Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Human and vehicular movements were, last Wednesday, obstructed significantly in parts of Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi State when the members of the Nigerian Red Cross Society in the state held road walk along some of the major roads and streets.
The event was one of the activities marking the anniversary of the organization. From their state headquarters located on Nsugbe Street, the members of the society in their numbers marched through into Waterworks Road, from where they emptied into Ogoja Road and from there into Afikpo Road.
They marched into the Enugu/Abakaliki Expressway through the popular Spera-in-Deo Junction and then, momentarily stopped at Tipper Garage where the officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ebonyi State Command which accompanied them preached to the drivers on road safety matters.
The members of the Red Cross who wore their uniform also carried a large banner which displayed the purpose of the movement – 2019 World Red Cross Day.
Although it was a global celebration, the members of the society in Ebonyi State had three dates in their mind. First, it was a worldwide celebration of 156 years of the organization in the world, 88 years in Nigeria, and 47 years of being in the state.
Secretary of the organisation in the state, Elder Raphael Okorie, told Daily Sun that before the road walk, a Jumat service was held at the Central Mosque in Abakaliki and church service at St. Michael’s Parish (Catholic), Nwezenyi on May 3 and 5 respectively.
Okorie said that the theme for the year,: “What do you love about Red Cross” was largely to remind everyone about the seven principles of the organisation.
He said since the organization was founded 156 years ago by Sir Jean Henry Dunany, it has continued to promote its core objectives which are to offer voluntary service to humanity and they, in Ebonyi State, toe that path.
He stated that the Nigeria Red Cross Society has brought relief to distressed individuals, groups, and communities in dire need of support as much as it could offer.
Okorie enumerated some of their achievements in the state: “ICRC brought relief materials distributed to Lassa fever affected communities in the following Local Government Areas: Ezza North, Ohaukwu, Ebonyi, and Abakaliki respectively in 2018.
“In July 2018, flood disaster rendered nine communities homeless in Uburu, Ohaozara LGA. Both national headquarters, Abuja, and ICRC international partners brought relief materials such as food items etc distributed to those affected communities.
“During 8th May 2018 Red Cross Society anniversary, two physically challenged persons: male and female received wheelchair each to assist their movement. It was given to them at Red Cross office in Abakaliki.
“In 2019, through Ebonyi State branch of Nigerian Red Cross Society, two orphans: male and female received secondary school scholarship award from the commanding officer, Nkwagu Military Cantonment, Colonel Auta M.
“Whereas the rapid response team of our branch intervened in the communal crises in the following Local Government Areas of the state: Igbeagu community in Izzi LGA and Ukele community in Cross River State; Ukwagba Ngbo community in Ohaukwu and Agila in Benue State; and Abakaliki and Ikwo both in Ebonyi State etc in the year under review”, he added.
Newly elected chairman of the organization in the state, Chief Simeon Nweze, commended the members for their hard work and dedication to duty.
He said that with his election as Chairman, he would bring innovations to bear on the organization in the state. He also assured that he would carry everybody along while implementing the programmes of the society to ensure that its aims and objectives were adequately met.