Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, along with the Onitsha North Local Government area, recently established a library in the palace premises. The library, equipped with modern facilities, has books on all disciplines.
Igwe Achebe, at the inauguration, said Internet access would be provided in the library. He said he had done a lot to encourage reading and learning in Onitsha, including the introduction of a remedial scheme where SS3 students were placed in free tutorial classes.
He recalled that he also sponsored the annual long vacation tutorial scheme for secondary and primary school students in Onitsha. He expressed joy that the 70 youths who participated in Small and Medium Skill Acquisition training and got loans to start their businesses have repaid their loans.
“We shall establish a microfinance bank to assist our youths in doing business through accessing loans. There is also need for value reorientation to direct our youths aright. We have to create wealth, invest and grow wealth. My expectation is that in ten years time, we shall have persons like Dangote in business here, we shall have computer programmers and so on. The building at the palace under construction will have conference halls and offices for training,” he said.
Chairman of Onitsha North Local Government area, Mr. Patrick Agha Mba, said the library was one of the human capital development projects of his administration for all children, youths, adults, researchers, readers, planners, etc, within and outside the local government.
He commended the Obi-in-Council under the leadership of Igwe Achebe for creating an enabling environment and an avenue for collaborative team work to ensure that the project was established.
“Anambra State has achieved a lot in education. Our schools have done very well in academic competitions at local and international levels. Their performance in national examinations is equally commendable. The excellent performance of our Regina Pacis School that won first position in World’s Technovation competition is distinctive, all thanks to our governor, Chief Willie Obiano.
“The Onitsha North library in the palace has become essential at this period when the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown resulted in school closures, keeping millions of children out of school. On a positive note, COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity of exploring additional resources to support learning outside the walls of the classroom.
“We shall strictly ensure that the conduct of persons who come to access this facility, is dignifying and respectful. Security cameras are placed at strategic points for monitoring of people, in order to maintain morality and security of people and property. We shall also work with the palace security to ensure effective utilisation of the library.
“We shall continue to procure and process all books and publications required for a library of international standard,” he said.
The State Commissioner of Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha, who was represented by Mr. Ambrose Ikwunyelu, lauded the efforts of Onitsha North and Igwe Achebe for the provision of the library, which she said would go a long way in imparting positively to the youths of the area.
She said that the library will help in curbing examination malpractices as students would be engaged in reading and learning before writing any examination.
The commissioner noted that she had earlier donated books to the library and would do more to ensure that the library is fully equipped.
The Archdiocese of Onitsha, represented by Rev. Fr. Collins Ogboge, also commended the initiative, which he said would help in reducing the rate of crime and social vices in the area.
He said the church had been in the forefront of advocacy for educational development in Nigeria and Onitsha in particular.
Chancellor, Diocese of Niger, Anglican Communion, Onitsha, Mr. Nnamdi Ibegbu, said the church and the town have been working together in uplifting the educational system. He called on everyone to support the new library.