honourable Toby Okechukwu and the Speaker of House of *Miss Chinyere Maria Okparauzoma and other winners with the organisers in a group photograph. Harcourt, you can invest in Kano, Lagos and Abuja but also invest in Igboland. To put in practice what I said, we established Think Home Estate in Awka. Today, it has become a norm that we must think home and establish our businesses at home while we are also doing so outside home. “We must invest at home to have something to retire and fall back on when we leave the towns, that is what I like about Nnewi investors, the head offices or headquarters Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara for their support and efforts to see that the project is completed in record time.” He urged the people of the local government to cooperate with the contractors so that it would be made motorable before the rains set in and appealed to the villagers not to inundate the contractors with unnecessary demands so that they could concentrate on the job. He also urged the contractors to do quality job to justify the effort of the Federal Government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari. Chief Emma Nnacho, a community leader in the area expressed gratitude to Nwoye saying: “We are grateful to you for ensuring that this road project finally takes off. We will ever remain grateful to you. A good representative is one who remembers his people. You have continued to empower the people despite the outcome of the November 18, 2017 governorship election.” The traditional ruler of Ukwala, Igwe Joseph Ajodu recalled that after the presentation of the 2016 budget and the road was not reflected, the royal fathers in the area sent delegation to the Senator representing Anambra North, Princess Stella Oduah and Honourable Nwoye complaining about noninclusion of the road in the of their businesses are in Nnewi while their maintain branch offices are outside Nnewi. “I thank the organisers of this pageant for using it to promote Igbo language, culture and traditions. I urge you to keep it up. I am here because I am impressed with what they are doing,” he added. The beauty pageant was organised for five communities of Mbanese, namely: Akwaihedi, Ebenator, *Traditional rulers from Anambra West during the meeting with Honourable Tony Nwoye *Representative of Nigercat briefing Nwoye and community leaders at the project site. budget and urged them to do something about it considering the importance of the road to the people of the area. Igwe Ajodu said Nwoye promised that the road would be accommodated in the supplementary budget and expressed joy that he was able to facilitate the inclusion of the road in this year’s budget. Ezinifite, Osumenyi and Utuh, all in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State. It started with camping of all the contestants at Odiri Social Club, Osumenyi, where they gathered before a tour around the notable places in Mbanese Zone. They also paid a courtesy visit to former President- General of Ebenator Town, Mr. Esomonu who lectured them for more than an hour about Mbanese and other cultures and traditions of the community and things that generally affect the community. Meanwhile, a final-year student of University of Calabar, Miss Chinyere Maria Okparauzoma from Ezinifite, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State emerged the winner of Miss (Ada) Mbanese 2018. Miss Rebecca Ikpo from Ezinifite, a final-year student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka emerged the 1st runner up, while Miss Dara Amara from Akwaihedi, a graduate of Computer Science from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, became the 2nd runner up. Chief Sylvester Okeke, President of Anam People’s Forum in his speech said: “We are not surprised at the achievements and projects you are attracting to our area. But we hope the road will not be abandoned. This is the only road we have requested government to complete for us.”