Anywhere you see the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Yukata Kikuta; feel free to call him Enyi Ukwu (Good friend) for the Ezeagbogu community of Ezinihitte Mbaise in Imo state, recently conferred him with the chieftaincy title of Enyi Ukwu of Ezeagbogu.
The honour was bestowed on the envoy following the provision of 100 solar-powered streetlights in the area under the grant assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP) of the Japanese Government.
Governor Emeka Ihedioha was on hand to inaugurate and handover the project, which was facilitated by a Japan-based businessman from the area and Managing Director, Ufotonnie International Ltd, Mr. Tony Ufomadu. Ezeagbogu community had groped in darkness no thanks to the epileptic power situation in the country that practically disrupted night life in there.
Ufomadu disclosed that he was motivated to attract the project to help in addressing security and development challenges of his community.
He also said that he is passionate about the general welfare of his people and would do all he can to attract more development projects for them to boost their socio-economic life.
He urged other good spirited individuals in the state to listen to the governor’s clarion call and join hands in rebuilding the state; saying that a little quota contributed by Imo people in diaspora could truly transform the state.
Ufomadu assured that his company was poised to ensure the replication of the project in other communities of the state in order to continually improve people’s livelihood and engender socio-economic development in the state.
He applauded the Japanese Government, Koyo Corporation, a technology company and Development Dynamics, a non-governmental organisation for contributing to the success of the project.
In his speech, Mr. Kikuta stated that his country has in the past 20 years, funded over 170 projects in various parts of Nigeria worth over 12million dollars.
He said Japan in partnership with a technology company, Koyo Corporation and Development Dynamics; a non-governmental organisation has commenced training of youths in the maintenance of the project and would in two years, train about 100 of them in various fields of technology.
“Japan is strongly committed to supporting Nigeria as declared at the sixth Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD VI). The Embassy of Japan hopes that this assistance will contribute to improvement of safety in the community, and will strengthen the amicable relationship between Japan and Nigeria,” Kikuta said.
Ihedioha lauded the Japanese Government and the facilitators of the project, Ufotonnie International Ltd and Development Dynamics.
He stated that his administration would further partner with the Japanese Government similar project across the state to help address issues of security, development and employment in the state.
Ihedioha also urged the citizens to take advantage of their contacts and positions to attract development to the state, assuring that his administration is committed to providing adequate security and viable development for Imo people.
He said: “From today, your community will have Japanese solar-powered street lighting, which automatically turn-on at night and turn-off at day break. The lights last for 30 straight hours after an 8-hour charge.
“It will change this community significantly by enhancing the security and safety at night and contributing to sustainable community development”.
According to founder of the Development Dynamics, Mr Jude Ohanele, the project was strategically conceptualised to make Ezeagbogu a safer community at night.
“There is a renewed sense of safety and security in Ezeagbogu since the completion of this project, especially around Eke Ezeagbogu which is the centre of economic activities in this community. This has increased the number of business hours available to the people here and influenced positively their struggle against hunger and poverty. It has also made the nights in Ezeagbogu safer,” he said.