Felix Ikem, Nsukka
In the midst of growing economic hardships that have accompanied the coronavirus outbreak in the country, a humanitarian group has given free petrol, face masks and cash gifts to public transport motorcyclists and tricyclists in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Peace Ambassadors of Nigeria, an NGO, announced that the gesture is aimed at giving young people, specifically those in transportation services, hope in the midst of the country’s current economic realities.
In a chat with Daily Sun on Thursday during the exercise Total Fuel Nsukka, the founder of the group, Hon Ben Ugwuoke, said: ‘We don’t give because we have enough. We give because we care enough. Today’s exercise is the third phase for okada and Keke riders. We have done that of widows where we empowered hundreds of widows in this senatorial zone.
‘We made sure that every Keke and Okada operators in the Enugu North Senatorial Zone get at least five litres of fuel, face mask and one thousand naira each,’ he said.
Ugwuoke, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor of Enugu State Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuoke, further explained: ‘We have a movement for this group. We are going to identify all the physically challenged persons in the zone with a view to training them in various skills acquisition after which we will then empower them to fend for themselves and their families.’
Asked about the source of the funds used by the organisation for the project, Ugwuoke stated: ‘We get the funds from well-meaning Nigerians who love what we do to put a smile on the face of indigent Nigerians. We have some financial backing of some people like Rev Patrick Ezea and, of course, my principal, Rt, Hon. Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. They have been our principal supporters who encourage and empower us.’
On whether he had political strings attached to the organisation, Ugwuoke, who doubles as the president of the group, stressed: ‘I don’t have any political strings attached to this organisation. I founded the group in 2017 when I was nobody politically. I have been appointed as the SSA to the governor when the group was brought into being. So, we are just doing this to give our youths and indigent people in society a sense of belonging. Let me tell you also that apart from this phase, we have been able to pay medical bills of some people who were held in the hospitals.’
According to one of the beneficiaries, an Okada rider, Mr John Eke, ‘I never know such organisation still exists in this part of the world. I am so delighted for being one of the beneficiaries and I pray God to continue to give them the strength to do more.’
Another beneficiary, Mr Chinedu Okeagu, a Keke tricyclist expressed his gratitude to the group for the gesture. He urged all the other public-spirited Nigerians to emulate the kind gesture of Peace Ambassadors of Nigeria for their exercise.
Daily Sun gathered that so far over eight hundred Okada and Keke riders have benefitted from the philanthropic exercise which started a fortnight ago.