Chief Hope Uwaga is a Commissioner and member of the Board of Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, ASOPADEC. Recently, he led a team of workers on an exercise to fumigate public places like markets, health facilities and civic halls in Umuahia North LGA to control the spread of coronavirus in the communities. This initiative according to him is from ASOPADEC to complement the efforts of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in the fight against COVID-19. In this interview with The NewsCritic online, Hon Uwaga says as long as the lockdown continues that he will not stop to provide palliatives to the vulnerable as sacrifice to humanity. Excerpts:
Can you tell us what you are doing with the team you are leading; what operations are you conducting?
What we are doing is that we are fumigating public places like markets, health centres, civic halls and other places people cluster around to do business or meetings in order to avert the coronavirus disease by decontaminating these public areas. This is to ensure that we stop the spread of the virus especially community transmission of the disease by maintaining a healthy environment.
Can we say that your attention is focused at Ohuhu area of Umuahia North because of the report that one of the index cases in Abia resides in Ohuhu urban?
Not really, a day after that rumour circulated wide it became public knowledge that the report is not true. What I am doing has no ethnic or clannish considerations because the last market which I fumigated is not in Ohuhu, even though Ohuhu people still go there to buy and sale. Before that particular market I fumigated Amuzukwu Relief market, and I have done about three markets in Ohuhu and Ibeku respectively which covers Umuahia North LGA. Now, we are moving into health centres, but I will still go back to Ibeku to fumigate some health centres, I am not only looking at Ohuhu per say, but my interest is to cover the entire Umuahia North LGA.
What we are doing is only a pre-emptive measure to curb the spread of Coronavirus, especially community transmission of the disease being championed by Abia state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu. This fumigation exercise is coming from Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, ASOPADEC, to complement the efforts of Governor Ikpeazu. I am handling the exercise in Umuahia North as a commissioner and member of the Board in ASOPADEC.
Talking about stimulus package otherwise known as palliatives have you also been involved either privately or otherwise to help feed the poor this difficult period of lockdown?
In terms of providing palliatives to the indigent people we kick-started it in Ohuhu, I am talking of Dr Aham Uko, the Honourable Commissioner for Finance, Hon Kelechi Onuzuruike, member representing Umuahia North in the state Assembly, Sir Obi Aguocha President General Ohuhu Welfare Union Worldwide and my humble self, Hon Hope Uwaga, Commissioner ASOPADEC.
We contributed and distributed relief materials worth over N4.5 million, the first palliatives provided in Ohuhu, and I didn’t stop there. Like the day that I spoke I made it known that I will go back to my village and community to replicate same and this I did. The last palliatives we distributed in Umuda Isingwu I was actively involved by contributing money. It was carried out under the auspices of a group called Uda-Atunnu and we purchased relief items which was distributed to members of the community.
We were able to reach out to over 200 indigent people in Umuda Isingwu, we made the people happy and they commended us greatly for that initiative which touched their lives. I have not stopped because as we speak, I am commencing another phase of house-to-house distribution of palliatives items. I have a list of people I am targeting to reach, the lockdown is still on, I am taking it in stages starting from Isingwu and Ohuhu.
Even in Ibeku I have selected a good number of indigent people that will benefit from this palliative items, I have some people in Afugiri, Umuhu Ofeme side, Nkwoachara in Isingwu, Nkwoegwu etc. Today, I will distribute these items to them. Few minutes ago, Hon Chidiebere Nwachukwu called me because he has some people from that location who are waiting for my palliatives delivery.
I will continue to give to the vulnerable as long as the lockdown lasts God’s willing. It is not as if I have enough but this is just a sacrifice to help others eat and not to go hungry this period because we know what they are facing. I use myself as an example that despite the position I occupy it has not been easy for me, not to talk of other people in the village without any means of livelihood or support. So, right now the palliatives are going round and I will continue to do it God’s willing to make sure that Ohuhu and Ibeku people of Umuahia North LGA will get that little from me.