Magnus Eze, Enugu
An Enugu-based non-governmental organisation; Likeminds Progressive Forum (LPF) is actually living up to one of its core objectives of serving as a “platform where psychological and social assistance can be rendered to the needy”.
The group on November 22, handed over a block of three modern toilets and three bathrooms it built for inmates of the psychiatric section of the Enugu State Rehabilitation Centre, Emene Enugu.
Commissioner for Gender Affairs and Social Development, Princess Peace Nnaji inaugurated the project.
Chairman of Likeminds, Chuks Obiweluozor, expressed satisfaction with the modest achievements of the group which he said was formed 14 years ago in a beer parlour before it was eventually registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission.
“We used to spend so much on beer; with some persons taking up to 10 bottles at a sitting. But with time, we agreed that we would cut down on beer intake and use the rest to support the less privileged,” he disclosed.
He said that it was during the forum’s charity visit to the rehab centre in 2016, that they identified the need to assist the inmates by providing additional toilet facility to augment the existing ones.
Before this period, the group had from inception made it a point of duty to have yearly outreach to the needy. According Obiweluozor, the body which began with four members and now has 22 members had in 2008, visited the Old People’s Home, Uwani and Guardian Angel Motherless Babies Home, Emene; in 2009 and 2010, they reached out to the Daughters of Divine Love, Nike and in 2011, it was the turn of inmates of the Oji River Leprosy Centre.
In 2012, Likeminds paid hospital bills of N300,000 for three patients at the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Parklane and followed up the next year at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Ituku-Ozala.
It continued in 2016, where they also donated 5,000 branded exercise books to pupils and staff of Community Primary School, Akpuoga, Nike, Enugu.
The group expressed its readiness to partner Government and other public spirited organisations in bringing succour to the less privileged.
The commissioner commended them, noting that they had tasked themselves all these years to support humanity when many other NGOs and Civil Society Organisations were busy going to the international community to get money.
She disclosed that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration was determined to provide adequate care to inmates of the centre including those at the vocational section. She disclosed that the sum of N44million was approved and released for rehabilitating the centre, out of which, N10m was for equipping the skill acquisition section.
“The Governor of Enugu state Rt. Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has given out N44 million for provision of borehole and solar system so that they can have light and be able to flush their toilets and do their daily routine and again the government through the Capital Territory Development Authority is doing the perimeter fencing of the whole premises with about N12 million provided by the governor of Enugu state. If you look around down there, you’ll see the dormitories that are being renovated to make sure that the inmates of this place have the best.
“Our problem is that when you get them to this centre, most of them don’t want to stay, they prefer going to beg and most time if you look around these people that are begging; some of them are well and not disabled,” she stated.
She therefore, called on other organisations to partner with government in whatever areas they choose to impact on the needy.
Princess Nnaji further said that the initiative of the Likeminds had really changed her impression about men hanging out in drinking joints: “I usually frown at men going to beer parlour but if they said that this idea was conceived in a beer parlour; so, if this kind of lofty initiative is what they go to do in beer parlour, I’ll not mind them to have more beer parlours so that more ideas like this will come.”
Also, the group feted about 150 inmates to sumptuous meals with assorted soft drinks.