Tag Archives: Abia State

Governor Ikpeazu receives report on post covid-19 economic recovery plan, promises full implementation

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has assured that the content of the report of the Abia State post Covid-19 recovery Committee will form the key pedestal upon which Abia will launch into a new economic world.

Governor Ikpeazu who said this while receiving the report of the committee headed by Elder statesman, Professor Anya O. Anya, at his his Umuobiakwa country home, restated his vision and commitment towards launching Abia into a new economic order that will be self sustaining.

The Governor thanked Professor Anya O. Anya for his level of commitment to the development of the state and noted that the greatest of the state remains the ingenuity of Ndi Abia.

He recalled the role played by tailors in Aba in the mass production of locally made facemasks as their own way of supporting the government in containing the Covid-19 pandemic, and promised that a convocation of Abia elites will take place to chart the best way of implementing the report to its fullest.

Governor Ikpeazu equally restated commitment to repositioning the state civil service as an enabler for greater productivity, adding that he only wants to be remembered by the quality of infrastructure put in place and not just the number of roads built during his time.

He noted that Abia as of today remains the only State providing health care services to Abians leveraging the Tele-Health Initiative, adding that the performance of Abia children in national examinations also speak volume of his huge investment in the education sector, especially with retraining of teachers and provision of critical school infrastructure.

Speaking while presenting the report, chairman of the committee, Professor Anya O. Anya stressed the need for Abia to embrace the opportunities provided by the Covid-19 pandemic and leverage on the areas where the state has comparative advantage.

Professor Anya while noting that Abia has produced many great leaders in history, said that the performance of Abia children in national examinations is a confirmation that the state has all it takes to challenge the world in the competitive global arena.

The former University Don and national award winner equally called on Government to invest in human capacity and capability development so as to be able to fit into the challenges and innovations of the 21st century.

He called for a system where the pursuit of excellence, truth, innovation and high quality of education will be the order of the day, adding that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu must have been inspired by God to set up the committee.

Moderating the event through the Zoom platform, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Diaspora Matters, Dr Ngozi Ogbonna-Erondu recalled that the committee was inaugurated by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in May this year to come up with a blueprint to manage the economy of the state beyond the Covid-19 era as well as profer recommendations for the sustainable development of the state.

Other members of the committee present during the presentation of the report included the secretary of the committee, Dr Mrs Nnenna Chikezie, Chief Chris Odinaka Igwe, Mr Eze Ajuzie while others joined through the Zoom platform.

Ikpeazu to Build Library in Father’s Memory to Revive Culture of Academic Excellence

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has said that the planned Ishmael Ikpeazu Memorial Library would serve as an avenue to redirect the younger generation and assist them excel academically.

Governor Ikpeazu made this known while speaking at the unveiling of Ishmael Ikpeazu Memorial Library and public presentation of the book ‘Thoughts Of A Scholar In Governance: A Compilation Of The Speeches, Lectures & Broadcast Of The Governor Of Abia State, May 29, 2015 – May 28, 2019’, held earlier today at Enitona Hotel, Aba

Governor Ikpeazu who doubles as the first son of the man whose name is being immortalized with the proposed library expressed the hope that the project is a way of bequeathing a lasting legacy for Abia children.

Expressing regrets that mentorship for the younger generation is gradually being eroded, the Governor said the Library will also serve as an avenue for mentoring the younger generation.

He recalled that the dream of his late father was to build a library where the younger generation would invest their time fruitfully adding that he was touched to be realizing the dream now.

He disclosed that the library would house about Thirty Thousand volumes of various books and announced that his family would support the project with the sum of Twenty Five Million Naira.

Also speaking, the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma and the Minister of State for Mines & Steel Development, Dr. Uche Ogah, both commended the Governor for immortalizing his late father by building a library in his memory.

They assured that they would support the process of making the project a reality.

The book reviewer and Vice Chancellor of ABSU, Prof. Uche Ikonne, said the book which is a 350-page book of two sections; covering the Governor’s personal history and his speeches is a legacy of the Governor’s late father, who modelled his son to become successful in education and resilient in life.

In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Chief Theo Nkire noted that a library is a befitting monument for a teacher like Pa Ikpeazu, especially at a time when libraries are going extinct and attributed exam malpractices to the absence of well equipped libraries and a lack of reading culture in Nigeria.

He commended Governor Ikpeazu for thinking of immortalizing his late father by building a library and urged everybody to contribute in making the project a reality.

Unveiling the prototype of the library, Mr. Chinenye Nwaogu, explained that the library would be a complete complex of many segments including science laboratory, play ground for children, amphi-theatre and accommodation for visitors among others, attracting many activities as well as be a resource centre for academic excellence .

Speaking about the late Pa Ismael Ikpeazu, the Governor’s younger brother, Barr. Iheanyi Ikpeazu, described their father as one who was an intelligent teacher and ardent collector of books and scholarly materials. He maintained that the best legacy to be bequeathed to mankind in memory of Pa Ishmael Ikpeazu should be the establishment of a library to sustain his dreams and appreciated all who attended the event.

The event which attracted many dignitaries including, Wives of Abia and Imo Governors, Abia State Deputy Governor and his wife, Member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia at National Assembly, Hon. Samuel Onuigbo, Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Rt Hon Ifeanyi Uchendu, Chief Judge of Abia State, Commissioners in Abia and Imo States and others from all walks of life.

Abia at 29: Ikpeazu Set to Honor COVID-19 Frontline Workers, Others

Prior to the recording of the first index cases of Coronavirus disease in Abia State on Monday, April 20, 2020, the State Government, led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD, had mobilized the citizenry through massive sensitization campaigns aimed at preventing the disease from breaking into the state, trained medics on management of patients in conjunction with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), locked down the state internally and also closed our borders with other states.

The medics who volunteered to be trained included doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and others from state and federal government owned medical facilities as well as private clinics in the state.

In addition, isolation and treatment facilities were readied in Abia State Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Center, Amachara, Infectious Diseases Clinic of Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba, and the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Umuahia.

Even with all the adequate preparations by the state, on the 20th of April, 2020, when the two index cases were confirmed at FMC Umuahia, hell was literally let loose as fear enveloped the facility and the state at large. Many of the medics, out of fear of the unknown, fled the facility and within 12 hours it was difficult to find medics at the facility. While medics who had contacts with the index patients rightly went into self isolation, others who had secondary contacts with them also deserted the hospital while some others busied themselves with issuing press statements and thereafter fled into hiding.

At that point, the Chief Medical Director, Dr Azubuike Onyebuchi, and a few of his senior colleagues had to take charge in order to save the lives of the index patients who were both over 70 years old and with underlying medical conditions, as well as other patients in the wards requiring critical care.

The first challenge for the Onyebuchi-led team was to find nurses who would volunteer to work at the isolation facility to support the patients and the doctors that would manage them.

All the nurses at the facility, including those trained to manage COVID-19 patients declined to volunteer for the work except for two brave hearts: Nurse Lilian Anyanwu and Nurse Kemi Olowoniyi who immediately and without pre-condition donned their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and moved into the isolation facility to care for the patients and support the medical doctors to deliver drugs and care to the patients.

As soon as he was briefed on the situation, Governor Ikpeazu directed a special allowance to be paid to the brave nurses and any other medic who volunteered to work at the isolation center. In due course, other nurses and doctors joined the initial volunteers and, ultimately, to the glory of God, both index patients survived and are living today.

Governor Ikpeazu did not and does not forget.

Meanwhile, the State Epidemiologist, Lady Peace Nwaogwugwu, mobilized a strong contact tracing team that transversed the 3 key LGAs of Ukwa West, Umuahia North and Ikwuano to knock doors of contacts of the index patients with a view to collecting their samples for testing and isolating to prevent them from infecting others. In one particular local government, they were almost lynched and it took the personal intervention of the Governor to ensure they had smooth access the next day. Even as they were tracing contacts, Lady Peace concurrently led a highly effective Medical Rapid Response Team to quickly collect samples from all over the state from persons suspected to have contracted the virus, under the guidance of the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji and the Chairman of the Medical Protocol Sub-Committee of the Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19, Dr Caroline Iwuoha, who doubles as the State Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association.

With the contact tracing and activities of the rapid response team, the state soon recorded more cases who were moved to the isolation facility at the Specialist hospital Amachara. While other medics in the state were reluctant to join the efforts to save lives, the Chief Executive of Hospital Management Board, Dr Ijeoma Nduka, who is a public health consultant, volunteered to work at the Amachara facility along with some other medics including Dr Stanley Okerulu who was barely 27 years old then. For weeks, these medics never left the facility to go home and see family members, and between them and others, have managed more than six hundred COVID-19 patents back to good health.

Indeed, the Amachara Isolation and Treatment Centre has recorded more than 99% survival rate because of the sacrifices of Dr Nduka, Dr Okerulu and many others including consultants, residents, nurses and support staff.

In recognition of the sacrifices of these great Abians and others, Governor Ikpeazu has directed the organizing committee of the 29th Anniversary of Abia State to celebrate them with honors in order to encourage others to make similar or even greater sacrifices in service of humanity.

Those to be honored include:

1. Dr Stanley Okerulu
2. Dr Ijeoma Nduka
3. Lady Peace Nwaogwugwu
4. Dr Azubuike Onyebuchi
5. Nurse Lilian Anyanwu
6. Nurse Kemi Olowoniyi

In addition to the medics, Governor Ikpeazu also took note of one particular staff of Transport and Indiscipline Management Agency of Abia State (TIMAAS) who has distinguished herself in the task of controlling traffic, particularly at FMC junction of Ikot Ekpene Road, Umuahia, where she turns up every morning before rush hour and work through the day in very neat uniform with visible passion to ensure free flow of traffic. In recognition of her diligence, TIMAAS Officer Uche Ugochi Confidence will also be honored with a special award during the Abia Day Celebration on 27th August, 2020, at the Michael Okpara Auditorium of Government House Umuahia.

In his 29th anniversary message to the people of the state, titled “Our Future is Bright”, released by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka, Governor Ikpeazu “sent his gratitude to all medical and allied services workers who have been in the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 and assured that his administration will do everything necessary to protect our people. He also reiterated his deep gratitude to the people of Abia State for standing by him in prayers during the time of his health challenge. He then sent his deep condolences to the families of all those who lost their loved ones to the pandemic.”

-Chief John Okiyi Kalu (Commissioner for Information, Abia State)

23/08/2020

COVID-19: BUA Group Partners with Abia, Donates Ambulances+Photos

The management of BUA Group Ltd has donated three (3) medical ambulances to Abia State Government to strengthen the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking while receiving the three (3) Kinglong Medical Ambulances presented by the Managing Director, BUA Group Ltd to the Abia State Government at Government House, Umuahia, the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, assured that the vehicles will be put into maximum use in the fight against Coronavirus.

The Governor noted that Abia State Government has begun community testing even to the Local Government level in order to help contain the spread of the virus at the community level.

The State Chief Executive used the opportunity to disclose that additional laboratories for COVID-19 testing will soon be functional at the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Umuahia, and at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, bringing the number of laboratories in the State to five and expressed hope that these will ensure that at least thirty per cent (30%) of the Abia population is tested.

The Governor thanked the management of BUA Group for their timely intervention in the battle against COVID-19. He noted that the Group has shown care and concern for Abia state and humanity.

Speaking earlier, the representative of the Managing Director and General Manager, BUA Group Ltd, Alhaji Mohammad Ibrahim, stated that the Group partners with the Federal and State Governments in the fight against coronavirus through donations in cash, food and ambulances to States.

He lauded the Governor on his developmental strides in the State which he described as footprints in the sands of time and used the occasion to congratulate the Governor on his recent survival of COVID-19 infection.

Highlights of the visit was the presentation of three fully equipped Kinglong brand ambulances for the fight against coronavirus.

BREAKING NEWS: Alex Otti Set To Declare for APC

A foremost banker and the 2019 APGA Governorship candidate, Dr. Alex Otti OFR is set to officially declare for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

This was made known to Jungle Journalist Media Ltd by
Ferdinand Ekeoma, Media Assistant to Dr. Alex Otti.

The proposed declaration is billed to take place on Friday, 14th August, 2020, at his Ward, Ehi na Uguru Ward 5, Isialangwa South L.G.A of Abia state, by 12 noon.

Otti, a first class graduate of economics from University of Port Harcourt, was a renowned banker, who got to the peak of his career to become the MD/CEO of Diamond bank, but voluntarily retired in 2014 and joined active politics in his native state of Abia, where he has steadily made huge impacts that have advanced democracy and made him become a household name in the state.

The financial expert had during a recent interview announced his exit from his former party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), citing factionalization and gross abuse of the foundational ideals and ethos of the party at the highest level, and subsequently registered in the APC at his ward, Ehi na Uguru Ward 5, Isialangwa South L.G.A. of Abia state.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the APC at the highest level has promised to storm the state later for a special statewide reception for Dr. Otti and other entrants joining with him, after the Covid-19 pandemic must have reduced.

No teacher was sacked by Abia State Government – Commissioner

Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu had debunked claims that the state governor sacked 5 666 teachers from the State Civil Service.

In an Opinion authored by Kalu, and published earlier by this media, he explained that the 5,666 teachers were never employed by the state government, as there has been a long standing embargo on employment in the civil service.

He also stated that whereas some of the teachers were employed by the Parents Teachers Associations of various schools, with internal arrangements for their renumeration, many fell victim to fraudulent persons who claimed to be insiders in government and would help them become full civil servants.

His words “There is a long existing embargo on new employment in Abia State Civil Service and only the Governor of the state can validly issue a waiver to employ anyone or group of persons to fill any vacancy within the service.

“Every civil servant, no matter the level, is aware of this fact and its implication for those wishing to join the civil service: only a valid waiver, in this circumstance, from the Governor, or a lifting of the embargo by the Governor, can genuinely give employment.

“Between 2018 and March 2020, Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) hired some teachers ostensibly as PTA-teachers who were supposed to be paid by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of some schools that needed them to fill some vacancies. They were never meant to draw their wages from the civil service of the state as no budgetary provision was made for that purpose and the Governor never issued any employment waiver for their hiring.

“According to information released from the office of the Chief of Staff (COS) to the Governor, about 5,666 persons were involved in this PTA arrangement without the necessary employment waivers. None of them ever received wages from the state government, in line with the terms of their hiring by SEMB, whereas 187 teachers employed by sane SEMB with valid waivers within the same period were receiving wages from the state government.

“Nobody was sacked, please.

“Obviously, some unscrupulous persons took money from the PTA teachers and others in need of teaching jobs, and promised them full government employment as teachers whereas those involved knew they could only hire PTA teachers at the request of the schools. One of the affected persons told me she was made to part with thousands of naira and told to go and work as the Governor would ultimately be compelled to approve their full employment and authorize their salary payment from the state government coffers.

“That is a SCAM.

“When the Governor found out about this scam, he empaneled a committee to review what happened and report back to him. The committee’s report pointed to all sorts of malfeasance including extortion, deception, manipulation of records etc and the government decided to make public its position via relevant announcements regarding the illegality so that those affected would not fall into the venture of making false claims of being owed for some work supposedly done for the state government.

“In the announcement signed by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr ACB Agbazuere, government never claimed to have sacked any teacher because you simply can’t sack someone you never hired. None of the affected persons received any employment waiver from the Governor and those validly given waivers are continuing with their job.

“There are windows available to those PTA teachers and others: approach the schools where you were supposedly working to write the Commissioner for Education and request for your services as a teacher giving cogent reasons for the request with the letter copied to the COS. If the Honorable Commissioner finds merit in the request, he will recommend to the Governor for a waiver to be issued. Only the issuance of such waivers validates your employment with the state government. The other window is to wait for the state government to do a general audit of teachers in the state with a view to identifying where vacancies exist and fill same. According to the announcement, the government is ready to consider the 5,666 persons first, before others, to fill such gaps, if in existence.

“As per the argument that they met the then Commisioner for Education, please find out if they met him as newly employed teachers in the civil service or simply as PTA teachers”, he stated.

Ikpeazu decries absence of federal secretariat in Abia

Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has made a case for a federal Secretariat in the State.

Governor Ikpeazu stated this during a courtesy visit by Federal Commissioner, representing Abia State at the Federal Character Commission, Mr. Henry Ogbulogo, who was in the State on a working visit. The Governor expressed regrets about the absence of Federal presence in the State adding that Abia is ripe to have a federal secretariat. He called on the Commissioner to join in the clarion call for a federal secretariat in the State, adding that the mere absence of a federal secretariat further points to the absence of federal presence in the State

According to him, despite the fact that Abia is an oil producing State, it cannot boast of having any oil company with an office in Abia. He also pointed out that none of the companies that drill oil in the State resides in Abia but rather prefer to live in another states from where they come to work in Abia and pay their taxes in those other States.

He noted that Abia is one of the most peaceful States devoid of youth restivness and appealed for a change in attitude by the Federal Government. The Governor who noted that the issues raised by the Federal Commissioner including fixing the road that leads to its office in the State as well as compelling the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to submit their nominal rolls to the Commission, directed such MDAs to avail the Commission all the necessary support.

Earlier in his speech, the Federal Commissioner, Mr Henry Ogbulogo, appealed to the Governor to give the Commission necessary footing in the State as well as compel the State Ministries, Departments and Agencies to make available to the Commission necessary documents and nominal rolls to enable it carry out its job.

Mr. Ogbulogo said the Commission is mandated to monitor compliance to the guidelines and formula for employment. He thanked the State government for providing land for the Secretariat of the Commission and requested that a facelift be given to the road leading to the Commission’s Secretariat in Umuahia

Gov Ikpeazu sacks Abia SEMB Executive Secretary, drops 5,666 teachers over employment waiver

Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, the Governor of Abia State, has ordered the compulsory retirement of the Executive Secretary of Secondary Education Management Board, SEMB, Lawrence Ogbonna, who was on suspension.

The governor also said that 5,666 teachers who were wrongly employed without waiver by the Secretary be dropped from the state’s employment register.

The Governor’s directive was contained in a press release by his Chief of Staff, Barrister Anthony Agbazuere, on Wednesday, after receiving the report of the Committee on the supposed employment without waiver at the Secondary Education Management Board, SEMB.

In the release, Governor Ikpeazu noted the submissions of the Committee to the effect that out of the 5,853 people said to have been employed between 2018 to 2020, only 187 people were employed with a waiver, leaving the rest 5,666 people as employed without the waiver.

“In case, any of the 5,666 people employed without a waiver, was asked to start work by anybody, such a person should stop forthwith, having been so employed unlawfully.

“Schools that have a need for teachers in some special areas should make their submissions to the Commissioner for Education and copy the Chief of Staff to the Governor.

“That whenever there is such need to employ teachers, the government shall take recourse to the list of 5,666 people for employment”.

Abia flags off community surveillance & testing for COVID-19, targets 10,000 tests in 30 days

Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, today flagged off the coronavirus (COVID-19) community surveillance and testing program which is aimed at breaking the chain of transmission in the state and stem community spread of the disease.

Speaking during the flag off at the Umuahia South Local Government headquarters, Apumiri Ubakala, on the theme: “Breaking the Chain of Transmission of COVID-19 in Abia State through Community Surveillance and Testing”, the Governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government and chairman of inter ministerial committee on COVID-19, Barr Chris Ezem, stated that the exercise which demands maximum support from the citizens should be taken seriously. He noted that Abia State is the first state in the South East to embark on such mass community testing against COVID-19.

The Governor noted that testing positive to the virus is not a death sentence as patients are being nursed back to health at the state’s isolation and treatment facilities while advising that those who test negative should continue to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols already given which include: maintaining social/physical distance of a minimum 2 meters, use of nose mask, regular washing of hands under running water or use of hand sanitizers and avoiding crowded gatherings.

The State Chief Executive warned that failure to observe the laid down rules will result to enforcing a total ban on social gatherings in the State.

Earlier in his speech, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji noted that the virus which broke out on the 31st of December, 2019 in Wuhan, China, has spread across the 36 states of Nigeria and FCT, hence the need for all states to take necessary measures to break the chain of transmission and flatten the curve as quickly as possible.

He commended the Governor for his efforts against the spread of the virus in the State while thanking the Chairman of Abia State COVID-19 task force, Barr. Chris Ezem for his coordinating efforts so far.

He informed that the ministry of health has trained frontline contact tracers and sample collectors in all the LGAs of the state with the aim of carrying out the massive sampling and testing of a target of 10,000 samples across the 17 LGAs in the state, an exercise which took off today the 20th of July, 2020. He further stated that the main aim of the initiative is to break the chain of transmission through the identification of cases, isolation of positive cases, managing the symptomatic back to health, contact tracing and monitoring of all the LGAs.

In a welcome address, the Transition Committee Chairman Umuahia South LGA, Dr. Max Ndukwe Adindu, noted that the event is an evidence of commitment of the state government to the health care of citizens and residents of the State and commended the Abia State Government for its doggedness in combating the spread of the virus. He urged Abians to cooperate and support the initiative by submitting themselves for the test.

While thanking the Abia State COVID-19 taskforce for their proactive measures, the LGA Chairman noted that the distribution of palliatives by the Abia State Government is still ongoing whereas other states have long stopped delivering to citizens.

In their goodwill messages, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Chief Eze Egbulefu, the Executive Secretary, Abia State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ASPHCDA), Dr. Chinagozi Adindu, and the representative of World Health Organizations (WHO) partners, Dr. Linus Okoro, lauded the Governor for always leading in the fight against COVID-19 and for showing a high level of commitment towards the wellbeing of the people of Abia State. He also commended the efforts of the task force team, noting that all measures put in place to curtail the spread of the virus will yield positive results.

In her vote of thanks, the State Epidermiologist/Incident Manager for COVID-19, Lady Peace Nwogwugwu, thanked the government of Abia State for the massive support to the fight against the virus and urged Abians to volunteer themselves for the mass community testing so as to ascertain their health status.

The event which featured collection of samples for COVID-19 testing from volunteers was well attended by dignitaries in the State such as the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, Abia State Head of Service, Sir Onyi Wamah, Head of Service Umuahia South LGA, former Commissioner Bureau of Training and Establishment, Lady Elizabeth Uhuegbu, Traditional Rulers of communities in Umuahia South LGA in the State amongst others.

PHOTOS: Prof Gregory Ibe Foundation Flags-off Second Phase Of Palliatives Distribution

The Chancellor of Gregory University Uturu Prof Gregory Ibe has once again reaffirmed his commitment to the well being of every Abian.

Speaking through the Vice Chancellor of Gregory University Uturu,Prof Augustine Uwakwe during the flag-off ceremony of the second phase of the Prof Gregory Ibe palliative distribution exercise, the renowned academic don and human capital expert stated that he decided to embark on the humanitarian project because of his immense love for the people and “as a way of providing them succour especially during the COVID-19 era”.

While enjoining Abians to stay safe by taking full responsibility for their lives and religiously adhering to all established precautionary measures, Prof Ibe recalled that the first phase of the exercise involved the donation of COVID-19 Test Kits, digital infra red thermometers, ambulances, decontamination services, hand sanitisers, natural drugs, many bags of rice and multiple cartons of noodles to the State Government, the 17 Local Government Councils, Churches, Motor Transport Unions, Motherless Babies Homes, Clubs and Organisations.

He asserted that the second phase is aimed at consolidating the gains of the premier edition by reaching out directly to the grassroots with many bags of rice, garri, salt, beans and cartons of noodles.

According to him, “the underlining motive behind this exercise is Prof Ibe’s passionate love for Ndi Abia, which continues to drive him to intervene, especially at critical times such as this”.

The flag-off ceremony featured the distribution of many amenities including bags of rice,beans,salt, tubers of yam and cartons of noodles to representatives of Abia NUJ, NIPR, OMPAN and Abia Crusaders from Isuikwuato and Umunneochi LGAs.

While giving a vote of thanks, the Chairman of Nigerian Union of Journalists, Abia State chapter, John Emejor praised the magnanimity of Prof Ibe, stating that he has remained committed to the welfare of Abians in general while manifesting special love for journalists in the state.

Correspondents report that sequel to the formal flag-off of the second phase of the programme, the exercise will subsequently be carried to the remaining 15 Local Government Councils in order to reach less privileged Abians in their respective communities.