Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Onitsha Local Government Area of Anambra State has honoured the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, and Onitsha Police Area Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vincent John Obuagbaka, for their contributions in the first against coronavirus in the area.
Igwe Achebe was honoured for his proactive efforts in mobilising ambassadors for sensitization of residents about the disease in Onitsha, while ACP Obuagbaka was given an award as Ambassador for manning the River Niger Bridge, the border between Anambra and Delta states.
While Obuagbaka got his award at the council headquarters, the Igwe’s award plaque was presented to him at his palace along Awka Road, Onitsha.
Chairman of Onitsha North Local Government Area, Mr. Patrick Agha Mba, said awards to Igwe Achebe and Obuagbaka were in recognition of their contributions in the fight against the COVID-19 in the area.
He said Igwe Achebe initiated sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns in Onitsha community through which information on the virus and education about its adverse effect and method of spread was given to the people of the community.
Agha Mba said the tradition ruler also organised palliatives and relief items and drew beneficiaries from the comprehensive database of indigenes and non-indigenes.
“Igwe Achebe engaged a team of doctors working in collaboration with the State government to train volunteers as well being ambassadors, who moved from house to house to create awareness of the dangers of Coronavirus, sensitise the people and appeal to them to observe all prescribed protocols,” he said.
“Also, ACP Obuagbaka applies rapid response to all issues of security in Onitsha. And in this COVID-19 era, he displays diligence, commitment and dedication in handling COVID-19 related issues, presenting himself as an outstanding senior security officer of repute.
“He deploys a personal, passionate, responsive approach in his duty at the Onitsha Niger Bridgehead state border, which has greatly helped in checking abuses against the disease. Also criminal activities by hoodlums and miscreants have been drastically reduced in Onitsha metropolis,” Agha Mba said.
He commended Governor Willie Obiano in his fight against COVID-19, saying the governor had set up an emergency sensitisation and response teams in all the wards in the state to reach the grassroots.
In his remarks after receiving the award, Igwe Achebe warned residents of the commercial city against non-compliance to coronavirus preventive measures to curtail the spread of the disease in the area.
He expressed worry over the lackadaisical attitude of some residents in observing the coronavirus protocols thereby posing danger and risk to others.
Achebe urged the residents and the people of the state to always wear their facemask properly, stay at home as much as possible, avoid crowded places, use sanitizers and wash their hands regularly with soap and running water.
“The world is in a warfare against the coronavirus. It is real; it’s not a joke. We need to protect ourselves, observe all the protocols. It has infected both the rich and the poor. Those vulnerable are people 60 years old and above. You are aware that some governors have been infected with the disease, so, anybody can contract it. We should try to boost our immunity with vitamins, fruits and vegetables,” Achebe said.
He further commended the chairman of the council Mba for his leadership style as good example for the youths, saying that the council has organised programmes for the youths aimed at empowering them and to be self-reliance.
Achebe noted that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training centre for youths at his palace was a brainchild of Agha Mba where many youths have graduated as well as skill acquisition centre where many youths resident in Onitsha have learnt skills in tailoring, bead making, Hat making and shoe making, among others.
Also in his remarks, Obuagbaka expressed joy on the award, which he said would spur him to do more to safeguard lives of the people under his command.
He dedicated the award to all the policemen at line of duty who risk their lives to protect the citizens, saying that since the Commissioner of police took over leadership in the state and him being at Onitsha as commander, the criminal activities have reduced to barest minimum.
Said he: “We shall not relent in providing security to the citizens. This award is a morale booster and it will spur us to do more. We are human beings and we can as well make mistakes in discharging our duties, and we can be corrected. My promise is that Onitsha will remain peaceful and crime-free under my watch,” he said.
The event was attended by the leadership of Onitsha North LGA, police officers, some of Igwe Achebe’s cabinet members and well-wishers.